A catch-up meeting is between two or more people when the people involved haven’t interacted in a while.
Catch-up meetings are a bit different than your typical meeting because they focus on the individual. But just because you’re not necessarily addressing pressing items in this meeting doesn’t mean the stakes aren’t just as high.
When run well, a catch-up meeting is a tool for rooting out the causes of poor team communication and improving employee engagement.
A meeting of this importance requires a toolkit, so I created this post, complete with an agenda template and guidance from expert team-builders.
The following is a catch-up meeting agenda template to guide the creation of your agenda. Use it as is or tweak it based on your situation.
In this section, we’ll go through best practices for navigating this agenda step-by-step.
At the start of your catch-up, operations expert Keith McEvoy recommends that you “Unearth or address any worries, concerns, or fears that [meeting participants] have about their role.”
This means going beyond a cursory, “How are you?”
The goal here is to figure out what your colleagues have been experiencing at work and in their personal lives. Without doing so, technology team leader Roger Nesbitt says, you’ll “frequently miss the root problems.”
Unproductive friction within teams rarely comes out of nowhere. So whenever you catch up with your colleagues, make relationships a prominent part of your discussion.
The idea here is to collect information without judging, so you can address specific types of unproductive friction. Alternatively, you may find that you can help each other make existing friction more productive.
You can review goals in more detail in a manager’s weekly or monthly one-on-one, but it’s also a useful topic for catch-up meetings. In the catch-up meeting, provide an update on progress towards (or away from) short or long-term goals.
If progress is blocked or slowed, it’s a good idea to remind yourself and your colleague why these goals are essential.
Before wrapping up your catch-up meeting, solicit feedback from your colleagues.
A simple way to do this, as McEvoy suggests, is to ask: “How can I support you better?”
If you’re a manager, this question can reveal insightful feedback that you haven’t heard before. And if you’re on the same level as your colleague, it shows that you care and want to help. And it may lead to new, creative ways in which you and your teammate can help each other.
The final item on your catch-up meeting agenda is the wrap-up and discussion.
Wrapping the meeting up should be fairly straightforward: log your action items and schedule the next meeting. But make sure you don’t blow by the open discussion time. Leave at least ten minutes for this so your colleagues can bring up anything that’s on their mind.
If you don’t regularly hold catch-up meetings, there’s no time like today to get started. Here are a few final things to keep in mind:
And of course, don’t forget to enjoy your catch-up meetings. There are few better opportunities to share thoughts, solve problems, and support your colleagues.
Such a personal meeting may seem stressful, but a one-on-one with a manager doesn't have to be.
One-on-one meetings may be common, but without some care, they’re not always effective.