One of the best things you can do to ensure that your meetings are productive, efficient, and necessary is to create a team meeting agenda. This way, you can help to keep meetings on track within the allotted time and give yourself the opportunity to discover that a particular meeting actually could just be an email. Let's look at a number of team meeting agenda templates you can use in your next team meeting, along with some tips and tricks for creating the best agendas.
According to a Gallup poll, two-thirds of employees in white-collar jobs were working from home exclusively or some of the time in September of 2021. With remote work seemingly here to stay nearly a year later, team meetings have become increasingly essential.
There are tons of benefits to working from home, but it does require more deliberate communication than in-office work. At the same time, it's easy to get a bit too meeting-happy by holding frequent, directionless, and unnecessary team meetings.
One of the best things you can do to ensure that your meetings are productive, efficient, and necessary is to create a team meeting agenda. This way, you can help to keep meetings on track within the allotted time and give yourself the opportunity to discover that a particular meeting actually could just be an email.
Let's look at a number of team meeting agenda templates you can use in your next team meeting, along with some tips and tricks for creating the best agendas.
The reality is that meetings can be completely exhausting– this goes for in-person, in-office, and virtual conference calls. If you don't have an agenda to help guide the discussion, meetings can meander here, there, and everywhere without ever accomplishing what needs to get done.
Asana found that 157 hours were wasted in unnecessary meetings in 2020 at any given company, which amounts to nearly four full work weeks. This is enough to perk the ears of any team leader, and you'll find that instituting a clear meeting agenda before every meeting will go a long way in reducing lost time.
Creating a meeting agenda is one of the best indicators of whether you actually need to hold a meeting in the first place. You might find that you can discuss the topics asynchronously through another communication method, such as email, which can ultimately save a ton of time.
Meeting agendas also give everyone the opportunity to prepare for meetings ahead of time. This means that they can know what their responsibilities are going to be in the meeting ahead of time, which makes for a much more efficient meeting.
Creating an agenda also communicates to your team that you respect their time and don't want to waste it. Here are a few other benefits of having an agenda for each of your meetings:
You might find that simply having a plan– even if it's just a barebones outline– helps to make your employees more relaxed and engaged during the meeting. One of the things that can make remote meetings so stressful is the sense that they are potentially endless. On top of that, team members might be distracted thinking about whether or not the topic they feel is most pressing will even be addressed.
If you want your whole team to be on the same page (and, frankly, who doesn't?), having an agenda can go a long way.
There are a number of key elements that you'll want to include in any team meeting agenda you create:
Now that we have a clear sense of the nuts and bolts, let's look at a few example templates.
If you're holding a meeting for a project kickoff, your agenda might look something like this:
Project name: Brand awareness campaign
Kickoff date: August 1
Project manager: Isabelle Smith
Team meeting agenda:
Brief intro (five minutes)– Isabelle
Overview of project purpose (ten minutes)– Isabelle
Project plan overview (fifteen minutes)– David
Overview of project scope (ten minutes)– David
Roles and responsibilities (ten minutes)– Isabelle
Next steps and action items (five minutes)– Sarah
Questions and answers
Now, let's say that you hold weekly one-on-one meetings with your team to check in with everyone at an individual level. Your agenda might look quite a bit different than the above example and more along these lines:
Opening question– five minutes
Accomplishments and lessons– ten minutes
Discuss obstacles– ten minutes
Open up the conversation for feedback– five minutes
Questions and answers– five minutes
Follow-up– five minutes
What about a regular weekly team meeting? What could a good template look like for that? Here's a good example:
Weekly Team Meeting
Team: John, Jim, Sally, Raul, and Elizabeth
Saying hello– five minutes
Individual/team updates– ten minutes
Discuss agenda items submitted by team members– fifteen minutes
Pinpoint action steps– five minutes
The best team meeting agenda will be specific to your company and team, but the above templates can help act as a guideline to start with. Let's look at some additional tips to ensure your meeting agendas are as effective as possible.
Meetings go much more smoothly when everyone has a chance to prepare and knows what to expect during the meeting. This also gives your team the opportunity to suggest additional agenda items or ask any questions they might have before the meeting begins.
It's best to send your agenda to every participant at least an hour before the meeting starts, but the sooner, the better. In addition to helping the meeting flow more smoothly, sharing the agenda ahead of time can help everyone focus because they aren't wondering what will and won't be discussed.
Before you start your meeting, consider assigning a facilitator for each item on your agenda.
This way, everyone can participate in the meeting, but no one feels like they're getting put on the spot.
Remote meetings have become the norm in businesses across the world. Check out these remote meeting stats to help you shape your strategy when it comes to holding virtual meetings.
You probably find that additional materials are useful during your meeting. When you send these out ahead of time (preferably attached to the meeting agenda you're sharing well in advance), your whole team can take a look before the meeting starts.
This helps keep things moving so no one is taking time to look over resources during the meeting and also makes sure that everyone is on the same page.
One of the great things about having a meeting agenda is that you can also use it to track any actionable items and take notes in one consolidated place.
If any team members have questions about anything that occurred during the meeting, they can easily find the information they need.
Agenda items can be categorized in a number of different ways, but one popular method is by distinguishing discussion topics, informational topics, and actionable items.
By breaking down each item in this way, your team can easily understand what they need to be putting most of their attention towards and what is taking priority.
On top of clarifying the purpose of each item, you can order the items by their importance. This way, you can start with the most urgent issues and ensure that they are covered during the meeting. If time runs out before you get to all of the items, the remaining points can likely be discussed asynchronously.
Speaking of the benefits of asynchronous communication, you might find that reducing your number of meetings and communicating in other ways positively impacts your team's morale, engagement, and productivity. While some meetings are absolutely essential, it's also important to understand that it can be incredibly fatiguing for remote employees to spend countless hours in back-to-back video meetings.
Putting a specific number of minutes to each item can be incredibly useful for everyone to stay focused while also giving everyone a little peace of mind knowing that the meeting won't drone on endlessly.
While it's good to assign times for every item, it's better to lean on the side of giving too much time for every topic. If the meeting runs short, you probably won't hear too many people whining about it. However, if you're unrealistic or overly optimistic about how much time it's going to take to deal with the issues at hand, you could end up not getting to all of the important points or having the meeting run way over the allotted time.
When estimating how long you will be discussing each item, you'll want to add a few more minutes as a buffer. This will account for transition time between topics and ensure that everything of importance gets the time it deserves.
Having a good flow is key to successful meetings. Switching between completely unrelated topics can be jarring and forces you to build in more transition time and buffer room. When you're building your agenda, take the time to batch similar items together in an order that makes sense.
When you categorize your items in this way, it can help structure the meeting while also giving it the most natural flow possible. You'll find that meetings are much more efficient when items are grouped together in this manner.
Team meetings are essential to a successful remote team, but that doesn't mean they don't get a bit tiresome after a while. If you're looking to add a little pizazz to your next meeting, we have just the thing for you.
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