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All-Hands Meetings | Tools, Tips & Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Elevate your All-Hands Meetings with our comprehensive guide! Follow our step-by-step all-hands walkthrough or check out what tips and tools to try.
Abel Grunfeld
Head of Marketing
Last Updated:
March 10, 2024
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

All-hand meetings strengthen company culture and community spirit, share key updates, and get everyone on the same page. 

The logistics of organizing and hosting these kinds of ‘all hands on deck’ meetings can be a bit of a nightmare, though. Regardless of whether they’re online or in-person, you’ll need the right equipment and an agenda you can follow. 

Here, you’ll find a guide to all the tools, tips, and steps you need to take to host regular and effective all-hands meetings. 

What is an all-hands meeting?

An all-hands meeting involves getting everyone from your organization together – whether in person or online – to share company news as well as personal and departmental updates. They’re a very effective opportunity to gather everyone together, cultivate a sense of company culture and connection, and ensure everyone is on the same page. This is especially important if you tend to see siloed departments or sections of your business operating almost in isolation without really taking notice of what others are up to. 

What is the difference between an all-hands meeting and townhall? 

It’s easy to mix all-hands meetings with other types of organizational gatherings, such as ‘town halls’. It’s true that a lot of organizations actually use these two terms interchangeably. Where they are seen as different things, here’s what sets them apart: 

An all-hands meeting includes everyone in your organization but generally focuses more on company updates and announcements. There may be only a few designated speakers who make these announcements. 

Townhall meetings also involve all employees but typically have a more ‘dialogue’ oriented structure whereby anyone can raise a point or ask questions. 

Why should you implement all-hands meetings in your company?

Though it can be difficult to find a time that suits everyone in your company, there are a number of reasons that scheduling an all-hands meeting can benefit your business. 

Benefits of all-hands meetings for companies

Here is a quick summary of the main advantages of holding regular all-hands meetings: 

Keep everyone in the loop. 

Business moves fast, and it can be hard to make sure that all your employees are up to date with the latest developments. All-hands meetings are a quick and effective way of communicating key updates and changes to everyone all at once. This also opens up the floor to any questions or queries, saving you the trouble of replying to a load of emails. Plus, this keeps your employees actively engaged with what’s happening in the business - something that 71% of executives say is critical to their company’s success. 

Foster a company and corporate culture. 

Without company-wide gatherings and meetings, it’s difficult to cultivate a sense of community and shared culture. And company culture has become an important factor for 46% of job seekers. An all-hands meeting gives you the chance to reinforce certain values and ensure that everyone feels like a part of the bigger team. 

Combat siloes in your business and create synergy across departments. 

It’s not unusual for company departments to work quite separately. An all-hands meeting gives you the chance to get everyone – regardless of their role or department – together and talking. 

Get everyone in one room. 

There’s something to be said for getting everyone in your company together – even if you’re holding the meeting remotely. This is especially true if you have a lot of remote workers who don't get the chance to interact with their colleagues. 

What do you need to host an all-hands meeting?

Hosting an all-hands meeting isn’t quite as simple as gathering everyone in a room. Here’s a list of the kind of equipment you might need: 

Venue (online or physical)

The first thing you need to host an all-hands meeting is an actual venue - whether that’s an online meeting platform or a physical room. We cover the best software for hosting all-hands meetings below. 


Here’s a list of the equipment you’ll need to host an effective all-hands meeting: 


If you’re hosting your meeting in-person and you’ve got a big organization, a microphone (or several) will probably come in useful. If you’re doing your all-hands meeting remotely,  your main speakers should definitely have a microphone in their remote setup. This is essential for high-quality audio in both your live meeting and in the recording. 


If you’re doing a remote all-hands meeting, you want your main speakers to be in crisp 4K video if at all possible. This is easy if they have a good webcam or camera in their setup. If you’re recording your in-person meeting, a high-quality camera is essential for a professional recording. 

Software for all-hands meetings

For remote all-hands meetings, your choice of meeting software makes a big difference to your recording quality, interaction capabilities with your attendees and more. 


Riverside offers the best of both worlds when it comes to hosting your all-hands meeting online. You can rely on high-quality recording in up to 4K video and 48kHz audio, an easy interface for both your hosts and audience to navigate, and several features made to enhance your live experience including a media board, ability to screen share, and more. Here’s a quick look at Riverside’s main features: 

Riverside all hands meeting software
  • High quality recordings with up to 4K video and 48KhZ audio recording
  • Producer mode allows your technical team to join without being on the recording 
  • Join as an audience member means your employees can watch and listen to the all-hands meeting but won’t appear in the recording. 
  • Live mix and add sound effects or other audio with the media board 
  • Screen sharing where you’ll capture your screen on a separate track
  • Presentation recorder to upload slides, assign display controls and record your presentations locally.
  • Interactive chat allows your audience members to interact and respond to what your hosts are saying in real-time 
  • Live call-in feature means audience members can temporarily join the recording. 
  • Local recording means higher-quality recording, because Riverside records each participant on their own device rather than over the internet. 
  • Multitrack recording so that each individual’s audio and video has its own separate track. This gives you more control when you’re editing.
  • Teleprompter allows you to pre-upload an script to follow or prompts to keep your place and hit all your agenda points. 
  • Live streaming so you can have the flexibility to live broadcast to major platforms. 
  • AI-powered transcription automatically produces a 99% accurate written transcription of your meeting.
  • Text-based editor lets you simply edit your transcription in the Editor and Riverside will make the same changes in your recording. 
  • Magic clips feature automatically identifies key moments in your all-hands meeting and turns them into short-form clips.
  • AI-generated summary and chapters makes it easier to send notes and key takes to those who couldn’t make it . 
  • Browser-based or mobile app for maximum flexibility about where you and your meeting participants can join from 
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Microsoft Teams 

If your organization already uses the Microsoft 365 suite for your daily business operations and communications, Teams is a convenient choice for hosting your all-hands meeting. As your integrated communication platform, your employees will all be familiar with how it works and it’ll be easy to slot it into your corporate calendar. 

Microsoft Teams all hands meeting
Microsoft Teams

Key features: 

  • ‘Together mode’ makes your remote meetings feel less impersonal. This feature automatically focuses on people’s faces and ensures it’s easy to see who is talking 
  • Easy to include a Powerpoint presentation in your meeting 
  • Ability to collaboratively annotate content that you screen share during the meeting 
  • Closed captions during your meetings for maximum accessibility 
  • Live, real-time chat with all meeting attendees 
  • Part of the Microsoft 365 suite which is a full service desktop, web and app versions of key applications, enterprise communication tools and cloud services 

Zoom (One)

Zoom is another great choice for hosting your organization-wide all-hands meetings. It’s familiar and easy to use, which are both huge bonuses when you’re coordinating a large number of people. If you’re already using Zoom One, this is definitely a no-brainer for hosting your all-hands meetings. 

Zoom One is a business-oriented version of the platform we’re all familiar with. It combines the standard remote calling platform with other business communication and collaboration tools. 

When it comes to recording capabilities and additional features, though, Zoom falls a little short compared to Microsoft Teams or Riverside. 

Zoom all hands meeting software

Key Features: 

  • Join from any device - mobile, tablet or computer 
  • Live chat during the meeting 
  • Ability to share screen during your meeting 
  • Integrates with your existing tech stack 
  • Record your session. Although you can’t do multitrack recording and Zoom doesn’t locally record. 
  • Closed captions of your live all-hands meeting for full accessibility 

How to host your own all-hands meetings: Step-by-step

If you’re ready to host your first all-hands meeting, follow this step-by-step where we’ll explain how using Riverside. 

Step 1: Schedule your meeting & prepare your agenda 

The first step to hosting your own all-hands meeting is getting it in the calendar. You’ll need to find a free slot that suits all your main players – and ideally, a lot of your employees too. 

Meanwhile, you’ll want to put together your meeting agenda that includes all the main points that you want to cover during your meeting. As we said earlier, your agenda doesn’t need to be overly detailed. All it should do is offer a neat and concise structure and order of events to avoid any unnecessary digressions. 

Step 2: Share meeting agenda & gather questions 

Once you’ve got your agenda and have confirmed the time and date, send out your finished agenda to all attendees. This gives your employees the chance to send back any questions or additions they might have. 

Step 3: Create and schedule a reusable studio in Riverside 

Next, you’ll need to head to your Riverside account and click the “+” button next to “Studios” on the left-hand side.
Give your new studio a name. You’ll also need to set the default language for your transcriptions. At this point, you can also add a date if you want to schedule the studio. Next, click "Create".

Creating an all hands meeting studio on Riverside

Step 4: Share (audience) link 

Once created, you'll see your studio appear in the left-hand panel. Hover over it and click on the three dots then "invite to record”The pop-up that appears will allow you to either copy the studio link or email your guests directly from Riverside. 

Step 5: Host your all-hands meeting 

On the day, enter your Riverside studio by clicking on the camera icon next to your studio name in the left-hand panel. You'll enter the lobby where you can check that your camera and mic are working correctly. You can also adjust your on-screen name too. When you're ready, click “Join studio”

If you want to include and record your presentation, we’d recommend uploading your presentation file ahead of time to maximize its resolution during your call and in the recording. You can upload a Powerpoint, Keynote presentation or Adobe PDF file as long as it’s a maximum of 700MB. Do this from the bottom of your screen by clicking “Share” then “Presentation” then “Upload Powerpoint, Keynote, or PDF”

Make sure that everyone has joined before you kick off. 

Requesting a live call in on an all-hands meeting on Riverside

While audiences all watch the show without being recorded, they can request to call in live. To do this, audience members can click the “Start Live Call”. The meeting host can accept or reject their request. 

Step 6: Follow up 

When you’ve finished your all-hands meeting, Riverside will redirect you automatically to your dashboard. Here, you’ll be able to see the progress of each participant’s tracks, as well as your recording transcript. 

Riverside will automatically generate AI show notes that include a summary, key takeaways and chapter titles and timestamps. You can include these alongside your recording when and if you choose to send it out to your colleagues. 

8 Best practices for engaging and productive all-hands meetings

Company-wide meetings can descend into chaos or drag on too long if you’re not careful. Here are a few tips for keeping your meetings on track and on topic while still keeping your employees engaged: 

Prepare an agenda 

Make sure to prepare an agenda in advance. If you can, sharing this agenda with all attendees in advance will ensure everyone knows what to expect. Your agenda doesn’t have to be too detailed, but should outline the main topics of conversation and the order in which you will cover them during the meeting.

Collect questions in advance 

Once you’ve shared the agenda, it’s worth asking attendees to submit any questions or queries in advance. This will save time during the meeting, allow your company executives to get their thoughts in order and identify any key concerns or areas of confusion ahead of the meeting. 

Make sure to keep to schedule 

On the day, you want to do everything possible to avoid lengthy digressions or off-topic discussions. This is especially important for keeping your attendees engaged rather than disgruntled. Electing a moderator to keep tabs of the conversation flow is often the most effective strategy.

Celebrate the wins & make room for lighter content 

When you’ve got everyone in your organization in one room, it’s tempting to dedicate the whole meeting to important and serious updates and news. It’s worth putting aside at least the first five minutes to celebrate positive (personal) successes and news, though. Or, if there’s no news to share, carving out some time for light-hearted team activities or conversation. 

Give employees the opportunity to share their thoughts 

You don’t want your all-hands meetings to become a one-way communication platform. Encouraging two-way company communication is super important for making your employees feel valued and comfortable to share their thoughts. 

Create a welcoming environment 

In the same vein, creating a friendly and welcome environment should be an essential part of these all-hands meetings. You don’t want your employees to feel intimidated coming into these meetings. Ideally, they should look forward to hearing about company-wide news and getting together with all of their colleagues. 

Record the meeting 

Inevitably not everyone in your organization will be able to make it to every all-hands meeting. Since it’s so simple and easy to record your sessions, you might as well. You can then save the recording for posterity and later reference and share it with those who weren’t able to attend.

Send a follow up 

Always send a follow-up email, rounding up the key points and takeaways and inviting any further feedback. This is important for keeping the conversation going, actioning any ideas or issues that were raised during the meeting, and bringing the discussions to life beyond the meeting. 

FAQs on All-Hands Meetings

What is the difference between a town hall meeting and an all-hands meeting?

As we outlined earlier, some organizations actually use ‘town hall’ and ‘all-hands’ meeting interchangeably. If they do delineate between them, town hall meetings are more of an ‘informal’ or ‘unstructured’ conversation while ‘all-hands’ have a stricter formula involving designated speakers. 

What should the agenda include for an all-hands meet?

There’s no set formula or agenda for an all-hands meeting. Depending on what’s happening in your business, you may have a number of updates to share that involve the whole company. If you don’t have any big announcements, you might want to invite each department to share what they’ve been working on recently. 

How often should you have an all-hands meeting?

Again, you should think about what would best suit your company (and all your schedules). If it’s plausible, it’s good to make sure that it’s in the calendar consistently – whether that’s every month or quarter, for example. 

How long should an all-hands meeting be?

You don’t need to commit to a rigid amount of time, but allowing yourself an hour gives you leeway. This flexibility is hugely valuable in accommodating any questions that might arise or allowing for team-building exercises, for example. 

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