What You Must Have on Your Team Meeting Agenda
03 August 2020
Think of the worst team meeting that you’ve attended. Likely, participants were unprepared and conversation digressed, and time was wasted: there was basically no outcome. So, it is important to prepare an effective team meeting agenda beforehand.
An effective team meeting agenda will ensure that participants are aware of the purpose of the meeting and what to expect, which allows them to prepare well. In the meeting itself, time can be allocated to topics, then concluded.
In the best team meetings staff and management teams are aligned, and unitedly working towards achieving the company’s goals. They should create an open forum for conversation and timely resolution, so a positive outcome is achieved for all participants.
Today’s agenda: discussion of what a team meeting agenda should be, the benefits of a strong team meeting agenda, what they include, and how to create one for your next meeting.
Learn below more about this topic in this article created by our team at TMS.
So, what is a team meeting agenda?
An agenda for a staff meeting summarises what the participants are hoping to achieve during their meeting. The benefits of an efficiently designed template include:
- Allowing attendees prior notice of key discussion points.
- Setting clear expectations of what needs to happen before and during a meeting.
- Keeps participants and conversations focused.
- Sets the pace of the meeting, and ensures time is allocated effectively.
These points apply to both casual discussions within a small team, as well as large and formal conferences. However regularly the team meets, an agenda will help make a more positive experience for all participants.
It is crucial that the team meeting agenda is distributed to all participants at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, allowing the group adequate time for preparation. If possible, distribute the agenda several days in advance. If you desire a response from team members, you could invite additional discussion within the allotted time.
If meetings occur routinely, set a pattern of putting time aside as part of the workday to prepare an agenda and send it out to the group. This will allow the attendees to schedule in preparation time, and easily access the information they need. It can be beneficial to design a template for familiarity and structure. The agendas can also be used as a way of monitoring the progress of a project or topic.
Where should I start?
Prepare welcoming remarks, then, if the team members are familiar with one another, ask everybody to share something they are proud of achieving that week. If the group members are unfamiliar with other members, ask that they share a fact about themselves or at least introduce themselves and their role. This breaks the ice and gives people the chance to build rapport. They may learn something about a colleague that they will associate positively with the meeting.
A team meeting should not feel rushed or cramped. It is tempting to design a template for a meeting that only allows room for the leader to discuss their desired points. However, a meeting should have lee-way for open discussion within its structure, to encourage participants to voice their ideas and opinions and not feel rushed. If a conversation is cut short due to time constraints, it can be frustrating and discourage future participation, which could block creativity.
The team meeting agenda should propose a process for addressing each item on the agenda. The leader of the meeting should conclude the discussion with the majority in agreement with the decision.
Consider putting together visual cues for the meetings, such as a PowerPoint Presentation, which allows you to present data for participants to view and avoid lengthy spoken explanations. Presenting information in different formats such as tables, graphs or infographics creates a flow of information, making the meeting more engaging and easy to follow. These materials can be sent out following the meeting as part of the minutes or printed for the meeting itself. You may wish to include collaborative exercises, which can start a conversation and add energy to the meeting to avoid fatigue.
What should I include on my team meeting agenda?
There are three key things to include on your agenda. The first is information items, e.g. shared updates to the group, whether they are about a topic or a project.
The second is action items, which you expect the participants to review during the meeting. Perhaps these are focused on performance progress against a time limit.
Thirdly, you should include discussion topics, on which the group is expected to provide feedback.
It can be difficult and costly to schedule a group of people. It is important that every participant knows that their attendance has been worth their time and effort. This is particularly vital if external stakeholders are involved. Topics of discussion should affect everybody involved.
Team meetings gather people to focus on what goals they wish to accomplish. They can be a place to discuss and resolve challenges, to get excited about opportunities, and to make decisions on the future. The atmosphere should remain optimistic where possible. Whether the meeting is about a challenge or a celebration, communication should be collected and confident.
If a meeting needs to be lengthy, breaks should be scheduled. Allocate breaks at least every 90 minutes, and consider regular, short breaks for comfort.
And finally on the agenda…
The team meeting may be an ideal time to share any important company announcements or industry trends. Allocating time for these on your agenda will allow participants to contribute their updates. This could include internal social events or drives. These updates may be easily disregarded as unimportant in an email, whereas coming directly from a colleague in a meeting, they are likely to be received more positively.
Finally, ensure that a recap completes the meeting. Here, you should restate the required action items that are expected from individuals with clear timeframes. You should also ask for the participants’ final points, and confirm if anybody requires more information or further discussion. If required, book in a second meeting to ensure that the topic is resolved.
Then get to work on another meeting agenda!
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