A catch-up meeting is between two or more people when the people involved haven’t interacted in a while.
The goal of this meeting is to strengthen individual, and by extension, team relationships.
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.
Catch-Up Meeting Agenda Template
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.
- Emotional state. Discuss how the time between this meeting and your last one has been. What has excited, frustrated, engaged, or bored you (and the other meeting participants)?
- Relationships. Explore the most recent state of each other’s team relationships. What is your team struggling with? Where are they finding success?
- Goals. Review your short and long-term goals. How are you progressing towards them? What short-term goals or interim milestones on long-term goals have you reached?
- Feedback & Support. Check in to see how/if you can support the other meeting participants. How can we work together more effectively? How can I support you better?
- Open Discussion & Wrap Up. Open discussion. Then, list and assign action items and schedule the next meeting.
Best Practices for Navigating the Catch-Up Meeting
In this section, we’ll go through best practices for navigating this agenda step-by-step.
Check in on the team's emotional state
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.”
Foster positive relationships
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.
Review progress on goals
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.
Discuss feedback & support opportunities
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.
Wrap up the catch-up with open discussion
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.
Incorporating Your Catch-Up Meetings
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:
- Meeting Cadence: For your meeting cadence, consider starting with one catch-up meeting at least once every two weeks, and don’t miss them. Reschedule if needed.
- Location: Ideally, you’ll meet face to face, but video calls can work too. Just make sure the location is private.
- Preparation: Always create and share an agenda ahead of time and take notes.
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.