All-hands meetings are an effective way to keep teams aligned, communicate efficiently and create space to address employees’ questions.
But having the whole team in one room is costly, and the pressure is on to ensure you hit the mark and address the right concerns.
To help you get the most out of your all-hands meetings, here are 5 tools that will make them valuable, interactive and fun.
Use a calendar app to lock the dates in the team’s calendar
Those who plan all-hands meetings know it’s difficult to find a time that suits everyone, especially for teams distributed across time zones. Luckily, there are apps that can make the process less painful.
First, Time Zone Ninja allows you to schedule meetings efficiently across time zones. Add the date, your preferred time and attendee locations and you’ll get a set of suggestions instantly.
Second, Google Calendar is the gold standard for meeting planning. Pencil in your all-hands three to six months ahead so people don’t schedule overlapping meetings. To help your team to prepare in advance, include the agenda in your meeting invite.
Tip: Make your all-hands meetings a tradition. Find the frequency that suits your company and set a regular time. Attendance will go up as people will remember to avoid double booking.
Toss around a throwable microphone to break the ice
Having the whole company in the room means that there will be some introverted and less outspoken team members. And speaking into a traditional microphone can be a terrifying thing for anyone.
Why not break the ice with Catchbox – the soft, throwable microphone? This fun, colorful gadget will help you take off the pressure, lighten up everyone’s mood and get people talking. And of course, you will ensure people are heard.
To kick off with an icebreaker, ask a simple question that requires a quick, easy answer. For example, Sum up your morning in one word or What’s the worst gift you have ever received?
Then throw the Catchbox to a team member, let them answer the question and ask them to pass it on to the next person. Gamification of the process will make it easier for people to speak up without fear.
Tip: Try to keep the icebreaking activity light and funny. It will put everyone in a jolly mood and get those creative juices flowing.
Use live polls to boost team morale
Another powerful way to get people to participate actively is with live polls. They are really effective, especially when you want to engage a larger crowd instantly.
To maximize the impact of live polls, be strategic about their use. You can poll the audience to gather views on an important topic or collect feedback on business updates.
Or take it to the next level and boost your team morale with a ‘silent heroes’ poll. Recognizing the work of those who deserve it is a great way to boost team morale and make people feel valued.
Create a simple word cloud poll and invite people to submit the name of the most helpful team member in the past month. Then reveal the results and acknowledge people’s contributions to the team.
Tip: To pull this off successfully, instruct people about the correct format when submitting people’s names, e.g. first name, full name or nickname. We use our team’s Slack names for convenience.
Maximize the impact of your question time with live Q&A
For many companies, Q&A is the most important part of all-hands meetings when they can hear employees out and address their questions.
To encourage people to ask hard-hitting but ever more important questions, we use Slido and allow the team to submit questions anonymously.
Start collecting the questions 2-3 days before the meeting. Then encourage people to submit any outstanding questions once the event gets underway. People can vote for the most relevant ones, which makes the discussion much more valuable for all.
Once the Q&A kicks off, we use Catchbox for questions and comments from the audience in the room.
Connect with remote employees via live streaming tools
By definition, all-hands meetings are about bringing everyone together, including your colleagues working in remote teams.
The first step to achieve this is to transmit the meeting with live streaming tools such as Zoom Rooms. But having your team members on the screen is not enough. You also want to keep them actively involved.
To do so, enable your remote colleagues to participate fully by sharing the Slido event code at the start of the meeting. Make sure you invite them to submit questions and take part in live polls.
Want to go a step further? Appoint a dedicated moderator who will engage remote colleagues in conversation and react to their questions.
In the room, use Catchbox to transmit what is being said in the audience so people online can hear better.
Using these tools will improve the quality of your all-hands and help remote people feel part of the team.
These tools have helped us boost interaction and significantly improved the quality of our all-hands meetings. Combine them to maximize the impact of your meeting, increase your employees’ engagement and learn about their real concerns. Active participation will encourage people to contribute and make them feel an important part of the team.
This article was written in collaboration with Catchbox. A big thanks to Lelde Dalmane, Marketing Content Manager at Catchbox, for all her help.