Top 7 All Hands Meeting Mistakes and How To Solve Them

The top mistakes behind unsuccessful all hands meetings, and how to solve them.
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Emma Giles, Co-Founder & Head of Product
April 13, 2023

An all hands meeting is a crucial event for teams to share essential updates, boost employee engagement, and align teams toward common goals. And for remote teams, it's super critical because it's often one of the main touchpoints for the whole company.

However, successfully running an all hands requires a bit of intentionality and preparation. We've got you covered, with the top 8 mistakes (and how to solve them). So you can run engaging, effective, and productive all hands meetings.

Top 8 Mistakes (and how to solve them)

Mistake 1: Lack of clear objectives

Solution: Establish specific objectives and communicate them effectively

Unclear objectives can lead to confusion and disengagement during all hands meetings.

Define the purpose of the meeting, set specific, achievable goals, and share them with attendees in advance. Use your teams communication apps to convey objectives and emphasize their importance.

Consider providing a brief overview at the beginning of the meeting to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Mistake 2: Overloading the agenda

Solution: Prioritize, Prioritize.

Overloading the agenda can lead to information overload and loss of focus among attendees.

To prevent this, carefully select the most critical and relevant updates for presentation, and keep the agenda concise. Plan to cover less than you think you can. Trust us, you'll go over time. And if you don't, you'll just have extra time for Q/A or spontaneous catch ups after the all hands.

In fact, allocate time for Q&A and team-building activities. In SoWork, teams leave room for spontaneous conversations before or after the meeting.

Consider using a timer to keep each segment on schedule. Share any less critical updates through alternative communication channels or save them for department-specific meetings.

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Mistake 3: Not involving employees

Solution: Encourage participation

Excluding employees from active participation in all hands meetings can lead to disinterest and reduced engagement.

To counter this, encourage attendees to contribute ideas, ask questions, and share feedback. Create an inclusive environment by offering multiple ways to participate, such as live polls, anonymous question submissions, or interactive segments. Make sure to acknowledge and address their input during the meeting.

Mistake 4: Poor time management

Solution: Plan the meeting structure and assign timekeeping responsibilities

Meetings that run too long or stray from the schedule can cause fatigue and disengagement.

Plan the structure carefully, and allocate appropriate time for each agenda item. Assign a timekeeper to monitor progress and ensure the meeting stays on track. Be prepared to adjust the schedule if necessary, and consider saving any off-topic discussions for follow-up meetings or email correspondence.

It's usually better to cover less and maintain engagement.

Mistake 5: Ineffective communication

Solution: Utilize best practices for presenting information and engaging the audience

Unclear messaging or poorly structured presentations can hinder attendees' understanding and retention of the information shared.

Use clear language, concise bullet points, and engaging visuals. If you have multiple presenters, encourage presenters them to run through their presentations beforehand and consider providing guidelines for effective communication. Ask for feedback on presentation styles and incorporate suggestions for improvement.

Mistake 6: Neglecting to address employee concerns

Solution: Allocate time for addressing concerns and involving employees in problem-solving

Failing to address employee concerns can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

Allocate time during the all hands meeting to discuss and address issues that are important to your employees. Encourage open dialogue and involve employees in brainstorming solutions or action plans. This collaborative approach fosters trust and boosts morale.

Mistake 7: Insufficient follow-up

Solution: Develop a follow-up process and maintain accountability

Lack of follow-up on action items or employee feedback can make future all hands meetings seem less meaningful.

Establish a process for notetaking, action item tracking from discussions and feedback, and acting upon the outcomes of the meeting.

In SoWork, you can use our AI-powered meeting assistant to:

  • Take notes
  • Generate summaries and action items
  • Share them with the team after the meeting

This commitment to continuous improvement will increase the perceived value of the all-hands meeting and encourage future engagement.

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Wanna Try Your Meeting In SoWork?

SoWork is an immersive virtual workspace where teams around the world take engaging, productive meetings every day.

  • Create a free office here
  • Follow the steps to invite your team
  • Walk up to each other to connect to a meeting
  • Enable the AI meeting assistant to take notes and summarize your skip level meeting
  • Follow your ready-to-use questions from this page to drive a successful skip level meeting
  • When you're done, our AI meeting assistant will give you a summary and action items

That's it! Have an awesome next all hands meeting.