Back to main

All Hands Meetings - Everything you need to know

All Hands Meetings - Everything you need to know
Don't just read 🤓
Learn how Incognito AI can upgrade your culture
Add to Slack button
Learn more!
Newsletter Envelope

Join our newsletter and get a free

Glassdoor Culture Report
Your report is being created!
It will be emailed to you shortly.
Hmmm... something went wrong
Email to get your report!

It is already apparent by now that whatever meeting you host when executed very well, will lead your team to success. Today’s article will explain all-hands meetings, their purpose, and how to do them right with best practices. Whether new to all-hands meetings or trying to figure out how to improve them, you've come to the right place!

The all-hands meeting - known as a town hall - is a regular, company-wide gathering where employees, managers, and stakeholders discuss the most crucial issues. All-hands meetings get their name from the phrase 'all hands on deck,' which signals all ship crew members to get up onto the deck. Town-hall meetings are very good and practical meetings.

An all-hands or town hall meeting aims to:

  • Provide business updates for the past month, quarter, or year
  • Align company strategy and mission
  • Celebrating milestones and the people who made them possible
  • Allow everyone to ask questions
  • Improve employee engagement
  • Boost the team spirit
  • Better virtual meetings
  • Improved staff meetings

All-hands meetings are never too early to start for a growing company. When keeping everyone in the company on the same page becomes difficult, you'll know it's time. The meeting agenda does impact that for improving the company culture working towards the company mission.

How to Make Effective all-hands Meetings

  • Plan your meeting in a structured way

Ensure your all-hands meeting has a clear plan with agreed-upon sections and timings along with shout outs. Assign a concrete time range for each all-hands meeting based on your priorities. Tell your speakers to keep an eye on the time before the meeting to avoid overrunning, as your team members may not have extra time to stick around. Leave enough time for Q&A and feedback, as you don’t want the call to become a one-way webinar. Make sure you have broken down your all-hands meeting plan into something meaningful for the team. 


  • Invite people ahead of time to a fixed date

Make your all-hands meeting a tradition, establishing a fixed frequency. People will be more likely to attend meetings if they are used to it. Invite your colleagues to the meeting well in advance, ideally at the start of the season or quarter, so that they can schedule other meetings or days off accordingly. You can set a fixed time if it's convenient for most of the team or switch between morning and afternoon slots according to your regional needs.

  • Fix all the technical and audio-visual issues beforehand 

Make sure your technology doesn’t let you down! Be sure the person responsible for AV is aware of the formats you will use for your all-hands meeting (slides, audio, video) and of all interactive activities you will conduct. During the meeting, it's also good practice to have the tech person on hand in case any technical issues arise so they can troubleshoot and fix them immediately. If you bring everyone in your company together and it takes 10 minutes to set Zoom, you might have wasted dozens of hours of collective work! This will help with the employee engagement created equal.

  • Organize the meeting with a moderator in charge

If you want things to run smoothly, you should appoint someone from your team to moderate the meeting. They will lead everyone through the session, introduce the speakers, and facilitate the conversations as a link between the speakers and the audience. You can prepare for the meeting to ensure everything is ready to go with the help of an effective moderator. When your team members join the meeting, this representative will welcome them, start the discussion, and keep an eye on the agenda.

  • Engage in the meeting with your team

Don't allow your staff to observe the meeting in silence; that’s a guaranteed way to bore your team. Use interactive live polls to get your coworkers' opinions in real-time or to pose thought-provoking questions. Use a pulse survey, for example, to evaluate your team's understanding of a new plan after you've explained it to them. Plan out multiple opportunities for interaction and include them in your all-hands schedule, whether they occur between or during the individual speaker slots. You can conduct a quiz during your meeting to have some fun. For instance, make your company's statistics into quiz questions and ask your staff to guess how well it did. Find questions here if you need some ideas.

  • Focus on boosting the team’s morale

Use your all-hands meeting to boost team morale and strengthen company culture. To recognize every hero and heroine in your workplace, try a "Silent Hero" activity. Ask each team member to pick a coworker who went above and above for them or performed very well throughout the previous month or quarter. Then let them submit the name of that person. Or, here's another suggestion for a motivational activity. Ask your team members, "What are you most proud of about our culture?"

Boosting your team's morale can be challenging; if you want to learn more about that, learn from the link. 

All hands meetings best practices

There are a lot of essential practices worth considering when hosting an all-hands meeting. 

  • Follow up on unanswered questions 

Sometimes you receive far more questions than your leaders can respond to in a short Q&A period. That doesn’t mean you answer some and then ignore other questions from your team. Make sure to double-check to make sure you didn’t miss anything, because an employee might feel personally upset if the only question you skip is their.. You will show your team that you genuinely care for them when you answer every question. Another way you can do that is to address any unanswered questions in writing, distribute an internal message, and ask departmental leads to meet their employees individually and answer their questions.

  • Share accomplishments and prospects

It's likely that a team will naturally desire to perform well when you urge them to do so at an all-hands meeting. That's completely OK. A great place to share accomplishments is at all-hands meetings. But it's also a great opportunity to share learning opportunities because your entire organization will be interested in growing. It's important to recognize the accomplishments of your teams and their progress, but it's also crucial to share any lessons learned or ineffective strategies that have been identified.

Give a team the opportunity to showcase their accomplishments when you ask them to present at an all-hands meeting. However, if at all possible, also invite them to share some of their difficulties. And the leadership team should absolutely do so as well. The challenges become a learning opportunity for your entire company when you share with other teams the difficulties you've encountered (and how you overcame them).

  • Ask for anonymous feedback afterward. 

Make sure your staff members are learning something from your all-hands meetings. Receiving feedback is one of the essential components in holding efficient all-hands meetings and making sure they remain efficient. Some employees feel more comfortable sharing their feedback anonymously. This can also make them feel more comfortable sharing feedback on something they didn't like during that particular meeting. This can help you and your company improve the upcoming meetings and become better. 

Get everyone on board and begin organizing your next company-wide meeting now that you know how to create all-hands meetings.