How we run an engaging, digital all hands

How we run an engaging, digital all hands

With hubs based across 4 different time zones, taking 30 mins out of everyone’s diary is never convenient. What we strive to do is make that the most valuable, fun and engaging 30 minutes of everyone’s week.

“Anyone have any questions?”

Silence

“Ok great, now let’s move on to…”

Ahh the brilliance of those uncomfortable conference meeting silences.

Some would say there’s a beautiful harmony when 35 people collectively sit in silence watching a few people smiling on a screen. 

I would disagree. 

This was once a common occurrence at our weekly all_hands meetings. Which have since been rejuvenated as we’ve adapted our format to suit the digital experience.

We wanted to ensure that when we take 30 mins out of everyone’s diary each week, that it’s an effective use of time, everyone is engaged and we add value to our staff’s week. 

We wanted to share a few of the key elements we’ve included in our digital edition of all_hands that have helped make it more engaging, more informative and cut down the silences.

Find a moderator

First thing we did was appoint a moderator. This can vary from week to week, but it’s important there’s one person driving the meeting. They have the responsibilities of making sure the meeting finishes on time, building the meeting deck and making sure everyone has the opportunity to ask a question. This allows those who are presenting in the meeting to focus solely on their content, and as a result creating a higher quality all hands.

Share the load

Share the responsibility of those presenting in each all hands. Don’t rely on one or two people to speak for the whole meeting as those listening will quickly lose interest. The beauty of a digital meeting means that transferring from speaker to speaker can be done in a few clicks, as opposed to waiting for someone to get up and walk to the lecton. Giving a number of speakers minor sections is much more engaging than having two or three with larger segments. 

Keep things fresh

When it comes to content, keeping things fresh from week to week has worked really well for us. The agenda will be very clear, but the content is always changed slightly to keep things fresh. Rinsing and repeating the same structure each week can be good for smaller meetings, but for an all company catchup like all hands, it can quickly get dry and become less engaging.

Have a laugh!

What you include and don’t include can depend on the business, but what we’ve found is that staff love having a fun element at the end of the meeting. Something that gets everyone’s microphones unmuted, involved and having a laugh. 

Lastly, the key to succeeding in these meetings is feedback. Try and get as much as possible from your co-workers as it should benefit everyone. 

These days our awkward silences are few and far between, unfortunately the nature of meetings mean that we’ll never be without them 100% of the time…

Silence

Anyone have any questions?

We’d love to know how your business has managed their all hands during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m sure ours isn’t the only formula that works out there. If you have some other elements that work for you, please let us know.