I assume everyone agrees that the work activity we tolerate the least are meetings. The more attendees involved in them, the more hateful they get to employees and that’s a fact. This unfortunately puts the All-hands meeting on top of loathed meetings. Though it is one of the most pivotal meetings since it gives broad insights on what’s going on putting everyone on the same page. I grappled with the issue for some time and managed to figure out few hacks that helped change my employees’ attitude towards the All-hands meeting. It worked for us! Timely arrivals, more engagement and more fun. After all, we rarely get to meet as a whole team.
Here are my six hacks:
Ready a simple agenda:
To ensure that everyone is enthusiastic about the All-hands meeting, set a clear agenda for the meeting. Share it with the invitations.
Here is my hack: make sure to spice it every now & then with some humor, a trending meme that reflects some of context or just a joke your team can relate to & interpret in a very positive way. Employees need to come prepared with their questions and inputs to any meeting, but it is as important that they attend it feeling positive energy.
Create incentives for participation:
All -hands meetings should not be monopolized spaces where only few get to speak for everyone. A great way to allow this is by creating a safe space for everyone to share their ideas, I noticed that by adopting a very tolerant verbal attitude to different stands, everyone with an opinion will be very comfortable sharing it. Preparing a well-thought list of open-ended questions is a great way to get attendees participate. It goes without saying that giving everyone an equal opportunity to express themselves is the key to a successful general participation.
Use interactive tools:
At some point and depending on the context you’ll see that using interactive tools results in great collaboration. It sparks debate, fruitful exchange and mainly breaks the monotonous flow of the meeting. You can use polls, quizzes, and surveys to gather instantaneous feedback from the attendees. The hack however is to introduce these tools in meetings where you expect the participation to be withdrawn. You could have points on your agenda that may cause a sensitive or uncomfortable atmosphere. These tools are an efficient solution to embark everyone on effective debates without them sensing any inhibitions.
Time it short :
By following the above points, you are certainly keeping your All-hands meeting short because it is initially focused. But, still, you have to set a moderate time and keep your eye on the clock. At times no one feels the time flying by till exhaustion kicks in. It leaves a bitter aftertaste, I must confess! There is always that bitter feeling of having failed organizing properly the meeting. Cut on too much details and you are safe and make sure of the relevance of the topics to the attendees. It is also very common that we get swayed into elaborating few subjects that only a part of the attendees can relate to. It is a very unpleasant feeling of loss and confusion the rest of the attendees will experience. That’s the best recipe to turn off the motivation and engagement of the employees.
Appeal to all your attendees’ senses by selecting the right visuals that give them clear insights with the least effort on their side. Graphs, charts, and videos make the All-hands meetings more engaging and visually appealing. One thing is guaranteed, there will be no need to get back to the meeting, everyone’s memory was doing great thanks to the visuals!
Use follow-up software tools to keep everyone engaged after the All- hands. You can get meeting summaries, action items or next topics for discussions shared with the team via software applications. The hack is to test all of them and pick up the ones that have already created more engagement among the team. Remember, the more the team feels engaged, the higher their productivity gets.
All these simple hacks can create great results with remote work too. Nevertheless, it is known that keeping everyone enthusiastic in this case is a greater challenge. That’s why you can add to the previous list making sure that the attendees have good internet connection. It is super important that the video conferencing goes on well each time. Nothing is more annoying and demotivating than facing issues staying on the conference. A great tip, that will never fail your team is using interactive sessions like breakout rooms or virtual whiteboards. These tools added to using “chat” can get the team involved efficiently in exchange. This way, the All-hands is transformed into the meeting everyone looks up to.