How often should you meet with your team?
Your ideal meeting cadence depends on a few factors.
Scheduling recurring meetings at a useful frequency requires careful consideration. Regular, meaningful meetings are important, but so is not bogging down productivity with too many meetings or leaving team members hanging with too few. For this reason, finding the right meeting cadence is an important part of maintaining healthy team dynamics.
A lot of teams settle into the rhythm of weekly team meetings, but that doesn't mean you have to.
If you’re not sure how often you should be meeting, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll cover meeting cadence suggestions, the types of recurring meetings that fit for each cadence, and how to figure out which ones are right for you and your team.
What is a meeting cadence?
Meeting cadence refers to the frequency of team meetings, or how often recurring meetings are held. Some common meeting cadences are daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly.
Meeting Cadence Definition:
Your meeting cadence is how often you have recurring meetings (daily, weekly, monthly, etc...)
When someone says they’d like to meet on a weekly cadence, for example, you might wonder, “What is a weekly cadence?” It simply means they want to meet once a week. A bi-weekly cadence means they want to meet every other week, a monthly cadence means they want to meet once a month, and so on.
Team meeting cadence suggestions
The cadence of your recurring meetings will depend at least in part on the purpose of the meeting. Below are some possible staff meeting cadences, common applications for each cadence, and a few links to sample meeting agendas:
Quarterly meetings are great for sharing a high-level view of what the team is working on and/or towards. Some common uses for a quarterly meeting cadence are:
- Business review meeting
- Planning meeting
- All-hands meeting
- Board meeting
- Committee meeting
- Customer success meeting
Monthly recurring meetings tend to dig a little deeper than quarterly meetings. As a result, this meeting cadence is great for management-level check-ins:
A weekly meeting cadence is relatively high-frequency. In these meetings, attendees can really dig into the nitty-gritty of weekly progress and projections. You’ll find them used at every level of an organization for different purposes:
Because daily recurring meetings can be disruptive to day-to-day productivity, they should be reserved for special circumstances or operational styles. For example, a rapidly scaling startup may need daily check-ins to keep everyone informed of developing situations. Here are a couple of meeting types that may be utilized for a daily meeting cadence:
- Quick stand-up meeting
- Agile team meeting
Find the right meeting rhythm
The right meeting cadence, of course, doesn’t just depend on the purpose of a meeting. Every team, and every organization, is unique. This means that the right meeting rhythm will depend in part on the needs of leaders, team members, and the organization as a whole.
What does that mean for the people setting up recurring meetings?
It means there might be a little bit of trial and error. It’s okay to set a meeting cadence and agree to revisit the cadence after a few meetings to see if it’s still working. A new team member, for example, may need daily check-ins their first week, then weekly one-on-ones for a few months, then bi-weekly one-on-ones once they’ve settled into their role.
Make sure you don’t waste time or pad meetings to finish in the scheduled time. There is nothing worse than a 30-minute meeting that “pads out” to 60 because everyone knows an hour has been scheduled.
—Michael Ridgway, VP of Platform Engineering at Culture Amp
Similarly, leaders can have different preferences surrounding how their teams spend their time.
A leader who is more hands-off and trusts their team to communicate as needed may prefer bi-monthly or even quarterly meetings with their team. A leader who prefers to be more “in the know” might opt for monthly or even bi-weekly team meetings.
Choosing the right meeting rhythm means taking all of these factors into consideration. Think about your preferences, your organization’s needs, and ask your team what they think makes sense. The more inputs you have, the better you can home in on the ideal meeting cadence.
How long should each meeting be?
The ideal length of a recurring meeting is often related to how frequently you have that meeting. As a rule of thumb, the closer each meeting is to the next, the shorter it should be.
Usually where teams go wrong is with weekly meetings being an hour or longer. If you're meeting for that long, usually you can push the meeting cadence out to two weeks, or agree to shorten all meetings from 1 hour to 30 min by sharing all updates in advance.
Here are some examples of ideal meeting length based on cadence:
- Daily meeting cadence -> 10-15 minute "stand up"
- Weekly meetings -> 30 minute sync
- Bi-weekly cadence -> 1 hour deep dive
- Quarterly strategy meetings -> 90 minutes or longer working session
What meeting cadence is right for you?
Figuring out what meeting cadence is right for you and your team may sound complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Approach the task with an openness to suggestion and a willingness to change the cadence later, and you’ll quickly realize how a cadence works for you, not the other way around.