All-company meetings need to be carefully crafted to maximize both your employees' time and take-away benefits. The meeting agenda should be formed around the goals you have for your middle market company with an eye toward employee engagement. Here are six factors to keep in mind:

Encourage engagement and interaction from all your employees during all-company meetings.

  1. Start by emphasizing your company's mission and values. The best way to motivate employees is to show your business's plan in action outside the office. Show how your core values are being realized by having a few standout employees tell a success story. This could be, for example, a case of customer interaction where people went the extra mile to make a positive impression.
  2. Get input from everybody. You want your meetings to promote interaction among all your employees. Passive listening to budget information does not foster engagement. Minimize the dispensing of information in favor of activities that generate back-and-forth exchanges, such as breaking employees into smaller groups to generate discussion. Be sure that leadership participates, as well.
  3. Don't rehash the same format over and over. If a presentation, presenter or topic didn't engage your employee base, scrap it. It's better to surprise employees than run over the same old ground. Ask your whole team for feedback before the meeting if you're looking for ideas. This goes further to promote engagement and will show your people that their opinions make a difference. Get in touch with employees after the meeting, too, so you can further tweak the structure and format.
  4. Share stories, not data and information. As mentioned before, employees are motivated when their work has meaning, and while numbers and data are important indicators, they don't construct an understandable narrative that makes a connection. Emphasize themes, personalities and the capacity to overcome obstacles. Don't be afraid to bring up mistakes, which are always an opportunity for learning and show accountability and transparency from leadership. Use storytelling as a way of emphasizing company values.
  5. Make sure that the speakers have rehearsed their material. It's a good idea to do a dress rehearsal, focusing on engagement and smooth transitions between speakers. Try to identify slow points in the overall flow of the presentation, and consider if there's a good place to insert something different, such as breaking off into smaller groups or simply allowing a coffee break, especially if the meeting will last hours.
  6. Show off the latest exceptional work. These meetings are an opportunity to recognize the people who have gone above and beyond to get meaningful work done, which again reinforces the values you want to promote. Leadership should explain how these employees met their goals and achieved success. This is a great way to encourage your best employees to keep doing good work while showing the whole company which people to imitate in terms of work ethic and attitude.

How do you know if your all-company meeting was a success or not? If you're getting people to talk about your midmarket company's mission and values while communicating a clear message surrounding your company's overall plan, goals and core values, then it has made an impact. Above all, your top meeting agenda item should be to share stories within your company that both inspire and instruct, laying the foundation of how you want all your employees to work every day.

What kinds of information shouldn't be shared in all-company meetings? Let us know what you think by commenting below.

Boston-based Chuck Leddy is an NCMM contributor and a freelance reporter who contributes regularly to The Boston Globe and Harvard Gazette. He also trains Fortune 500 executives in business-communication skills as an instructor for EF Education.