Meetings about employee performance can be among the most stressful and challenging types of meetings for any professional. Nobody wants their co-workers to fail, but, at times, expectations are not being met and corrective action needs to be taken. There is one way to make these types of challenging meetings less stressful — having a clear and thoughtful agenda. You can use your agenda to drive the meeting forward in a professional and clear manner.
Below are templates for getting the most from these difficult conversations, such as a performance review, a performance improvement plan (PIP), and, if things don’t go well after that, an exit interview. Also, for more meeting agendas of all kinds, visit our whole library which includes 80+ agenda template examples 👇
What is your motivation for leaving?
What is the organization doing well? How could the organization be better?
How was the working environment (i.e. workplace, job hours, etc.)? How could it be improved?
What were your three favorite parts about working here? What three things would you change?
What do you know now that you wish you were told in the onboarding process?
What advice would you give to someone starting in your position?
Describe the performance deficiencies.
Review the predefined improvement plan. (Optional: Solicit feedback)
What resources (if any) are needed to put this plan into action? Identify resources.
How will we evaluate progress on the PIP? Define timelines and procedures.
Explain potential outcomes and consequences of accomplishing (or failing to achieve) the goals set out by the PIP.
Time for clarifying questions. Ensure everything is clear.
What’s going well; what isn’t? Answer these questions from both the employee’s and the organization’s perspective.
Is the employee meeting defined criteria for performance/fulfilling requirements for the job?
How is this employee contributing to the company’s core values in their attitude and work? How could they improve?
How could the employee improve their performance and/or behavior? Offer solutions as well as soliciting solutions from the individual.
How will we track progress? Do we need to check in again? If so, when?
A skip one-on-one meeting is a meeting with managers or senior leaders in the company with those who are in junior positions. It is important not to have the meeting with a direct report in order to get honest and accurate feedback. To be truly effective you must create an environment in which the employee feels comfortable. Ideally, the manager should have a relationship with the individual being interviewed. Remember these sessions are about listening and learning from different perspectives in the organizations.
Managers should come armed with questions about the business based on data they’ve reviewed in advance — both qualitative and quantitative.
Here are some questions you might want to ask in your one-on-ones:
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:
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.
As you get your meeting started, you want to grab everyone’s attention, set expectations, and then launch right into it!
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.
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?
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 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:
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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:
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.
The best meetings involve the whole room, not just one or two presenters. Here are a few ways to encourage more engagement:
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:
One-on-one meetings have many benefits:
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.
Yes. The word one-on-one is always hyphenated, regardless of whether it is used as a noun, adjective, and adverb.
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."