Meetings keep a team aligned on goals and facilitate communication and collaboration, but poorly scheduled or ineffectively run meetings can sink a team’s morale. Meetings should aid productivity, not hinder it. If team members feel their time is being wasted, they’ll become disengaged. Team meeting agendas ensure every participant knows why they have been asked to meet, what will be discussed, and what will be resolved by the end of the meeting.
Your team shouldn’t have to guess at a meeting’s relevance—they should know exactly why their workday is being interrupted. In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of team meetings, why you need team meeting agendas, and five steps for boosting team morale with effective team meetings.
A team meeting is an opportunity to get the entire team together in the same room or on the same Zoom. The meeting helps teams to align on priorities and get on the same page, brainstorm, deliver and receive feedback, address potential challenges or impediments to work, and build trust through transparency and open communication.
While meetings are vital to ensuring the lines of communication stay open between team members, managers and employees, and business owners and managers, it’s undeniable that meetings have a bad rep. Have you ever struggled to understand a meeting’s relevance, or have you ever left a meeting only to realize you have no idea what action items you are accountable for?
Who hasn’t, right? It’s easy for organizations to fall into the habit of scheduling too many meetings, which can lead to meeting fatigue and disengagement. But that’s not to say that all meetings are irrelevant. Team meetings are essential to communication, collaboration, and alignment, but when they’re poorly scheduled or run ineffectively, team morale and productivity suffer.
There are different reasons why you need to gather your team together. Do you need to update the team about something, brainstorm, or make a decision as a group? Whatever the reason behind your meeting, it’s important to be upfront with your team about what kind of meeting it is so that the team knows exactly what to expect and what is expected of them.
You may meet for a specific purpose or a combination of purposes. For example, you might have a team meeting that’s both action and discussion-based if you want to both work out a problem as a team and then begin putting your solutions into action.
Information-based meetings gather team members together to be informed about something. An all hands meeting is typically used to deliver high volumes of information to the entire staff at once. You might have an information-based meeting if you need to make a company announcement, share information about a new client, or introduce updated software.
Discussion-based meetings bring a team together to talk through issues, ideate, or make a plan. These meetings facilitate discord, and it’s important to encourage everyone on the team to get involved in the discussion. You might have a discussion-based meeting if your team is trying to work through a complex problem, make decisions about company policy, or gather and discuss group feedback, such as a retrospective meeting.
Sometimes meetings are called to achieve a specific purpose or reach a goal by the end of the meeting. These action-based meetings aim to accomplish a specific task or set of tasks as a team before the meeting is complete. It’s important to estimate the appropriate amount of time needed, and teams should understand upfront (ideally, before the meeting begins) what is expected of them.
Not all meetings involve the entire team. Read our Manager's Guide to One on One Meetings, which includes why one on ones are so important, how to create a space of trust, and best practices for managers to follow before, during, and after the meeting.
A meeting agenda outlines the nature of the meeting, its goals, and what will be discussed.
Everyone attending the meeting should be involved in creating the meeting agenda. This allows every participant to take ownership over the meeting, ensuring multiple perspectives are heard from, and everyone feels included. It also provides clarity and transparency about what the meeting will entail so that no one walks in blind.
Send the meeting agenda to all participants in advance so that they have the time to ask questions or add a talking point or action item of their own. It’s better to align on goals and sort through any questions or concerns before the meeting begins so that the meeting has a clear focus from the outset and can run efficiently. You don’t want to spend half of the allotted meeting time agreeing on what exactly should be discussed—this lack of direction zaps a team’s morale and energy.
A meeting agenda gives the meeting structure so that all participants can get on the same page about what will be expected of them. No one wants to walk into a meeting only to find out the meeting hinges on their presentation, and no one wants to leave a meeting without action items. Without expectations and action items, meetings can feel like a waste of time—time that could have been better spent working!
Each meeting should have a clearly defined purpose, and every participant should know that purpose. Knowing why you’re meeting also makes it easier to determine who needs to be there and who is superfluous to the meeting. By understanding exactly what to expect from the meeting and who exactly should be in attendance, everyone can get down to business immediately.
Creating a clearly defined structure for the meeting with an agenda means the length of the meeting is easier to determine. Estimate realistic time blocks for your meetings, as meetings that go over time take away from the attendees’ productivity. Your employees have a lot to do; if their workday is taken up by overlong meetings that hold little relevance for them, morale is going to diminish. After all, no one wants to spend their days talking about work and their nights completing it.
Part of knowing what to expect when you walk into a meeting is knowing how long you’re going to be there. Save the surprises for office birthday parties. 🎂
Meetings are excellent opportunities for your team members to build rapport with one another, especially if your team is remote. Leave space for icebreakers in your meeting agenda. It’s an important part of the process that shouldn’t be skipped just to get to business. Icebreakers start meetings on a positive note and remind all of the participants that the profile pics behind Slack messages are real people!
Trust and camaraderie don’t just happen, especially if interactions with teammates are usually limited to Slack convos about work. Teams built on trust and friendship are happier and more productive. When employees trust each other and enjoy working together, they’re able to find more fulfillment in their work, and team communication and collaboration are something to look forward to rather than be intimidated by.
Make sure you switch things up and keep meetings interesting. Completing the same icebreaker exercise, no matter how fun it is the first time, will get boring after a while. Get creative, and if your team is willing, have different people run the icebreaker to add variety and help the team get more comfortable speaking in front of people. This will build up your team’s leadership skills and ensure no two meetings are alike.
➡️ Check out this List of Over 200 Icebreaker Questions.
Be intentional about team building to keep team members engaged with the work and with one another. Carve out time in your meeting agendas for a little humor, warmth, and humanity.
💪 Want to get serious about team building? Check out our Virtual Team Building Activities Round-Up.
Don’t allow yourself to grow complacent about your meetings. Build time at the end of each meeting dedicated to feedback. What about the meeting went well? Did everyone feel it was relevant to them? What could be improved for next time? Continuous feedback will ensure you regularly analyze your processes and don’t fall into the habit of repeating the same poor practices over and over again.
Just like making time for fun introductions and icebreakers, you need to leave time for meeting wrap-up. Ensure there aren’t any lingering questions that could prevent action items from being completed and that everyone is clear on what’s expected of them after the meeting concludes.
💡 Looking for more on team morale? Here are 5 additional steps for boosting remote team morale.
Find your process and continually fine-tune it. Having a clear and team-visible meeting agenda is incredibly important when holding team meetings. You don’t need to start from scratch. Utilize weekly team meeting agenda templates and customize them to meet your team’s specific needs.
With WorkPatterns, team meeting agendas are simple and collaborative. Our platform is ideal for managing both synchronous and asynchronous communication. We offer built-in templates to get you and your team working efficiently and effectively while keeping track of everything you need to run productive and engaging meetings.
Utilize WorkPatterns to manage meeting agendas with clear schedules, goals, action items, and follow-up. And that’s not all. WorkPatterns provides One on Ones, Team Collaboration, Feedback, Recognition & Goals—all in one place.