Getting the most out of your all-staff meetings

All Staff MeetingAll-staff or Town Hall meetings can be incredibly useful to an organization. An effective meeting can solve problems, build morale, promote teamwork, reinforce company culture, boost profitability, uncover weaknesses, generate ideas and increase productivity. Unfortunately, many all-hands meetings fall short of these goals. But that doesn’t mean leadership should give up on bringing everyone together by planning a successful meeting.

Take a new look at the all-staff-meeting. There are several meeting technology products, communication tactics and meeting planning actions that can help make your next all-hands meeting a success.

The co-founders of Isis Associates, Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins wrote a very insightful piece on this very topic. Here are a few of their tips:

Motivate with your meeting’s message: Make your message resonate by communicating ‘what’s in it for them’.

Connect on a personal level: Long speeches and PowerPoint slides might not be the answer. Use staff meetings as way to connect with the human side. Use the opportunity to brainstorm ways to improve everyone’s work and effectiveness. Allow staff to praise and honor each other’s successes. Spend more time listening than you spend time talking.

Diversify: Even the most charismatic leaders can get boring after a while. Plan to have multiple leaders, staff members and guests speak at the meeting to bring fresh perspectives.

Engage outside of meetings: Staff in larger organizations usually only have contact with upper management during all-staff meetings or when something has gone wrong. Staff want to see and hear from leaders on a consistent basis, “…frequent, small touch points make a huge difference in making others feel engaged with their leadership. And, these things add tremendously to the usual meetings.”

Along with these meeting tips, I would like to offer a few more. I’ve helped many clients organize town hall meetings over the past twenty years. Over and over again, I see management overlook several key areas in their meeting planning. After they implement these actions into the planning process, they find the meetings are more successful.

  1. Make sure your staff has time to meet. Before scheduling an all-staff meeting send out an e-mail with a quick survey, using a service like Survey Monkey or When 2 Meet. Give them some options for a meeting date and/or time and choose the time that works best for the most people. Not only will this make the meeting more convenient, but it will send the message that you value your staff and their time.
  2. Give staff advance notice of the meeting and request feedback. Send advance notice of the meeting and a tentative meeting agenda. Let them know what the meeting will cover and ask if they have any suggestions to make it better. Inform them of any interactive aspects of the meeting. What topics might they be required to contribute? This not only aids in the planning of the meeting, but allows staff members to prepare for discussion. Your marketing department is the perfect resource to find creative ways of soliciting feedback from staff. Just be sure to give them plenty of time to create these resources and organize feedback.
  3. Record the meeting. A recording of your successful town hall meeting can be an asset to the organization in many ways. The recording can be a chance for leadership look back at the issues your organization faced at the time and review the steps taken to overcome those issues. Like a football coach reviewing recordings of key plays, management can use the meeting recordings to improve upon their leadership style and communication tactics. Additionally, the recording can be shared and distributed, providing a continued learning experience for new staff members and those unable to attend.
  4. Choose the correct meeting medium. Making sure you have selected a venue that fits your company culture and/or a on-line meeting platform that will work for your objectives is key to a successful meeting. If their experience is good, no one will ever mention how spot on your selection was, but if you choose the wrong venue or wrong on-line meeting platform, the conversation will focus on the bad experiences they had, rather then your message.

Incorporate these communication tactics and planning actions into your next all-staff meeting and you’ll find increased success. An all-staff meeting can be an investment for your organization, supplying benefits long after the meeting is over.

For more tips and insights, please sign up for our newsletter. It’s time to #StopBadMeetings.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *