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How to raise the impact of Town Hall and All Hands meetings

Leaders who run big, one-to-many meetings know how difficult it is to make  All Hands or Town Hall meetings more engaging, interactive, and high-impact. We care a lot about making work meetings better, so when we hosted our very first Gatheround Campfire — a panel conversation with a group of expert facilitators, emceed by our CEO Lisa Conn — we focused the discussion on that central question: how do you make sure that Town Halls, All Hands, Fireside Chats and other expensive, high-visibility meetings generate real impact and leave employees more engaged and aligned?

Here’s a rundown of what we covered during All in On All Hands - a Campfire focused on making All Hands meetings more engaging and effective. 

Experts on remote work and meeting facilitation weighed in.

Lisa Conn, our cofounder and CEO (and a remote work expert in her own right) hosted a panel discussion with three expert facilitators in the art of hosting an engaging meeting as scale:

  • Dave Carhart, VP of People Strategy Group at Lattice
  • Sanjeev (Sun-jeev), Onboarding Facilitator at Gusto
  • Larry Cloud, Onboarding Specialist at Calendly.
All Hands and Town Hall meetings (and many others) miss the mark.  
  • 75% of people admit to multitasking — meaning anything from other work tasks to online shopping — during meetings?
  • 62% of managers think meetings miss opportunities to bring people together?
  • A company of 200 people will waste $5 MILLION a year on ineffective, inefficient meetings? Yikes. 
How Gatheround makes All Hands and Town Hall meetings more engaging and effective for teams
Thanks to hours of research interviews with our customers and community, we know that teams want dynamic, structured All Hands meetings that bring people together and encourage participation and engagement. 

  • All Hands and Town Hall Meeting Activities: Use Presentation for seamless screen sharing and time-boxing, and Ask a Question for moderated Q&A and rapid ideation! Plus, try Flash Cards for sharing agendas, Polls to pulse the audience, and big improvements to Group Share. 
  • All Hands and Town Hall Meeting Features: Use Recording to capture all the action in the main room and switch between three layouts to adjust your Gatheround experience to the moment. Try out background blur, post-meeting recaps, and much more! 
  • All Hands and Town Hall Meeting Templates: Explore our new collection of 8 curated All Hands templates — all assembled from engaging, high-impact activity blocks. Or check out our Teamwork & Collaboration tab, full of dozens of ready-made team meetings. And we’ve just released our first set of Performance Management templates — a must for teams trying to make the performance review process more engaging and less stressful. 
How to lead more engaging meetings, according to the experts

Our expert facilitator panelists, Sanjeev, Larry, and Dave, gave us an insider’s view of the facilitation process, letting the group in on their best tips and advice for creating a meaningful, high-quality, and inclusive meeting experience. Some highlights: 

  • Use meetings to clarify expectations and communicate norms. Larry explained how meetings provide clarity and certainty, noting: “We live in an environment that’s ever-changing. Meetings are a space for our leadership, our decision-makers to provide certainty. One of the things that will lead people to be disengaged within a company is when there's this feeling of gloom and uncertainty that's hanging over them. Meetings allow us to really outline: here are the things that we know.  Which allows a lot more engagement, a lot more trust, and a lot more transparency.”

  • Mix people up and split them into small groups. Dave recommended two strategies for engaging people in large meetings, offering, “One thing that works is getting people into small groups,  so they have enough opportunity and comfort to speak and fully engage. The other is mixing it up across organizational boundaries. When we went remote first, suddenly the connections across departments really started to fray. Helping folks break down those boundaries is really important.”

  • Ground meetings in inclusion and belonging. Sanjeev spoke to the important role inclusivity plays in engaging the team. “I always start [onboarding] with Gusto's approach to representation, inclusion, social impact, and equity. I start there to affirm our humanity. You're bringing all parts of you to work. We are not playing that game anymore where you take off your identities or you code switch. Especially for marginalized identities to have to code switch, it's such an energy drain. And so I want to come in from that space and say, "You're perfect as you are. Your talent and your energy brought you here, so let me stamp that, highlight that and take you through the resources." 

And that’s just a snapshot of all of the thoughtful insights our panelists provided. Check out the recording at the bottom of the page for more!

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If you want to experience Campfire for yourself, watch the recording below or read the transcript.

 And keep an eye on our homepage for the next Campfire! Don’t forget the marshmallows :)