Remote communication

How to Write an Effective Team Meeting Agenda

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

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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 are more likely to have an unfocused meeting and miss essential items.

For managers, a team meeting agenda is a simple document you can use to keep your direct reports focused on business priorities. For employees, a team meeting agenda can also give you a forum to share updates, raise questions and get help. Your team meeting agenda's length, detail, and format will change over time depending on your goals and objectives.

How to draft a team meeting agenda?

Before you draft a team meeting agenda, ask yourself some questions about your situation.

What are your team's top goals?

The business world is full of distractions and opportunities. Use your team meeting agenda to focus everybody's attention on your top priorities.

Has your team recently expanded?

When new people join your team, a well-organized team meeting allows new employees to learn about your department.

Do you hear about problems early?

Giving team members the chance to raise potential challenges at a team meeting means anticipating problems in advance.

Does the team struggle with communication?

While not a complete solution, a clear team meeting agenda can boost team cohesion. Each person will have the opportunity to share ideas, give praise and identify problems.

Review your goals and objectives

Highlighting team goals and objectives on your agenda template is a great way to jump-start the meeting. For example, let’s assume you have a 60-minute team meeting and plan to cover several topics. By putting your objectives and goals at the start, everybody on the team will know where they stand.

A sample meeting agenda for a sales team might cover the department's sales quota goal each week. In addition, you might take a few minutes to cover activities that contribute to success in your department, like the number of qualified leads generated per week.

Share updates

There is a danger you must avoid in your team meeting agenda: one-way communication. Some managers view the team meeting as their forum to give direction to the staff. Management guidance is essential, but it is not the only factor.

When you create an agenda for a meeting, give employees the chance to provide updates. If you only have 10 minutes for updates, keep fairness in mind. Some team members might speak at length, which means that other employees have no chance to share comments. Therefore, give guidelines on sharing updates, such as limiting comments or asking team members to respect time limits. The updates section of the team meeting is also a great time to give praise and recognize team members for their hard work. Spend a few minutes highlighting projects that have been successful in recent days.

Brainstorm ideas

A basic staff meetings agenda template does not always make room for brainstorming. That said, brainstorming can be a great way to boost employee engagement in online meetings. Add "brainstorm ideas" to your team meeting agenda in the following situations:

  • Get back on track with team goals. Savvy managers know the value of measuring progress on teams on a monthly or quarterly basis. If the team is falling behind on goals over and over again, brainstorming to find new techniques to make progress makes sense.
  • Encourage employees to grow. As a manager, your employees look to you for professional growth opportunities. Organizing a few brainstorm sessions each year is a simple way to make it easier for employees to stretch their problem-solving capabilities.

Clarify expectations and responsibilities

You might not see "discuss expectations and responsibilities" on a simple meeting agenda, but it certainly matters. It is usually not necessary to cover these topics every time your team meets.

Whether it’s a new year or a new quarter, your team will always have new goals to work on. Discuss these openly with your team to set expectations from the beginning.

You’ll also want to discuss any upcoming organizational changes. Team members may get concerned when the company makes significant changes (e.g., reorganizing departments or changing executives). Taking a few minutes to set clear expectations in your team meeting agenda is helpful. If you add remote employees to your team, learn how to onboard remote employees with video so they get up to speed quickly.

Finally, this is a good time to mention any upcoming events or offsites. Keep your team members in the loop with a calendar of events and update it regularly.


Bring up obstacles and find solutions

Have you ever seen "proactively solve problems" on a sample meeting agenda online? Unfortunately, the answer is probably not. That's too bad because a team meeting agenda can be an excellent forum to bring up substantial problems and find solutions.

There are two ways to cover problem-solving in a team meeting agenda. First, you might add an agenda item, "what's on your mind?" to give staff a chance to raise problems. In a few minutes, employees can share a few quick thoughts. For simple issues, managers might offer quick solutions.

For complex problem solving, a different approach makes sense. You might organize a monthly or quarterly team meeting entirely dedicated to problem-solving. Dedicating a full-hour-long team meeting agenda to problem-solving makes sense if you have significant problems like low customer satisfaction scores.

Tip: As a manager, it is essential to be positive and supportive when team members bring up problems. If employees feel worried about being yelled at when they mention problems, nothing will be discussed until a problem explodes!

Meeting agenda examples

If you have a meeting agenda coming up in the next hour, you might not have much time to plan your team meeting agenda. In those cases, use the following meeting agenda examples to get started quickly.

Sample meeting agenda

Use the following sample meeting agenda is a good starting point for routine discussion.

  • Management Update. Start the meeting with an update from the manager. This part of the meeting agenda can cover human resources matters, updates on revenue, and related matters.
  • Round Table Team Updates. Give each team member a few minutes to share an update.
  • Problems and Obstacles. Provide an opportunity for people to ask for support so that deadlines are not missed.
  • Deadline Reminders. Take a few minutes to remind team members about upcoming deadlines, vacation days, and critical projects.

The above sample meeting agenda is a good fit for meeting with employees. However, if you notice that your staff aren't engaging during your virtual meeting, don't despair! Use these seven ways to make your online meetings more engaging.

Project meeting agenda

Project managers and project team members often meet weekly or daily to keep things running smoothly. For this example, let's assume you are running a daily project meeting. This daily meeting is intended to be short and focused on project-specific matters.

Project Meeting Agenda

  • Project Manager Update. The project manager can open the meeting by providing a short update. For instance, the project manager may remind staff that a key external consultant will only be available for two more days.
  • Project Team Member Updates. In a few minutes, ask each project team member to update the work they have completed and what they plan to do next. The project manager needs to pay close attention to these updates. If some tasks are taking longer than forecast, the project management plan may need to be updated.
  • Problems and Obstacles. Give everyone on the project an opportunity to ask for help! Without this item on your agenda, minor problems may grow into significant problems.

Project managers – take note! If a project team member raises a complex problem, always follow up after the main meeting.

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Retrospective meeting agenda

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.

Retrospective meeting agenda

  • Start the meeting. Welcome attendees to the meeting and set expectations. A retrospective is not about changing history or assigning blame. It is 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. In this stage, 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. In this part of the meeting, choose the potential solutions that are feasible to execute.
  • End the meeting with action steps. Give each solution to a specific person to implement, gather information on or develop further.

Executive meeting agenda

An executive meeting agenda is both similar and different from a regular staff meeting. On one level, executives need to ask questions, request support, and discuss progress on goals. On the other level, executives also have to think beyond day-to-day execution. That's why your executive meeting agenda should also include time for strategic matters.

Use the following executive meeting agenda ideas to create your agenda.

  • CEO Update. Open the meeting with comments from the CEO or President.
  • Financial Update. Executives need to know the business's financial status, especially cash flow, so make sure you cover this point.
  • Department Update. Invite each department head to provide a short update on their department's activities (e.g., marketing update from the chief marketing officer and a sales update from the head of sales).
  • Strategy. Set aside time to discuss the company's evolving strategy and opportunities. For example, discuss the implications of pursuing a potential acquisition.
  • Human Resources. This part of the agenda covers people and staffing matters. For example, executives may provide an update on essential recruitment efforts.

Tip: Are you presenting an important update to your updates? Use these 6 keys to creating a compelling PowerPoint presentation.

Final thoughts

Running a well-organized team meeting starts with creating a team meeting agenda. When you run a meeting with a team meeting agenda, you are likely to forget essential topics. At the same time, remember that a team meeting agenda is not carved in stone. If there is a crisis or a significant change to your team, take some time to discuss that development. Your team meeting agenda is best seen as a living document that changes as your organization's strategy, goals and staff evolve.

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