Human Resources

What is a Stand-Up Meeting & How to Run One Effectively

Published on October 13, 2022 • Updated on November 17, 2022 • About 9 min. read

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What is a Stand-Up Meeting & How to Run One Effectively

Whether it’s Zoom fatigue or just plain old fatigue, sitting in meetings all day takes its toll. And regardless of your intent to energize and inspire employees with company-wide or team-building meetings, scheduling a ton of lengthy meetings might just have the opposite effect.

So, how do you maintain momentum and still have a forum to boost employee engagement and communication?

One solution is to host a stand-up meeting. But what is a stand up meeting? And how does adding another meeting to your plate help motivate and uplift your staff?

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What stand-up meetings are
  • How to run a stand-up meeting
  • Stand-up meeting best practices
  • Fun stand-up meeting ideas

Use it to guide your own meeting strategy so you can increase employee enthusiasm and participation across the board.

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What is a stand-up meeting?

A stand-up meeting is a daily or weekly check-in meeting held standing up. It involves sharing quick updates on important tasks (rather than top-down announcements) and is an effective alternative to drawn-out round-table meetings. By staying on your feet, you’re making sure it’s a productive yet snappy experience.

Stand-up meetings first became popular with Agile software development teams because they help save valuable employee time and energy. Now, stand-ups are expanding into other fields such as marketing, product development, and sales.

Employees gathering for a daily team stand-up meeting

How can you run a stand-up meeting in 6 easy steps?

Below, we’ll look at steps for running a successful stand-up meeting, like choosing between daily vs weekly stand-up meetings, making sure it’s accessible, planning questions in advance, taking notes, and following up.

Step one: Choose between daily vs weekly stand-up meetings

Based on the nuances of your specific internal communication strategy and project needs, you might opt for a daily stand-up meeting to check in with pressing team updates or tasks. Or, you might decide a weekly stand-up meeting better suits your team’s workflow cadence and requirements.

Here are some factors that might influence your decision:

  • Individual or team availability
  • Project or task deliverables
  • Workload

Remember: it’s important to ask your employees what their needs are, and make a collective decision that makes sense for your team and company.

Step two: Make sure the stand-up meeting format is accessible

Whether you’re hosting a stand-up meeting in-office, or catering to a remote team or remote work, it’s important to make sure your meeting is accessible to all employees.

Virtual meetings are the most widely accessible, but if the meeting is in-person or hybrid, you can still have the option to dial in or teleconference.

And despite its name, a stand-up meeting should accommodate those with physical limitations that might prevent them from standing. Encourage anyone who wants to stand up to do so, but make sure everyone is included regardless.

Here’s how:

  • Use a virtual meeting platform like Livestorm for easy, browser-based access to meetings
  • Use internal communication tools like Slack for quick, text-based check-ins that can happen async
  • Encourage everyone to voice their concerns or opinions, and make sure they feel heard
A virtual stand-up meeting using Livestorm’s video conferencing software

Step three: Send a meeting invitation to the relevant people

To optimize company time and prevent meeting fatigue, make sure you’re only sending meeting invites to people who need to be there. It’s important to consider which attendees would benefit and contribute the most, and stick to a core team of people.

If you’re using Livestorm to host your virtual meeting, you can schedule email reminders to alert participants in advance and integrate with popular scheduling apps like Calendly – to drive meeting attendance and engagement.

A Livestorm email sequence for stand-up meeting reminders

Step four: Plan a few daily stand-up questions in advance

Your stand-up meeting should focus on asking your team a few questions about their current workload, progress, and blockers – and that’s it.

Here are a few questions you can ask your team:

  1. What will you do today?
  2. What have you accomplished since the last meeting?
  3. Is there anything getting in the way of doing your job?

Asking these questions gives you a quick overview of team morale, important deadlines, and opportunities for advancement. This way, you can keep your finger on the pulse of key improvements or sentiments.

Step five: Take stand-up notes during the meeting

Stand-up meetings are a great opportunity to take notes on your team’s progress or individual employee progress. Use your notes to inform employee performance reviews or team-based KPIs – and track achievement.

Taking notes will also make sure any action items discussed in the meeting aren’t forgotten, and help keep teammates who weren’t able to attend up to date.

Step six: Follow up to clarify next steps

After the meeting, it’s important to follow up on your discussion and any key action items and ongoing blockers by assigning relevant tasks or projects or sending out a quick meeting recap. There’s no point in having stand-up meetings if you let important team insights fall by the wayside.

By following up, you also get more control over your workflow and the ability to prevent bottlenecks. This keeps teams aligned, proactive, and working toward the same goal.

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What are stand-up meeting best practices for maximum productivity?

To make the most of your stand-up meetings, be sure to let everyone speak, be open and supportive, make the most of virtual stand-up features, keep it short, stick to your daily stand-up agenda, and always record your meetings. Here’s how:

Give everyone an equal opportunity to speak

To make sure everyone at your stand-up meeting has time to participate, you’ll need a meeting leader who’s responsible for asking everyone questions and maintaining a productive environment. Your meeting leader could be:

  • The project manager
  • Department head
  • Stakeholder

Or, you could rotate the meeting leaders’ responsibilities among your team for fresh perspectives and increased employee engagement. Asking your team members for tips or insights into how they lead will help them get invested in the process.

People speaking in a weekly stand-up meeting

Be open and supportive

Part of any professional meeting should be upholding a level of courtesy and kindness to your team members and beyond. For some, speaking in front of their team or department might be an overwhelming or scary experience. So, it’s important to be empathetic and supportive of their situation.

And dismissing people’s ideas or making them feel embarrassed for asking questions or providing input will stop them from contributing and ultimately, render the meeting useless.

Make the most of virtual stand-up features

If you’re meeting virtually, you’ll need features that keep attendees present and stimulated. And it’s especially important for disparate teams to connect through engaging apps and content that boost morale and encourage collaboration.

Video engagement platforms like Livestorm are packed with live engagement features to keep things moving. Keep an eye out for:

With Livestorm, you also get detailed analytics for attendance, participation, and interaction rates to stay on top of team contributions.

Using Livestorm’s Live Q&A feature during a virtual stand-up meeting

Keep to time (and keep it short)

Depending on the size of your team or stand-up, the amount of time it takes to hear from everyone and finish your meeting might vary. However, it should take no more than 15 minutes for the most effective use of time.

By keeping to time and making it short, you show employees that their time is valuable and spark interest in maximizing their participation.

Stick to the daily stand-up agenda

Your stand-up should follow the same daily (or weekly) team meeting agenda. It should cover the core questions (mentioned above) and shouldn’t contain exhaustive reports of each team member's tasks, but a light overview. It’s also important to not get distracted by in-the-moment problem-solving or casual chit-chat.

Unlike virtual town hall meetings or all-hands meetings, a daily stand-up meeting isn’t meant for sharing upper-level announcements, updates, or policies – or gathering in-depth feedback from teams or employees. And if your stand-up reveals topics, concerns, or questions that need more attention, hold a separate meeting to discuss them.

Always record your meetings

For virtual or hybrid stand-up meetings, it’s important to record your meetings for easy company access and to unify team members who were absent. This way, you have a daily diary of team tasks and progress, so you know what to improve (in your meetings and processes).

Since hosting stand-up meetings should be a quick and simple affair, having a reliable web conferencing solution that records your meetings could save you valuable time and stress. Platforms like Livestorm can help streamline your meetings with easy recording features and evergreen meeting replays – so you never have to think about storing or sourcing your meetings.

A team using a virtual stand-up tool like Livestorm to record their meeting

What are some fun stand-up meeting ideas?

In keeping with the high-energy, fast-paced nature of stand-up meetings, it’s a good idea to keep them fun by starting with a music video, joke, or icebreaker question, summarizing your week with emoji reactions, setting aside time to appreciate your colleagues, or using a new mechanism for deciding who speaks.

Start with a music video, joke, or icebreaker question

The way you start your stand-up meeting sets the tone for the rest of the meeting and possibly the work day. Consider starting it with a catchy or well-known music video, joke, or icebreaker.

By investing your time in creating a positive, entertaining meeting environment, you’ll build employee trust and confidence in their own participation – and maximize the impact of your stand-up.

Summarize your week with an emoji reaction

Regardless of whether your stand-up is daily or weekly, encourage employees to participate by summarizing or rating their day (or week) with an emoji reaction. Use Livestorm’s emoji reactions feature to take quick ‘temperature’ checks on tasks, sentiments, and morale. You’ll soon be aligned with your team and know which questions to ask in future meetings.

Set aside time for colleague appreciation

There’s nothing more engaging and motivating than being publically appreciated by your team lead or peers. Use your stand-ups to acknowledge employees’ hard work, results, and ability to overcome specific struggles.

By implementing a daily or weekly employee appreciation shout-out that spotlights your colleagues you can drive participation and spark joy.

Use a new mechanism for deciding who speaks

To help determine the order of who speaks and to motivate employees to speak up, consider turning it into an amusing game or challenge.

For in-person or hybrid events you could toss a foam ball to the next person who speaks, pass around a talking stick, or get the previous speaker to randomly nominate the next speaker. And for virtual events hosted on Livestorm, the fastest person to answer a poll could go next, or play an emoji guessing game and nominate the person who guesses right.

Livestorm live polls feature for a fun virtual team stand-up call

Stand-up in sync

A stand-up meeting is a great way to rally and align employees around daily tasks and challenges. But you need to leverage its upbeat tempo and make it more easily accessible and engaging than other meetings.

Get your team involved and combat meeting fatigue with targeted, snappy questions, team shout-outs, live polls, and games. And if you’re hosting a virtual or hybrid stand-up meeting with Livestorm, it’s all easy to do using the platform’s built-in features.

Frequently asked questions about stand-up meetings

What is the purpose of daily stand-up meetings?

The purpose of a daily stand-up meeting is to align your teammates around time-sensitive goals and tasks and provide a forum for quick check-ins and status updates. Daily stand-up meetings help fight meeting fatigue and boost productivity by helping employees tackle or take charge of their workflow and responsibilities, without sucking the time out of their day.

Why is it called a stand-up meeting?

Stand-up meetings are called stand-up meetings because, in essence, they require people to gather standing up. This way, the meetings are automatically shorter than sit-down meetings held in conference rooms and inspire people to take action and move forward with their day.

What is the difference between a meeting and a stand-up?

The difference between a meeting and a stand-up is that a meeting is any coming together of more than two people. Meetings exist in all shapes and sizes and different meetings have different standards and best practices. A stand-up is a type of meeting that’s shorter than other meetings (approx. 15 minutes) and is held standing up to promote speed and efficiency.

What is a stand-up meeting in Agile?

A stand-up meeting in Agile software development is an opportunity for team members to give progress updates and flag any blockers that are slowing down the development workflow. It gets its name because developers are encouraged to stand up during the meeting to keep it short.