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Bursts of Color - The Remote All-Hands Meeting

In a regular office environment, an All-Hands Meeting brings people together to joke with colleagues
Bursts of Color - The Remote All-Hands Meeting
By Geoff Donaker • Issue #21 • View online
In a regular office environment, an All-Hands Meeting brings people together to joke with colleagues and meet folks from other groups. Remote meetings are different, to say the least. If you’re not the speaker, watching a remote All-Hands Meeting is like watching a video of one other person talking. This brings to mind some tough benchmarks of what your team is used to:
  • 50 minutes = Netflix comedy special
  • 20 minutes = TED Talk
  • 3-5 minutes = YouTuber clip

If your set is not as tight as Dave's, maybe don't talk for 50 minutes :-)
If your set is not as tight as Dave's, maybe don't talk for 50 minutes :-)
I believe regular All Hands Meetings are important – arguably even more important – in our current remote environment. But if we’re going to make folks watch us talk on video, let’s do our best to put on a good show. Here are my top 10 suggestions for remote All Hands Meetings based on several months of trying to watch and learn from all of you:

  1. Frequency - Weekly. This lets you cover all recent news and hot topics without ever scheduling a scary emergency meeting.
  2. Length - 30 minutes is usually plenty. And feel free to end early, so your audience is still looking forward to next week.
  3. Speakers - Variety is good. CEO is usually the emcee, but others join for 3-5 minute sections (like YouTube clips).
  4. Content - Mix it up. Over time you will hit metrics, launches, deals, etc. But don’t lock yourself into a format.
  5. Q&A - Set aside at least 10 minutes to encourage interaction. If needed, solicit questions in advance using a tool like Slido.
  6. Preparation - Do it. Be aware of how much company time you are spending (e.g., 20 people x 30 min = 10 hours). Have all speakers do at least one dry run aloud. It will show.
  7. Visuals - Product demos, images and occasional charts are great… but be wary of PPT and avoid text heavy “word walls.” If people are reading your slides, they are not listening to you.
  8. Time Zones - Pick something that’s reasonable for everyone. If that’s not possible, consider running the meeting twice.
  9. Audience Cameras - Generally all on for teams up to ~20. Optional for large teams, except management and speakers.
  10. Sporadic Fun. Special guests, pet shows, trivia contests, random questions or sunglasses day can help lighten the mood.
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Geoff Donaker

Bursts of Color is a newsletter for start-up leaders who work with Burst Capital. It's meant to include products, people and ideas that I think are interesting and maybe relevant for you.

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