If you're developing a new product, altering company policy, or even holding a weekly staff meeting, you may be sidetracked into different topics unless you use a good meeting agenda template to prepare your talking points.
A meeting template covers the topics of discussion as well as the goals of the meeting. It is written clearly and concisely so the team members can get on the same page and share information efficiently to reach a common goal.
This might sound overwhelming, but we're here to guide you step by step by creating a useful meeting agenda. So, let's start from the basics.
- What to include in the meeting agenda?
- How do you choose the items to put on your ample meeting agenda?
- Types of team meetings
- Meeting agenda templates
- Best practices for creating an effective employee meeting agenda
What to include in the meeting agenda?
Much more than just a couple of questions on a meeting agenda. A compelling meeting agenda also has listed:
- The meeting’s goals
- Each task’s purpose
- Amount of time spent on each topic, etc.
Sometimes, the agenda also clarifies who leads each discussion item (who will discuss that particular topic). Of course, the agenda also has the list of questions you want to address. Some agendas list the questions as short topics. But to clarify the agenda’s discussion points, it's best to list the items as questions.
How do you choose the items to put on your ample meeting agenda?
The purpose of the meeting agenda is to help you cover all of the important topics and make important decisions. However, meetings are usually limited with time and there can be so many things to go over.
Luckily, there are some universal tips to help you structure your agenda in a way that allows you to connect with people and get all the work done. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices.
List topics based on their priority
You should start your meeting with the most important topics. This way, you’ll have plenty of time for discussion and exchange of opinions. Ideally, you should set a specific time for each topic to ensure everything is covered. The best approach is to write down all items for discussion and decide the priorities. Sometimes, this will inspire you to schedule an additional meeting and make a separate meeting agenda.
Keep in mind that people’s attention drops towards the end of the meeting, so the last items on your sample meeting agenda may not get enough attention. If possible, try to put light topics at the end. It’s always good to leave some time for unplanned topics or in case you need an extra few minutes for discussion. This way, you won’t have to rush people and risk making wrong decisions.
Cover general questions and concerns
This is a great way to start or end with, so include it in your meeting agendas. For example, open it by greeting your employee and asking check in questions for meetings, such as:
- How are you feeling these days?
- What are your expectations for these meetings?
- Do you have any pressing concerns?
Use these questions in your team meeting agenda as a tool that helps you get closer to people. Your employee will appreciate your interest and feel welcome on the team. As a result, they’ll be more motivated to participate in the conversation and engage with you.
Also, give space in your meeting agenda to your employee. They should influence the conversation as well. Let them ask questions and speak about what's on their mind. Since team meetings with a manager don't happen every day, they probably have a lot to share with the rest of the group.
Share feedback and discuss potential challenges
This is the focal point of your meeting and the most complex one. It is a challenge to keep your approach professional yet friendly and go through the challenging topics of the meeting agenda.
A rule of thumb here is to review your feedback about the team, individual employees (in case of a 1:1 meeting) or the project itself. This can set the tone for the rest of the conversation. It will also help you bring up important points that must be discussed further.
To provide valuable feedback for your employees, check if it ticks the following:
Give honest feedback. No matter how hard it may be, it is important to be open and honest with people. This doesn’t mean being harsh but simply calling things by their name.
Be timely. This is the best way to reinforce good behavior. The sooner you introduce challenging topics for discussion, the easier it will be to resolve them. If you wait for too long, you risk worsening the situation.
Be specific. Whatever feedback you’re giving, make sure you name specific instances that people can refer to. Vague feedback may only confuse employees and demotivate them from participating further.
An excellent meeting agenda should provide ample space for employees to express their thoughts on your identified problems. They might describe their role on the team and what they believe should be changed. Because the feedback you receive is unique, it sheds a different light on the hurdles you face.
Take advantage of this chance to find out how you are perceived by your team. It's a great way to do so.
If done well, the result of the conversation will get you and your employee on the same page. And you'll have a list of things that can be improved with rough steps that will get you there.
Discuss employee motivation (including ways to improve it)
This is more relevant for 1:1 or performance/evaluation meetings. It’s impossible to talk about these topics during your weekly staff meetings. However, managers often forget the importance of regularly discussing employee motivation, not only when there’s a performance issue.
First, keep track of the reasons behind the high motivation of your people and search for ways to keep it elevated. Of course, one of the biggest motivators for your employees is a raise, but other factors positively influence motivation. But non-financial things matter as well, such as:
- Satisfaction with work-life balance
- Personal and professional development plans
- Praise and rewards of employee achievements
- Feeling of acceptance inside a company
Well-being inside a company is valued by employees more than you think since only 17% of them would stay in the company they don’t recognize as being committed to it.
Types of team meetings
Before we proceed with specific meeting agenda templates, we list the most common meeting types. Managers usually choose the best setting depending on the team's goal.
When the team or a whole company needs to take any action, they usually need to gather and discuss important decisions. Typically, decision-making meetings consist of up to 8 meeting participants that follow a structured meeting agenda. The goal is to cover all the important aspects influencing the final decision. This type of meeting encourages interaction and knowledge sharing which is essential for making an informed judgment. A good example of a decision-making meeting is a board meeting.
When a company faces an issue, managers often turn to problem-solving meetings. They help teams find the optimal solution for challenges they encounter. Some of the examples are high employee turnover, productivity drop, etc.
That's why an important section of these meetings goes to identifying the root of the problem that appeared and creating an action plan to solve it. At problem-solving meetings, the goal is usually an important decision that can be crucial for the company's overall strategy.
Team meetings are used to connect the employees that work together and increase cohesion within a team; Usually, through fun games that require cooperation, leaders connect stronger with the rest of the team.
Close teams have increased morale and productivity compared to the ones that collaborate distantly. This is why you'll notice that successful companies regularly hold this type of meeting, even though there is no tangible or immediate benefit for them.
One of the characteristics of successful businesses is adaptability to change, and new ideas are the driving force behind it. Brainstorming meetings and project kick-off meetings are where new ideas are generated, where people introduce new solutions for problems and identify blind spots of the organization that can be covered.
For example, they are used when a new product is being developed or a company enters a new market.
Quarterly planning meetings
This is a strategic type of meeting that is held every three months. They help companies (and teams) with the implementation of their strategic goals, both short and long-term.
They are also used to review a team's performance and reflect on the activities that happened in the previous period.
This is the best option for monitoring task progress. It keeps employees updated about aligning their activities with the company goals. With them, they can quickly share project updates, regularly provide feedback and easily put new challenges, ideas, and achievements into the meeting agenda.
If it isn't intuitive - this is a meeting scheduled between two people. Mostly, it is between a team leader and an employee discussing a specific topic. Of all the meeting formats, one-on-one meetings are the most comprehensive.
Why are they so important?
Because managers and their subordinates have dedicated time to speak about current projects, plans, performance in the previous period, and the potential obstacles they face.
In other types of meetings, there is a danger of skipping important issues due to a lack of focus or ad-hoc issues that might appear. Besides that, more introverted employees don't feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with large groups of people. This leaves the group without important insights from the part of the team.
Besides that, it is one of the best ways for employees and managers to connect on a more personal level. Since they are regularly held, they are a great opportunity to speak about growth opportunities and interests and exchange ideas.
This is a great way to keep employee engagement high and satisfy them with their place in the organization.
Meeting agenda templates
Regardless of how easy planning a certain meeting seems, it's easy to get sidetracked without a good meeting agenda. You should follow a certain flow, depending on the type of meeting. The type also affects their frequency, so some meetings have to be held each week, while for some, a couple of times in a year is more than enough to reap their benefits.
For all of them, there is a sample meeting agenda template with check in questions for meetings. They can help you streamline the meetings you lead.
The type of one-on-one meeting you hold directs the meeting template that should be used and the meeting agenda, so we'll guide you through the most common ones.
Team dynamics meeting
Regularly checking how your team functions and fits into the organization will help you identify your team's good practices. You'll also be able to spot and eliminate the ones hindering your team timely. For a successful team dynamics meeting, these are the topics you should cover:
- Who from the team do you enjoy working the most with? Why?
- Who would pick to be in your team if you were to form one?
- Is there someone you find hard to work with? What is the reason behind that?
- What do you think are the factors that make someone fit well into our team?
- Do you see space for improving team collaboration? How would you do that?
- Are there team members that you'd like to work with more closely?
- Is there something you would change about our team?
- Why do you think people from our team are leaving the company? Is there something we could do differently?
These are the meetings with a higher frequency where your team speaks about the things they are working on. They are great for getting feedback regarding a particular task or a project, making corrections, providing support to your team, and removing barriers coming along the way.
- To keep it on track, use the following questions:
- What did you accomplish in the last week?
- What is your plan for the week ahead?
- Can you please share the progress update on the last project?
- Are you facing any obstacles in your work lately?
- What can we do to improve processes regarding this project?
- Is there a project you would like to do next?
Giving and receiving feedback meeting
Giving feedback regularly is important for the engagement of your employee. It is also helpful for you since it can help you improve your leadership skills. Honest feedback helps you build trust with your team and helps them open up about the issues they might be having with you.
- These questions can help you guide the talk:
- What feedback do you have for me?
- How can I support you more at work?
- Is there anything you need my help with?
- Do you have examples of things you don't think I handled well?
- Are you satisfied with the work you do?
- These are the things you could have handled better:
- There are some things I think you could improve on:
- You've progressed well in ___ during the latest project you worked on.
Long-term goals meeting
This type of meeting can be held quarterly or bi-yearly, depending on your business nature. As a manager, it is important for you to know what drives your employees forward and how they see themselves in your company. You'll learn about their overall professional goals, which will help you align company goals with them. The results will follow.
Guide your employees through this meeting by asking questions like:
- What's your dream job?
- What are your career aspirations for the next three years?
- Do you see yourself in the company in the next five years?
- Who is your role model in terms of professional development?
- What do you want your next project to be?
- What part of your job aligns most with your goals?
- Is your job helping you get skills that you want to achieve long-term?
- Is there a training program you'd like to pursue?
- What can we, as a company, do to help you achieve your goals?
Company strategy meeting
This is a valuable type of meeting that often gets neglected. Why is it important? Because as a manager, you often have information that your team doesn't. Sharing it with them regularly is a great way to communicate new initiatives, strategic goals, and how your employees fit into the company's big picture.
- To make them effective, here is a meeting agenda template you can follow:
- Can we speak about the company's priorities for this year and how it affects our team?
- Do you see how your new project fits into the company's goals?
- Do you have any questions about our company's current or upcoming projects?
- Are you interested in learning how our team can contribute to the company's strategic goals?
- Is there a part of our company you would like to learn more about?
- Let's talk about the impact your work has on our business.
Keep notes of your team meeting
Whatever team meeting form you hold, keep meeting notes so you can memorize the most important points. It will be a useful reference for future meetings you'll hold.
Since holding meetings regularly is important, you can set reminders for them. This will reduce the chances of getting carried away by future projects and daily errands.
Best practices for creating an effective employee meeting agenda
Many managers, as well as employees, believe that team meetings are a complete waste of time. Mostly, this is due to the bad experiences with ineffective ones they had in the past. However, team meetings don't have to be useless.
If structured well, they will bring great value to everyone, from the individual members to the company. To make meetings productive and effective.
Actionable tips for a good meeting agenda
Share the meeting agenda with the employee. This is how you'll spend less time on the introduction and be able to get straight to the point of the meeting.
Set clear guidelines for the meeting
It is important to set and include the expectations from the attendees. Having procedure-related guidelines is also a valuable addition to every meeting agenda template.
Concretize the outcomes of the meeting
To avoid getting sidetracked, set a clear goal and keep it in mind throughout the meeting. This will help you eliminate topics that are not useful.
Address relevant topics
Use one of the appropriate meeting agenda templates to start. That's how you'll address the main meeting objectives. Besides that, it will help you dive deeper into the specific issues you want to speak about.
Make a timeline of potential future one-on-ones
This is how you'll keep continuity regarding the topics you are discussing.
Nurture two-way communication
While keeping the meeting on track is important, listening to what your employee has to say is as important as that. Their thoughts and insights will add higher value to your meetings.
Use meetings as a tool to strengthen the relationship with an employee
By sharing and asking them to share, your employees will feel like valuable members of the team. Their engagement will increase as a result.
Send a summary
Taking meeting notes should be a part of your meeting agenda as well. It is important to capture what you discussed and inform everyone who should know about it. Include meeting agenda items, meeting objectives, decisions you've made, and action points that were created.
One-on-one meetings are an excellent tool that will make you connected to your team and help improve communication inside it. They are especially beneficial for improving the relationship between managers and employees, keeping valuable individuals in the company, and creating strong teams as a consequence.
With them, you have a precious opportunity to learn more about your employees - the ways they think, challenges they are facing, things that make them happy in the company, etc. In addition, these meetings give you space to evaluate their performance and provide guidance on how they can improve.
How to create a meeting agenda template?
To create an effective meeting agenda template, you must follow particular guidelines. Start with setting clear objectives for the meeting. As the next step, concretize the outcomes of the meeting. Then, try to address all the relevant topics and set a timeline of potential future one-on-ones. Finally, always send a summary to meeting participants based on the meeting notes.
How to set up a template for the meeting agenda?
When setting a template for the meeting agenda, start with listing topics on the meeting based on their priority. Then, cover general questions and concerns in detail. Don’t forget to share feedback and discuss potential challenges within the agenda’s scope. Finally, receive feedback and always bet on discussing employee motivation.
What are 5 things you would include in a meeting agenda?
The five main things to include in a meeting agenda are the following: the main topics of the discussion, meeting objectives, support documentation, a discussion period, and a final review with a summary included. Ensure the meeting agenda is deconstructed into constituents and meeting participants clearly understand each element.