Team-wide meetings are a staple in most companies’ regular meeting cadence. Town Halls, All-Hands, Team Syncs, whatever you call it – your team likely has your own version.But whether it’s weekly, monthly, or even quarterly, running a meeting with the entire team can feel overwhelming and expensive. (Let’s just say you probably don’t want to add up those hundreds of hours of employee salaries.)That being said, town halls and team-wide meetings are incredibly important for building connections across your organization. But for them to be effective, they need to be informative and deliver value for your team.Your town hall doesn’t have to be dull and feel like a chore. We’ve put together some of our top tips and best practices to help you run your best town hall yet.
Like every other productive virtual meeting, you should be setting objectives and agendas ahead of time. Your team’s time is valuable, so you need to be certain you’re communicating information that keeps your team informed, empowered, and engaged.Try starting each town hall with an overview of what you’ll be covering. This gives your team the “why” – why are they spending an hour (or more!) of their time attending this town hall.Even if every town hall follows a similar format, it’s good to set the stage and remind everyone of the goals of the meeting. This is particularly helpful for new team members. Company-wide meetings can need a lot of context for new employees or team members, so this ensures everyone is on the same page.
More often than not, town halls are an opportunity for leaders in the organization to share relevant updates about the business. While there are certain topics that should be covered solely by your leadership team, there is almost always an opportunity to pass the mic to other members of your organization.Consider inviting different members of the team to speak during town halls. By including different faces and voices, your meeting will feel more inclusive and approachable. Giving individual members of your team the opportunity to present to the wider company also empowers them.Some engaging ways to involve the broader team include:
Inviting more members of the team up to your Venue stage will make your next all-hands feel more like a conversation rather than a select group of people talking at the rest of the company.
No matter how great your team is at communication and transparency, your employees will inevitably have questions. Whether it’s about company policies, finances, or business goals, town halls are a great time to help clear any outstanding questions.One of the best ways to do this is through a question and answer period (or an AMA) during your regular town halls. Publicly answering employee questions can significantly improve trust and transparency throughout your organization. Plus, it makes your meeting more engaging.If you have a large company where it’s not possible to answer all questions during your town hall, you can always collect questions in a form in advance. It’s also a great idea to collect questions anonymously – you might get more interesting questions when they’re not attributable to a single employee. Allowing team members to submit questions anonymously can help them be more comfortable asking the important questions. (Venue has a built-in anonymous Q&A tool!)
From employee anniversaries to exciting company updates, your town hall can and should be about more than just KPIs and financial updates.Yes, business updates are important but you should also take the time to build human connections across the organization. Going beyond the business can show that you value engagement and team culture.Set aside time in every town hall to celebrate the wins and important moments.Highlighting your team’s individual and collective accomplishments can go a long way. These little details can make town halls a meeting your people actually to attend.
Staring at a bunch of faces in boxes for hours on end can be … a lot.Help your remote or hybrid team get the most out of your town hall by choosing the right technology and platform.For companies or meetings on the smaller side, solutions like Google Meets, Zoom, or even Microsoft Teams are likely fine to support connections within your company.For larger organizations, consider investing in platforms like Venue that are specifically designed to foster engagement and culture-building in large teams. With engagement tools built in, Venue can help turn your regular old town hall into a celebration-worthy affair.Also, consider investing in upgraded video and audio equipment for leaders who take on larger roles in town halls and all-hands. This way they’ll look and sound their best when presenting to the wider team.
The great thing about town halls is that they don’t need to be the same forever. While the overall structure might stay relatively consistent, there is always room to improve.Every once in a while, reach out to the entire company and get their thoughts on what’s working and what isn’t. By gathering feedback from your team, you’ll be able to evolve your town halls to be more effective for them.Not sure where to start? Some areas you should consider collecting feedback on, include:
At the end of the day, town halls should be designed with your team in mind. It should be more than what you as a leader think is important to share. Their feedback can help inform how you can make your town halls better and more valuable.
All-hands and town halls can be complex and time-consuming to run, but they’re a great opportunity to intentionally build a better company culture and engage with your employees.Town halls are extremely valuable and worth your while, if they’re done thoughtfully and purposefully. As a leader, the best thing you can do is make sure your team-wide meetings are delivering value – and enjoyment – for your team. By using the techniques we’ve shared above, you’ll be on your way to the ultimate town hall in no time.
Every team is tired of endless meetings, infinite unreads on Slack, email, and documents. This is what Venue solves.
How do you run an effective All Hands that aligns and inspires your team?