Remote communication

How to Write an Effective Team Meeting Agenda

Published on October 14, 2021 • Updated on December 7, 2022 • About 12 min. read

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It’s pretty common for teams to forget about meeting agendas as soon as everyone is used to each other’s dynamic. If nobody follows it anyway, is there even any point having an agenda?

Traditionally, a team meeting agenda is a list of topics, action items, and planned activities. But it isn’t just helpful for reminding you of discussion points. A good agenda helps guarantee that meetings are timely, relevant, and helpful - and can even be used to invite team collaboration.

To help you create an agenda that works, we’ve got advice, tips, and tricks from Océane Carée, Web Product Manager and team meeting agenda expert at Livestorm. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to write your own internal meeting agendas and boost your team’s productivity.

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What are the benefits of having a meeting agenda?

“I think the agenda is the most important part of a meeting,” shared Océane Carrée, Web Product Manager at Livestorm. **“You can avoid going off in all directions and ending the meeting without answering the questions in the room.” ** Like Océane says, a good agenda can help you:

  • Focus the conversation to achieve a certain goal
  • Make everyone feel included
  • Ensure everyone is prepared and briefed on the meeting topic
  • Align the team towards the same goals
  • Get rid of ineffective meetings
  • Improve team productivity
  • Follow up on relevant projects and action steps
  • Ask for help and clarify tasks
  • Boost team collaboration and cohesion
  • Give praise and identify problems

What to include in your team meeting agenda

Woman taking notes on a notebook in a productive meeting

In your team meeting agenda, you need to include everything that’ll happen during the meeting and estimate the duration of each item. Agendas can vary in content and structure but may include the following points:

  1. Team goals and objectives
  2. Project updates and announcements
  3. Discuss obstacles and brainstorm ideas
  4. Team feedback
  5. Expectations and responsibilities

1. Team goals and objectives

Highlighting team goals and objectives on your agenda will jump-start any virtual meeting.
It’s a good opportunity to remind everyone what the company and team priorities are. For example, let’s assume you have a 60-minute sales team meeting and plan to cover several topics, you can start by reviewing the sales quota goal or the number of qualified leads generated per week.

2. Project updates and announcements

Mention the different active projects and share any changes in status from the previous meeting. To avoid one-sided meetings, give your team a chance to provide important project updates. You can also use this time to introduce new team members and celebrate team wins.

If you only have 10 minutes, keep fairness in mind and give guidelines on sharing updates, such as limiting comments or respecting time limits.

3. Discuss obstacles and brainstorm ideas

Team meetings usually end up with some unstructured time where team members ask questions and solve problems. Include it in the agenda so you can keep to time and move conversations to other forums if necessary.

When your team brainstorms ideas, you can use tools to keep track of the conversations and make the discussion more visual and interactive. “The other day I led a workshop with Livestorm,” says Océane. “I used a Miro board and we all added virtual post-its to the event room. I also used the timer feature built into the event room to fill in the blanks when everyone was writing their post-its.”

If you’re using Livestorm to host virtual meetings, you can also use the raise-hand functionality to prevent interruptions and create polls to vote for ideas. “With Livestorm you can really do a lot of things and make a virtual event very interactive and therefore more captivating for the participants,” Océane added.

4. Team feedback

As a manager, it’s essential to be positive and supportive when team members bring up problems. If employees feel worried about sharing feedback, nothing will be discussed until a problem explodes.

For wider team meetings, you can foster a culture of open, respectful communication by encouraging your team to feedback on processes and strategies. Your team will feel more heard and you may get some surprisingly good ideas.

One-to-one meetings should also create space for employees to give and receive feedback with their managers, which can be used to boost everyone’s performance.

6. Expectations and responsibilities

The final agenda point of every meeting should be to define the next steps. Clearly defining who is responsible for every action raised in the meeting will ensure productivity and drive progress.

Depending on the type of meeting the action points can be a short or extensive list, in any case, make sure to:

  • Make them clear and actionable
  • Assign the responsibility to a particular individual
  • Add a clear deadline
  • Provide your team with the tools to achieve them
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Team meeting agenda examples help you prepare

If you’re looking for inspiration to write your next meeting agenda, here are a few easy-to-follow examples.

One-on-one meetings

One-to-one meetings are conversations that happen between an employee and their line manager. These are usually less structured and more conversational. Here’s an example used by one of our noise reduction integration partners, [Krisp}(https://livestorm.co/integrations/krisp):

  • Personal check-in (5 minutes): use this space to ask your direct report how they’re feeling personally and emotionally.
  • Discuss project status (10 minutes): take some time to discuss the status of the different projects your direct report is working on. Ask if there are any blockers or anything they need your help with. Review what’s going well and what’s not.
  • Career growth touchpoint (10 minutes): 1:1s won’t always have a career conversation. However, discussing growth opportunities gives your reports a structured space to give and receive feedback to identify areas of growth.
  • Miscellaneous (5 minutes): use this time to talk about any other business, like vacation days, budget approvals, hiring updates, or a simple movie recommendation.

Team brainstorming

Hosting a brainstorming session without an agenda can quickly become unstructured and chaotic as everyone will start sharing ideas. Here’s a brainstorming agenda example from Hypercontext:

  • Objectives: start the meeting by explaining the objectives of the brainstorming session. If you think discussion can lead to other topics, state that it’s not the goal of the meeting, e.g., “this meeting is to brainstorm themes for the department off site. We’ll discuss location, activities, and budget next week.”
  • Ground rules & housekeeping: share the meeting rules for everyone to be able to speak. Encourage everyone to participate but define whether or not they’d need to raise their hand or just unmute themselves. Use this time to assign a note-taker and timekeeper.
  • Activity: if you have the time, you can prepare an activity to get people to start thinking of ideas. A good example of an activity is to ask the ultimate question—If you had unlimited time, budget, and resources, what would you do to solve X issue?
  • Round robin: this is when you give everyone in the room a chance to share their ideas. This should take the majority of the meeting and everyone should have limited time.
  • Idea voting: leave the brainstorming session with a deliverable or a consolidated idea by having everyone vote at the end. You can filter the ideas you consider best and get them to vote anonymously.
  • Next steps: list all the pending tasks, assign responsibilities, and set deadlines. Anyone who needs to take action after the meeting should have a clear understanding of the requirements by the end of the meeting.
Brainstorm meeting agenda example from Hypercontext

Retrospective meeting

At the end of a major project, take some time to celebrate your success as a team. Within a day or two of completing the project, schedule a retrospective meeting. This type of post-project meeting is an excellent way to draw lessons from the project experience. We follow this structure at Livestorm:

  • Introduction: welcome attendees and set expectations. A retrospective is not about changing history or assigning blame. It’s focused on gaining insight to improve future performance.
  • Gather comments: use a virtual whiteboard to list out a few questions like "what went well on the project?" and "what are we not doing well?" For example, you might celebrate that the team hit its deadlines.
  • Discuss solutions: focus the team meeting on potential solutions. You might not have a complete solution in every case, but incremental progress is still worth pursuing.
  • Select solutions: choose the potential solutions that are feasible to execute.
  • Action items: give each solution to a specific person to implement, gather information, or develop further.

Remote meeting (weekly team meeting)

Use this space to get your department to connect, communicate updates, and share best practices. This type of meeting is especially important when you have a remote team as it’s possible that people are connecting to their direct peers, but probably not with the rest of the company. Follow this agenda example:

  • Ice breaker: in fully remote teams, ice breakers and structured (but not mandatory) chit-chat is what get people to connect to one another. You should never skip this in a remote team meeting.
  • Share individual and group wins: use this to celebrate others who embrace the company’s culture or achieve great results. Allow everyone to add wins to the list.
  • Project updates and initiatives: give an overview of ongoing projects, updates from the previous meeting, and future activities.
  • Review metrics: your entire team should be aware of the company and departmental KPIs and how their work can help achieve them.
  • Discussion points: encourage your team members to add items to this list and go one by one. Invite the owner of each point to participate and explain their case.
  • Wrap up and action items: sum up the conversation and define the next steps. Ask the note-taker to create tasks or reminders for each respective team member.

You can use the same example for daily stand-up meetings.

All-hands meeting

An all-hands meeting brings all your company together. The agenda should get everyone up to date with company initiatives and financial situations. Your all-hands meeting should include time for strategic matters and company-wide updates. Use the following example for inspiration:

  • Opening segment: play music, share the company’s new commercial, or compile pics from the team to use as background while people join. Give two to five minutes as you wait for attendees to join. Then, share the meeting agenda.
  • CEO update: kick off the meeting with comments from the CEO or president.
  • Financial update: share the business's financial status and show the KPIs that are relevant to your audience.
  • Department update: invite each department head to provide a short update on their department's activities (e.g., a marketing update from the chief marketing officer and a sales update from the head of sales).
  • Strategy: discuss the company's evolving strategy and opportunities. For example, discuss the implications of pursuing a potential acquisition.
  • Questions: in many companies, employees rarely get the chance to interact with executives. Open the floor for everyone to ask them questions.

Tips for the most effective team meeting agenda planning

An effective team meeting agenda leads to productive and time-efficient conversations. It also ensures that everyone who wants to speak their mind has the room to do it. Here are some tips to achieve that:

1. Be clear about the purpose of the meeting

You can include a one-line description of the meeting goal for attendees to see as soon as they get the invite, e.g. “All-hands meeting to review monthly department achievements, future action steps, and the company’s financial situation.” That way, you can use your team meeting agenda to focus everybody's attention on your top priorities. It's good practice to start each meeting by reminding everyone of its purpose too.

2. Set a meeting time limit (and be strict about it)

When done right, meetings can be very productive, but can easily stop being effective when you:

  • Frequently go past the time limit
  • Ignore the meeting agenda
  • Monopolize the conversation

So, if you want your team to see meetings as a productive way to connect with team members, brainstorm ideas, and feel energized later, you need to respect the schedule. If not, they might stop attending, work on other tasks at the same time, or end up being late to their next meeting.

3. Include an ice breaker

Usually, when you start a meeting, your brain needs some time to forget about the thing you were doing before and focus on the current conversation. Ice breakers allow your team members to relax, have fun, and be present in the meeting.

It could be as simple as asking your staff for restaurants, books, or TV show recommendations, or as complex as planning a trivia based on people’s interests. You can use Livestorm, one of the best virtual meeting platforms, to come up with games or questions that can be played using features:

Live polls for quick trivia

  • Chat tab for sharing recommendations
  • Breakout rooms for theme-focused chit chats
  • Miro whiteboard integration for playing games like Pictionary
Chat room for real-time meeting engagement

4. Share resources ahead of time

When you set a meeting agenda, you can identify agenda points that require participants to do any kind of preparation and attach it to the invite. Sharing the agenda and relevant resources in advance will boost productivity during the meeting (because everyone will have a chance to do their homework!)

Meanwhile, if you’re using Livestorm, you can share additional resources via the Handouts plugin during the meeting without switching apps.

Docs and file sharing with Handouts app

5. Make the agenda editable

If you have a recurring meeting with your team, use an open agenda so everyone can add their talking points. You can either give access to meeting agenda templates or create a process for attendees to share their agenda points ahead of time.

Set a recurring task in a project management tool, like ClickUp, where everyone can add agenda items. Then, the meeting moderator can prioritize each topic and aim to cover them all.

6. Think of ways to promote interactivity and team participation

“For me, the most important aspect is to capture people's attention," shared Océane Carée. “This is possible when the meeting is properly prepared and the participants are paying attention to you.”

If you don’t keep everyone engaged, meetings are a waste of time. When writing your agenda, plan interactive elements like a quick poll or opportunities for team members to work in small groups in breakout rooms.

It’s even more important to foster collaboration for hybrid and remote teams. Follow virtual meeting best practices and make the most of engagement features like emoji reactions, live polling, Q&A, and chat. Always circle back to the meeting objective to ensure conversations are aligned with it.

Should you always follow a team meeting agenda?

If you want to get rid of unproductive meetings and boost team engagement in video calls or in-person gatherings, you should always follow a team meeting agenda. Here are some best practices:

  1. Define the purpose of your meeting
  2. Set a meeting time limit
  3. Include an ice breaker
  4. Ensure everyone is prepared for the session
  5. Allow others to add agenda points
  6. Promote interactivity and engagement

The platform you use can play a huge role in promoting team interactions and engagement. If you’re using Livestorm to host your internal meetings, look out for opportunities to use these functionalities:

  • Interactive virtual whiteboard
  • Polls and Q&As
  • Document handouts
  • Breakout rooms

Frequently asked questions about team meeting agendas

What is a team meeting agenda?

A team meeting agenda is a brief written document that explains your department's current topics and objectives. Without an agenda for a meeting, you’re more likely to have an unfocused meeting and miss essential items. Your team meeting agenda's length, detail, and format will change over time depending on your goals and objectives.

What topics should be discussed in team meetings?

The topics that should be discussed in team meetings depend on the purpose of the call. However, you should always include:

  • An opening segment. This can be a team-building ice breaker, an overview of the agenda, or a question. Use this to explain the purpose of the meeting.
  • Review past meeting updates. Share what was discussed in the previous meeting and if there are any relevant announcements based on the conversation.
  • Go by the agenda points one by one. In team meetings, your staff usually adds conversation topics to the agenda. Take the time to review and discuss all of them.
  • Wrap up the meeting and set the next steps. Recap the most important findings on each discussion topic and assign the next steps if there are any.

How do you create a team agenda?

To create a team agenda, you should:

  1. Define the meeting purpose
  2. Come up with a platform and template to outline the meeting sections and topics (you can use the calendar invite, your project management platform, or a dedicated team meeting agenda app)
  3. Ask participants to collaborate and add discussion topics
  4. Assign a time estimate to each section
  5. Assign a note taker
  6. Leave room for defining next steps
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