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Design Meeting Templates

Templates for designers and creative teams to run better meetings
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Great designers run great meetings

Design meetings are among the more unique types of meetings in any business, requiring more brainstorming and critique than meetings run by other teams. They’re often highly collaborative, with real concepts and prototypes taking center stage. But even if you know what project is going to be discussed, having an agenda for the meeting helps keep the meeting on track and moving forward.

Below is a selection of templates for the most common types of design-focused meetings. For more meeting agendas of all kinds, visit our whole library which includes 80+ agenda template examples. 👇

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Brainstorming Session

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Preparation

Attendees

  • Invite stakeholders that are representatives from each discipline that is relevant (design, product, engineering, etc)
  • Assign a facilitator that is neutral to act as the scribe and decision-maker

Space 

  • Choose a spot that the team doesn’t regularly use for meetings. Be sure to have a big blank wall where you can place post-it notes from your brainstorming session

Time

  • Consider one hour for a micro-session, three to four hours for a medium-sized discussion, and a full day for a larger project

To bring

(if this is a virtual meeting try to use online tools to mimic the post-it notes)

  • Chart paper
  • Post-it notes
  • Dot stickers
  • Pens

Brainstorming Session

Break the Ice

Tell me a story about… What did you want to be when you were younger... Where do you want to go on holiday and why? etc. 

To make sure your session remains focused, you should begin with a question. What specifically are you trying to solve?

  1. How can we get people to perform X specific action?
  2. What would lead to increased conversion on X client’s site?
  3. How can we achieve X result?

Establish rules for the session

  • No idea is stupid
  • Postpone criticism. Feel free to ask clarification questions, but wait until the team decides whether to dig into that particular idea to provide any constructive feedback
  • Don't focus on the solution in the early stages of the brainstorm — just focus on the problem
  • You don’t need to raise your hand to speak, but make sure you’re not cutting anyone off
  • No phones or laptops

Brainstorm

A great way to encourage everyone to speak up and to mitigate groupthink is to begin with silence: a solo brainstorm where each individual writes down all of their ideas on post-it notes. This should only last a few minutes. Be sure to use a timer to make sure you stay on track. As people are jotting down their ideas, the facilitator can begin to collect those post-its and start grouping them into themes and concepts onto the whiteboard or blank wall.

Voting

After the initial brainstorming session, it’s often useful to have small, circular colored stickers so that people can vote on their preferred ideas. Consider giving each person a maximum of two stickers (or “votes”) per brainstorming sprint, and dole them out accordingly.

Summarize

The facilitator should paraphrase and synthesize as many of the points as possible to make sure everyone is following.

Prioritize

When the top ideas have been voted upon, it’s time to decide how to take action. Here are two questions the group should determine before leaving the room:

  • What is our deadline? This will vary greatly depending on the scope of the project. It could range from next week to the end of the year. Make sure you choose an ambitious, but achievable, timeframe
  • Who will own this? It could be that the Project Manager will take ownership of each of these line items, but cross-collaboration between teams means there could be multiple stakeholders for each item

Creative Brainstorming

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Overview & Objective

State your project’s audience and objective in a clear and focused way.


State the Ground Rules

Brainstorming is a place and time where anything goes. Rules:

  • All ideas are welcome. Negativity is not.
  • Build on ideas. Don't shoot them down.
  • Do not censor yourself. Just say it.
  • Encourage participation from everyone
  • No interruptions from outside.

First Half: Brainstorm

Start sharing ideas. Note them somewhere where everyone can see (whether that be a poster, whiteboard, or in your Hugo meeting notes in the highlighted area below). To keep your creative juices flowing you may also want to provide toys, coloring books, magazines, doodling pads etc.

Halftime: Refine

Stop and take a vote on each idea. Thumbs up or down. Toss the ideas that lack support.

Improve on the Best Ideas

Look at the best ideas from halftime. Ask if there are ways to improve them, or come up with ideas that are similar.

Brainstorm Round Two

Once you’ve covered each of the good ideas, generate more new ideas just as you did at the beginning of the session.

Brainstorm


Next Steps

  • @name Task by DUE-DATE

Design Critique Meeting Agenda

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Presenter: 

Project: 

Video Call Link: 

Design Prototype Link: 

--

Goal or Problem

Give a brief summary of the project goal or problem you are trying to solve with this design including relevant info on the audience and expected results.

Presentation

Present the design. Optionally, if you have more than one version, you may want to show all versions and explain your analysis of them.

Questions

The group will then discuss the design. Rather than making observations or judgments, try to mostly ask questions, such as:

  • “Did you consider using a visual to explain what’s going on instead of a paragraph of text?” 
  • “How come you decided to go with a segmented control instead of a preview of each section?” 
  • “Why does this pane slide in from the side instead of from the bottom?” 
  • “Have you seen App X? It does something similar and feels better/worse.”

Notes & Unanswered Questions

Note insights about the design here. Remember, you do not need to decide what to do with this information at this meeting. The main purpose is to get new thinking out into the open.


Action Items

  • @name Task by DUE-DATE

Design Session

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Preparation

Note any documents that need to be reviewed or activities that need to be completed before the workshop.


--

Problems

Focus on the customer’s actual experiences. Prioritize them in order of severity and choose one or two to focus on. Resist the desire to skip ahead to “fixing” until you have organized the problems you are going to solve.

Solutions Brainstorm

It’s time to figure out how to solve the problem, design the flow, or develop the plan.

Brainstorming tips:

  • The more ideas the better!
  • Don’t worry about how feasible an idea is just yet. Expensive ideas may lead to other ideas that fit your resources
  • Provide sketching materials. Encourage everyone to visualize the solution.
  • If the group is large, break into smaller, cross-disciplinary teams and then report ideas back to the group.

Size & Prioritize

List your potential solutions in the following format --> Solution | Impact | Effort

  • Rewrite all site copy | medium | medium
  • Leverage API to automate enrollment | medium | large

Do we need to...

  • Gather more evidence? (Can we understand the problem better?)
  • Explore alternate solutions? (We loved these solutions but they’re too big. Let’s find a quicker fix to fit our timeline.)
  • Research solution size in more detail? (We need more information to understand which solution actually requires less effort.)

Next Steps

  • @name Task by DUE-DATE

--

Parking Lot

Store topics and ideas that are out of scope or beyond reach for this workshop.


Design Workshop

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Preparation

Note any documents that need to be reviewed or activities that need to be completed before the workshop.

Problems

Focus on the customer’s experiences. Prioritize them in order of severity and choose one or two to focus on. Resist the desire to skip ahead to “fixing” until you have organized the problems you are going to solve.

Solutions Brainstorm

It’s time to figure out how to solve the problem, design the flow, or develop the plan.

Brainstorming tips:

  • The more ideas the better!
  • Don’t worry about how feasible an idea is just yet (Expensive ideas may lead to other ideas that fit your resources)
  • Provide sketching materials. Encourage everyone to visualize the solution
  • If the group is large, break into smaller, cross-disciplinary teams and then report ideas back to the group

Size & Prioritize

List your potential solutions in the following format --> Solution | Impact | Effort

  • Rewrite all site copy | medium | medium
  • Leverage API to automate enrollment | medium | large

Do we need to...

  • Gather more evidence? (Can we understand the problem better?)
  • Explore alternate solutions? (We loved these solutions but they’re too big. Let’s find a quicker fix to fit our timeline)
  • Research solution size in more detail? (We need more information to understand which solution requires less effort)

Next Steps

  • @name Task by DUE-DATE

Parking Lot

Store topics and ideas that are out of scope or beyond reach for this workshop.

Project Kick-Off Meeting

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Project Name:

Timeline:

Helpful Links:

What are the goals of this project?

  • Review or decide on project goals. 
  • Goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely)

Audience & Value Proposition

Quick reminder of who the target audience is for the project and what the core value proposition is

Major tasks and timeline

  • Make sure every part of the project has an owner and timeline

Decisions that need to be made

  • What decisions need to be made? (Name)
  • List topics for discussion/decision here, specifically noting what needs to be decided

Next Steps

  • @name Task by DUE-DATE

User or Usability Testing

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Project

Prototype Link: 

User Name: 

User Background: 

--

What is being tested?


What is being measured/evaluated?


--

Running the test

Intro

  • Give your users context (e.g. image you’re using this app in a real-world situation
  • Recordings are confidential and for internal purposes only
  • You’re not being tested. It’s the design.
  • Thank your users and remind them you’re asking for feedback because you’re eager to improve your user experience

Example questions to ask

  • I noticed a bit of hesitation there, what stopped you?
  • What do you think this button is going to do?
  • What’s most appealing about this product?
  • What’s the hardest part about using this product?
  • Was there anything surprising or unexpected about this product?
  • What could be done to improve this product?
  • What may be missing? What else would you like to see?
  • What do you like/dislike about the way it works?
  • How do you think this product is going to help you?
  • Would you use this product today?
  • Why do you think someone would use this product?

Results

Positive Highlights


Negative Feedback / Concerns


Other Feedback


Key Insights


Notes / Quotes for Marketing


Design

Agenda Template FAQs

How do you prepare for a customer meeting?

Whether your next customer meeting is your first or 15th with that client, you need an agenda. To build an agenda, you focus should be on answer these three questions:

  1. What is the current state of the customer’s progress toward their goals?
  2. What issues need to be solved to move the customer closer to their goals?
  3. How can these issues be solved?

How to specifically structure your agenda may vary based on your customer, but our library of 80+ meeting agenda examples should give you a good starting point.

How do you start a customer meeting?

As you get your meeting started, you want to grab everyone’s attention, set expectations, and then launch right into it!

  1. While small-talk is great for building rapport before a meeting, don’t let the chatter go on more than a couple of minutes into the official meeting time
  2. If there are participants who don’t know each other, introduce them (and yourself!)
  3. As you get the meeting started, reaffirm why you’re meeting, and what everyone will get out of it. Spending 20 seconds summarizing the agenda shows that you have and plan and you’re in control
How do you end a customer meeting?

As you wrap up your customer meeting, you should revisit any action items you’ve noted during the meeting and affirm that you’re on top of things. This is a good time to note who will be responsible for what, and when the customer can expect an update.
Then, end on a positive note, showing enthusiasm for your partnership and thanking your customer for their time.

How do you have an amazing first client meeting?

Relax and smile
You may be stressed in an attempt to get started on the right foot. Don’t let that impact your body language (even on video conferencing).
 
Offer something of value for free
In addition to any materials in your welcome package, set the stage for a strong relationship by making an offer. This could be a resource, like a research or an ebook, or it could be to set up a training or consultation. It could even be minor, like providing advice based on the customer and your experience with other customers like them. Whatever it is, find a way to show your client that you’re deeply invested in their success.

Listen more than you speak
You may have landed this client, but you still have a lot to learn about their expectations, goals, and priorities. Ask a lot of questions, and listen actively. Even if you think you already know the answers, being a good listener will help build rapport, and you never know—you may learn something incredibly valuable after all.

Be specific about what you offer and how you can help
A common pitfall in initial client meetings is to be overly general. Instead, now is the time to be specific. What exactly will you do together? Who, how much, how often, measured in what way?

Do you have a guide to running great customer meetings?

As a matter of fact, we do. This short, downloadable guide walks you through running a customer meeting that both strengthens customer relationships and improves company wide collaboration.

Get your free download:
The Art of the Customer Meeting.

How do you run a design meeting?

How to run your design meeting will depend a lot on what kind of design meeting it is. Is this a sync up between just a PM (or other product owner) and the designer? Is it a weekly meeting for the design team? A critique? Or is it a cross-functional meeting, with many stakeholders present?
 
Each of these types of meetings requires a slightly different approach. What is common between them, is a need to be upfront and clear about what the goals of the meeting are (and what they aren’t).

For example, here are some typical examples of design meetings:

  • Brainstorm approaches for an early design
  • Seek feedback on an in-progress design
  • Get buy-in on a nearly completed design
  • Plan, decide, and organize your team’s design process
Should non-designers be invited to a design meeting?

Successful design projects usually need involvement from other stakeholders, but too much meddling can throw a wrench in the design process. As a general rule (that can sometimes be broken), input from non-designers is the most helpful at the beginning and end of a design process.

Early in the project, in the research phase, non-designers can be incredibly helpful. They can clarify how a design will be used, describe customer needs, and reveal requirements that might not be obvious about how the design should be used. If designers have experimented with multiple approaches to a problem, it can be useful to share these sketches early on.

Once the design specifications are clear, however, it’s often a good idea to let designers and project people iterate through the problem in a small team with minimal distraction. It’s during this time that small details can become a distraction for non-designers.

When a design is nearly complete, it’s once again helpful to invite key stakeholders to make sure the design is successful, and get buy-in before more resources are invested in making the design come to life.

How do you have a good team meeting?

Consider what can be removed from your agenda… and your invite list
Possibly the most common complaint about team meetings is that they are a waste of time. So the first step toward having a good team meeting is asking yourself whether everything on your agenda needs to be part of the meeting, and whether everyone needs to be there. By keeping a tight agenda and a smaller group, you’re sending a signal that people’s time is important.

Share your agenda in advance
Speaking of agendas, be prepared. Share your agenda in advance, so that the rest of the team know what will be discussed. This way, they can prepare their thoughts, and the meeting will run smoothly. If you surprise people with topics, those parts of a meeting can take longer.

Let other people talk
Many leaders and executives make the mistake of thinking that if they are running a meeting, they need to talk the whole time. Instead of Presenting on a topic for 30 or 60 minutes, structure your meeting so that others participate and even take the spotlight. 

For a more in-depth structure to follow, check out Vital Meetings, the free guide to having shorter, fewer, and better meetings.

How do you make sure real decisions are made in executive meetings?

With executive time being so valuable, it’s important that exec meetings focus not on information sharing, but rather on discussion that leads to decision-making.

One strategy that works here, is to use action-oriented agendas. For example, instead of an agenda item called, “Priorities for next quarter” make a bold statement on your agenda: “Decide on top 3 priorities for next quarter.” This leaves no wiggle room for failing to meet the goal of the meeting.

If you’re a manager or leader, how much time should you spend in meetings?

If you take a look inside a manager’s calendar, it’s not uncommon to see 50-90% of their time blocked off in meetings. At first glance, this seems to make sense. If your primary function is leadership, should you spend the majority of your time with others? However, this kind of distribution often doesn’t leave enough time for strategic thinking and planning.

If you’re attending lots of meetings out of a need to stay in the loop, a better approach is to ask your team to take notes on important meetings, and share them with you (and other relevant stakeholders). A meeting management platform like Hugo can help, and many managers whose teams use Hugo report spending 20-50% less time in meetings because they can rely on skimming notes for less important meetings instead.

What is an HR meeting?

HR (human resources) is responsible for supporting recruitment, hiring, training, and managing. HR professionals meet with job applicants and current workers to support these goals in a variety of meetings, ranging from job interviews, to trainings, to one-on-one coaching sessions.

What should you do if HR wants to meet with you about your behavior?

If your behavior at work is in the process of being addressed, you may need to meet with HR. This can be a stressful situation, but ultimately, if you handle yourself professionally, you should be able to come out of the meeting in good shape (and keep your job).

Here are a key tips to keep in mind:

  • Request examples of behaviors that need to be addressed
  • Write down any specific requests
  • Ask for clarification to avoid misunderstandings
  • Listen and repeat back what you hear to show you are listening
  • Take ownership of your mistakes
  • Ask for help if you need it
  • Show your commitment by setting clear next steps
  • Stay positive (and avoid being defensive)
  • Say thank you. Be gracious for the opportunity to improve
How do I tell my boss about a bad co-worker?
  • Schedule a meeting so that you know you have private time set aside to have the conversation
  • Focus on the behavior, not the person. Avoid personal attacks and instead focus on what they are doing
  • Show up prepared. Put some thought into what you want to say. Taking notes about the behavior in question may help
  • Stick to the facts, and not what you think someone is thinking/feeling
  • Keep a cool head. Even if the issue is serious, try to avoid arguing, shouting, and cursing
  • Request help in finding a solution
How should you handle yourself in an HR meeting?
  • Focus on the facts of the situation
  • Be calm, even when under pressure
  • Consider other people’s points of view
  • Be aware of negative body language
  • Practice good listening. (Don’t cut anyone off)
  • Make sure your effort matches the importance of the issue. (Don’t go crazy over something small)
Who should be at a marketing meeting?

Invite necessary decision-makers, but don’t cast too wide of a net. Since marketing often involves or impacts a lot of departments, it can be tempting to invite a lot of people to some marketing meetings. Instead, try to pair it down. If someone is being invited to the meeting only as an FYI, send them meeting notes instead.

How do you set an agenda for a marketing meeting?

The common structure for many marketing meetings is the following:

What are common types of marketing meetings?
How do you make team meetings more engaging?

The best meetings involve the whole room, not just one or two presenters. Here are a few ways to encourage more engagement:

  • Ask others to contribute to the agenda. Having a shared agenda helps everyone in the room feel responsible for the meeting’s success.
  • Make small talk as people are settling in. When you show up early, get the conversation flowing instead of burying your head in your laptop or your phone.
  • Don’t do all the talking. Invite fellow participants to lead discussions and provide updates.
  • Give updates before the meeting. Provide materials to review before the meeting so that you can focus on the discussion and decision-making when everyone is together.
  • Do a deep dive into one topic. Focus on a single challenge to tap into the collective intelligence of everyone attending.
  • Keep a sense of humor. Cracking the occasional joke will help meeting participants feel open to expressing their own ideas.
What agenda topics are most common in team meetings?

Team meetings are among the most common and most important meetings in any workplace. Agendas for these types of meetings range wildly, but all topics usually fall into one of these categories:

  • Introductions. If they don’t already, make sure everyone in the room knows who each other are.
  • Updates. Updates are extremely common in team meetings, but often they are also the hog a lot of time without providing a lot of value. Summarize updates on the agenda when possible and keep them brief.
  • Discussions.
  • Decisions. If a decision needs to be reached during the meeting, note it explicitly on the agenda.
  • Next steps. While not a significant part of the agenda, it’s important to always agree on action items from a meeting and who owns them.
What are some fun and cool team meeting ideas?
  • Go around the table with an icebreaker. Get to know each other by having everyone answer the same question.
  • Change up the location. Get out of the conference room and into the break room, or on the lawn outside.
  • Start at a weird time. Pick something memorable like 1:23 pm.
  • Get some exercise. Switch things up during a long meeting by having everyone take a run around the block, do as many pushups they can do, or some other physical activity to get the blood pumping.
  • Pass out prizes. Have a pile or swag, or candy bars, or coffee gift cards up at the front of the room. Whenever someone makes a spectacular contribution, toss them a prize.
What are good questions to ask in a one-on-one?

Personal/rapport-building:

  • What worries you? What keeps you up at night?
  • What are you most excited about?
  • How’s life outside work?
  • What do you like to do on the weekends?
  • Do you feel like you’re making progress on your career goals?
  • What are your big dreams in life outside of work?

Career growth:

  • What skills would you like to develop?
  • Do you feel challenged in your role?
  • Is there any training or education we should be investing in for you?
  • How do you see your role evolving?
  • Do you feel like you’re making progress on your career goals?
  • Who in the company would you like to learn from?

Giving/receiving feedback:

  • Do you feel you’re getting enough feedback?
  • What’s an area where you would like help or coaching?
  • What’s an aspect of your job you’d like to improve?
  • How can I help you be more effective?
  • What is something I can do better?
  • What have past managers done that you’d like me to do as well?
Why have one-on-ones with your employees?

One-on-one meetings have many benefits:

  • Help employees build better relationships with their managers 
  • Provide opportunities for coaching and training
  • Encourage employees to feel valued at work
  • Discuss performance and areas of improvement
  • Find out what employees are (and are not) excited about
  • Learn how managers can better help employees
Who should set the agenda for a one-on-one meeting?

It’s good for the employee to feel ownership of their one-on-one because the meeting is primarily for their benefit. So, rather than having a manager set the agenda every time, the majority of the agenda should be driven by the employee. Of course, there should still be opportunities for managers to lead the conversation, especially when it comes to topics like coaching and performance. Using a meeting notes app that allows for easy, collaborative agendas can help.

Should one-on-one be hyphenated?

Yes. The word one-on-one is always hyphenated, regardless of whether it is used as a noun, adjective, and adverb.

What are other ways to spell one-on-one?

Writing all three hyphenated words out as one-on-one can be tedious. For brevity in your calendar invites, try using: "1:1" or "Name <> Name."

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