All-Hands ‘Meetings’ Are EVENTS – Here’s How to Do Them Right

Just like a good user conference, a successful All-Hands Meeting communicates plans and rallies its attendees around company goals. The audience walks away energized, focused, and excited to take on the next set of challenges. Now ask yourself – how often in your career have actually left a Town Hall or All-Hands meeting feeling like you were ready to go forth and conquer?

Though employees are every bit as valuable as customers, you wouldn’t know it through a comparison of planning & production of AHMs vs. customer events. But while the increased frequency of All-Hands Meetings may prohibit some of the extravagances of customer events, there’s plenty that can (and should) be done to keep employees engaged and motivated throughout the year.

  1. Set a Regular Meeting Schedule. Determine how often you need to hold company-wide meetings and get them on the books. If you hold quarterly HQ in-person events, consider also hosting shorter, monthly live stream broadcasts to report on key KPIs or celebrate major successes. The more things are changing with your company, the more often you’ll want to provide updates and opportunities for Q&A.
  2. Determine the Right Time(s) of Day. Depending on how many time zones your company spans, planning the right time can be tricky. Global companies may want to host more than one live meeting so one team isn’t perpetually watching remotely, at 10 pm (talk about un-motivating). Remember, you’re also getting the team pumped up; think about starting the week with the meeting to turn them loose with that positive motivation or ending the week on a high note.
  3. Have a Theme to Deliver a Memorable Experience. Before you start planning each quarter, determine your theme. What’s the one key message management wants employees to take away and work toward over the next quarter? Develop the theme around that message to reinforce and motivate.
  4. Find the Right Venue. Most often, AHMs are held at the office. But even if you haven’t outgrown your office space, an investment in holding your quarterly All-Hands Meeting offsite is small compared to the returns it can provide. Getting out of the office for a morning or afternoon is refreshing and hopping on a bus to a unique location shows me that what I’m about to hear is important and I’m valuable as an employee.   
  5. Include Time for Practice. Production planning for your in-person AHM event should start about 3 weeks ahead of time, with a trial-run for speakers a couple of days’ pre-live event. This timeline provides plenty of cushion for a smooth event and allows for last-minute changes.
  6. Mix up the Session Format. PPTs of bullet points and graphs by each manager…NO! At least not on their own. Take a cue from your customer events – hold interviews, panel sessions, lightning talks by employees in areas that interest them (and can teach others). Keep your agenda fresh each quarter. When people know exactly what they’re going to see each quarter, it gets very easy to start ‘watching’ the webcast – even when you’re in the building.
  7. Celebrate Success. Celebrate team successes, individual successes, company successes – any real successes you can find! The goal is to walk away feeling good and motivated to get more successes to celebrate next time.
  8. Encourage Participation and Questions; Answer Transparently. Provide plenty of opportunity for questions – both in-person and online. Let people ask the tough questions anonymously and don’t shy away from answering them. The more transparent you are, the more your employees trust you and are willing to give it their all.
  9. Consider a Yearly ALL Person, In-person All-Hands Meeting. Lasting relationships can be built in a night or two of good food and drinks. Do you have a user-conference or other external facing event? Consider adding the all-hands at the beginning or end of the event for venue savings. People who have only ever talked by email and phone suddenly have a memory with a real person next time there’s a frustration to overcome.
  10. Create a Collaborative Environment. The All-Hands Meeting is a great opportunity to host a social responsibility initiative, where the team gets together to do an activity for charity. Combine it with feeding the team (BBQ anyone?) and you’ve got some great photos for social media and good memories. Set up similar events across all your global offices.

Services Overview – All-Hands & Town Hall Meetings

At AVT Productions, we take an event-based approach for All-Hands and Town Hall Meeting production. As with all events, our goal is to provide a memorable experience for your audience. When your AHM makes an impact, employees walk away focused and motivated.

AVT Productions works with event leaders like you to:

  • Conduct venue evaluation and selection based on event objectives
  • Determine the best timing for meetings globally, even if it means running the live meeting more than once
  • Coordinate and run live-streamed webcasts for remote employees and global offices (and record the session)
  • Secure translators for webcasts
  • Carry a theme through scenic stage and room design
  • Select music and live entertainment to complement themes and provide energy
  • Hold a live rehearsal pre-event to ensure a smooth live experience
  • Provide a ‘Control Booth’ with a multi-view screen to see stage, webcast, etc to see all attendee views at once

And whatever else your unique experience requires! Contact us at info@avtproductions.com, by chat below, or give us a call at 408-748-8548 if you’d like to discuss your AHM.