Communication can become more challenging as your small business grows. This is especially true when you have employees in multiple locations, which makes your all-hands meetings a crucial opportunity to get everyone on the same page. Here are some tips for running the most efficient and productive all-hands meeting possible.
Choose an offsite location
To make sure people are fully focused, it might be a good idea to hold staff meetings somewhere else than at your business. When you get your staff away from their typical workspace, it puts them in a different frame of mind and allows them to better absorb the information that’s presented. It’s also an opportunity to do some fun team-bonding activities after the meeting, like a cooking or crafts class, for example.
Email a reminder
It sounds so simple, but simply sending a message reminding staff about the meeting reinforces its importance (and reminds people to show up). While you’re at it, include the agenda and highlight who will be speaking (especially if you’ve invited a guest to give a special talk).
Stick to a timeline
Stay on point so your meeting doesn’t meander. Once you set the agenda, make sure both you and any speakers stick to their allotted time frame. It might be helpful to appoint another employee to keep the meeting running on track.
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But don’t follow an arbitrary time frame
There’s no set running time that guarantees a successful all-hands meeting. If these types of meetings usually take an hour, fine, but if you’re wrapping things up in a half hour or 45 minutes, just end it then. Dragging things out wastes your staff’s time.
Highlight various departments and staff members
When your company is growing, it can be hard to keep up with what everyone is doing. So ask employees who manage certain parts of the business to give brief updates on how things are going. While you’re at it, use the all-hands as a platform to give a shout-out to both individuals and teams who deserve recognition.
Include remote employees
The whole point of an all-hands is to get everyone together (whether virtually or in person). Set up a line or video feed so people who are on vacation or traveling can call in and listen. If you’re going the video route, make sure to share the file so the staff who couldn’t be there can get up to speed.
Address emailed questions
A question-and-answer session is a great way to cover a wide range of topics and give your employees insight into your point of view about what’s happening with the business. To create an environment where people who may not feel comfortable asking a question in front of a group can participate, invite employees to email their questions ahead of time. At the meeting, read the question (you don’t have to mention who asked it), and then answer it for the group. Adopting this practice helps ensure all your employees feel their voices are being heard.