Dear Dave: Our company is about to have its first-ever employee meeting. Do you have any suggestions on how to conduct something like this?
If you have an existing company, and you've never had an employee meeting in the past, I think the first one should be spent explaining why you've decided to have employee meetings.
We have staff meetings every week with all 300 team members, mainly for the purpose of communication between the different departments and divisions. We cheerlead when things are going right, and lots of times I'll read email letters bragging on various team members.
Now, no company is perfect, and sometimes there's housecleaning to be done. That kind of stuff isn't always pretty, but we tell the truth and shoot straight with the team about these issues. Occasionally, I'll even use one of the meetings to teach on the principles of the way we run the company. This can cover accounting, marketing, or even the concepts of unity and loyalty.
Just do things gradually, and don't hit your team with too much right off the bat. You might even take suggestions from your team as to what they feel would be beneficial in your meetings!