Team meetings are one of the best opportunities to create alignment and visibility across an organization. How they are run can also be massively influential on company culture, enabling culture to be a key driver of success.
We surveyed professionals across many top organizations—including Shopify, Trello, Drift, Miro, Calendly, and Etsy—to figure out how high-performing teams run their meetings.
If organizations with smooth and effective team meetings are more likely to be efficient and productive in other areas too, the opposite is also true. When run poorly, these business meetings can be a big waste of time, and one that sets a dangerous tone for the organization overall. That’s why it is critical to have clear communication about the meeting's purpose, agenda, goals, and what outcomes are expected.
Having a great staff meeting begins before the meeting starts. A well-organized meeting has a solid meeting agenda. Because team meetings are usually recurring (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc...) you should invest in creating an agenda template that lists out common agenda topics. That way you can always be ready for your next meeting.
(Don't worry, we have a lot of agenda templates for you to copy or download as Google Docs, Word Docs (.docx) or use for your meetings in Hugo.)
A good team meeting template also leaves room to document action items within the meeting notes. If you want tasks from your meeting to get accomplished, make sure you note those action items!
Here we’ve compiled agenda templates for the most common types of team meetings. From quick stand-ups, to weekly planning meetings, brainstorming, and post-mortems, there are a lot of reasons for teams to meet together.
Below you can find a selection of sample agendas for all these common types of team meetings pulled for our free library of 80+ meeting agenda templates. (Or, scroll back up and download the whole bundle of team meeting templates.)
Quick opportunity for the team to build rapport and break the ice.
Each item should have a clear deliverable, date and person responsible. Which stakeholders will be affected and how will they be informed?
Add these meeting notes to your project management or meeting notes software and include in follow-up communications
(if this is a virtual meeting try to use online tools to mimic the post-it notes)
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?
Establish rules for the session
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.
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.
The facilitator should paraphrase and synthesize as many of the points as possible to make sure everyone is following.
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:
Note any documents that need to be reviewed or activities that need to be completed before the workshop.
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.
It’s time to figure out how to solve the problem, design the flow, or develop the plan.
List your potential solutions in the following format --> Solution | Impact | Effort
Store topics and ideas that are out of scope or beyond reach for this workshop.
Are all relevant resources and materials prepared for the new hire's first day? This includes employee onboarding paperwork, tools they will need access to, and their workstation. Share any resources the new hire should consult before starting.
Share important company information with the new hire. This includes company values, culture, special achievements, and roadmaps for main objectives.
Walk the newcomer through a typical week here. Share your insights into office life. Include information such as typical operating hours, where they can park, how they will access the building, and what the company dress code is.
Take the new employee on a tour around the office. Let them know where all the important and common areas (e.g., their workspace, bathroom, kitchen, etc.).
Review the new hire's role and responsibilities. Explain expectations, long-term goals, and how they fit into the company's vision. Note everything here to share with them later for easy reference.
Review all relevant paperwork like benefits packages. Share this information here so the employee can easily reference it.
Introduce the new employee to key stakeholders in their role. Assign them a mentor who can assist them in getting up to speed.
Share all tools and accounts relevant to the new employee's role. List them here for easy reference.
Is there any training material or required reading? List them here for easy reference. You can share this prior to the first day if appropriate.
Did the new hire raise any interesting questions or noteworthy topics during the employee onboarding process? Note them here.
Create a list of takeaways for both the new hire and your team to help get them acclimated.
What's next? Clarify the agenda for the next few weeks as well as the first project for the new employee. Note this information here to share and make actionable.
Should we schedule a follow-up meeting to check over paperwork and check in on progress?
Plan to review the onboarding process over the next 60 days. Regularly check in with the new employee for their opinion. Note opportunities to improve it and make plans to implement them.
A [meeting type] meeting of [organization name] was held on [date] at [location]. It began at [time] and was presided over by [chairperson’s name], with [secretary’s name] as secretary.
Members not in attendance
A motion to approve the minutes of the previous [date] meeting was made by [name] and seconded by [name].
What is the purpose of this meeting? Why was it scheduled? Be specific. List any objectives or main talking points.
Summarize all relevant discussion points here. List any opportunities, issues, or concerns identified.
What were the main insights? Were any key decisions made?
What needs to be done now? Who is responsible? Clarify next steps, who's completing them, and when they should be done by. Note this information here to share.
How will we keep in touch? Should we schedule another meeting?
Background about position and candidate.
What key responsibilities, requirements, and skills do you want to verify during this job interview?
What previous roles, achievements, or anecdotes make this job candidate qualified for this role?
What relevant degrees, diplomas, certifications, or training does the job applicant have?
How prepared was the applicant for the job interview? This is a great indicator of their interest level in the role.
Where does the job candidate see themselves in a few years? How does this role support their vision?
What did you think of the candidate's attitude towards the role? Is it conducive to succeeding in this position?
How were the candidate's written and verbal communication skills? Did they listen? What percentage of time did they speak vs listen?
From 1-5, rate the job candidate's interest in the company and role. Are they excited by the opportunity? Does it align with their career goals?
How would the candidate fit in with our culture? Are they someone our team would enjoy working with?
Include other general questions you'd like to ask as well as candidate responses here.
Do you recommend we proceed with this candidate?
Include details of the project here with a link to any additional specification documents. Make sure you note who owns each part of the workload if relevant. This should be filled out in advance, as it sets the context for the rest of the meeting that follows.
Start off by thinking critically about the feature or product, laying out possible outcomes for how people might engage with whatever you’re working on. For example, let’s say you are adding a checklist to your product to increase activation. One possible outcome is that users don’t engage with the checklist at all!
Next up it's time to brainstorm the reasons that the previous outcome might occur. Maybe the checklist blends in with the other UI elements? Maybe people see it, but just don't want any guidance. It's important to go broad and generate lots of ideas, especially the negative ones.
Last but not least, ponder how you would respond to that outcome. If the checklist doesn't stand out among the other elements, would you add more color or make it bigger? Will you cut your losses and try another approach?
Reiterate the objective of the project
Include in the agenda high-level milestones
Say hello and add a bit of joy to the meeting. Get everyone to share something fun they did recently, the best thing they ate over the weekend, etc.
Write this out.
There are three main types of meeting goals:
What’s important for the team to know about what’s happening inside and outside of the team?
For Town Halls, access the meeting via a video chat. This is a powerful way of creating a shared experience across the entire company, wherever they are.
Town Halls are a great way to hear about what different teams and departments are working on by setting up demos, or sharing statistics with the entire company. In the absence of in person communication day today, it’s easy to run into the trap of different teams feeling siloed and out of the loop. It is also a good time for management and executives to reiterate the bigger picture in terms of company priorities.
The first card read aloud is called Town Hall Announcements. The 10 items in the checklist on this card are akin to the “10 commandments” for the company. These state the core philosophies of the company and the company culture. At the beginning of each Town Hall, someone reads these 10 principles out loud so that they are reiterated to the entire company. We always have a new hire read the list so that they become familiar with these philosophies.
The goal of a Town Hall is to have a transparent company wide meeting with an open forum for any employee to be able to ask questions, voice concerns, celebrate great contributions, or update the company on their work.
Anyone can add a card to Announcements/Questions with the goal of addressing every single card on the list during the town hall. If you add a card to the list, add yourself to the card so that the meeting moderator can call on you when your card comes up.
Town Hall meetings are not all business. The meetings are a rare opportunity when the entire team is together, which is especially novel in distributed companies. Take the time to build your employees up by establishing fun traditions and finding different ways to celebrate successes.
Of course, once a town hall is done this doesn’t mean it should be forgotten. Meeting Minutes from the Town Hall should be easily accessed by all employees after the meeting is over.
Have each functional team (sales, marketing, product, etc.) prepare and give an overview of how they're running.
What is the purpose of this team meeting? Include any objectives and discussion topics.
Does this meeting have a pre-planned agenda or structure? Include it here for easy reference.
Summarize all relevant discussion points here.
What were the main insights from this team meeting? Include key decisions made, progress reports, and any opportunities, issues, or concerns that should be shared with colleagues.
Is there any other valuable information worth sharing? It does not have to be directly related to the meeting topic.
List all key stakeholders not present and other departments that this information should be shared with.
Clarify next steps, who's completing them, and when they should be done by. Note this information here to share and assign.
How will we keep in touch and stay up-to-date about progress? Should we schedule another meeting?
Capture learnings from [initiative] and identify what went wrong so we can get better
Put all the details of what happened here. Only the facts. Make sure you answer who what where when why. Customer feedback is good to include if we have it. Include any and all mistakes and what went well. Break up into sections, like “research” “engineering” “customer feedback” “the feature” “marketing efforts” etc.
What happened as a result of the situation? This could include how an initiative performed, what happened as a result of a bug, how a feature fared, etc. Support this section with data
All the details of what went wrong. Opinions are welcome here. Be fair to other people who were involved and let them add to the postmortem or give you context as needed. In the case of bugs, what we could have done better to prevent a problem can be included here as well.
Whatever we learned that will affect how we do things next go around, it goes here. This is the synthesis of everything we’ve figured out from doing the postmortem.
Any action items we have, and who owns each of them, plus dates if possible
Share updates on overall progress, key metrics, and anecdotes to give your team an up-to-date understanding of current initiatives.
Allow each team member to briefly share what they've been working on. This includes progress, obstacles, achievements, and any other information that would be valuable for the team.
Acknowledge big wins and milestones accomplished since the last weekly meeting. What valuable lessons were learned?
Have any issues or challenges come up since the last weekly meeting? Are there any particular problems a team member is stuck on? How can we help solve them?
Are there any new metrics, trends, customer feedback, or market influences we should be aware of? What about company announcements or industry news? Share any resources that would help the team understand these concepts better.
Summarize any other valuable information that was shared. It does not have to be directly related to the weekly meeting agenda.
What are the main priorities we should focus on for next week? How are we planning to approach these? What does success look like?
What were the main insights from this weekly meeting? Include key decisions made, progress reports, and any opportunities, issues, or concerns that should be shared with colleagues.
List all key stakeholders not present and other departments that this information should be shared with.
Clarify next steps for the entire team as well as each individual. Note who's completing them, and when they should be done by. You can assign these tasks from this template.
Make sure everyone's here and ask for a volunteer scribe.
If anyone else has any questions about something relating to one of the other teams, now is your chance to ask. (2 min per update)
Ask whoever added the item to introduce it and lead that part of the conversation.
A working group is a defined set of people, usually coming from multiple teams or disciplines to fix a common business challenge.
Review the goal at the beginning of every meeting to remind group members of what they’re trying to achieve. Since the problems you’re tackling can be broad and fuzzy, having an explicit goal can also help you decide what is and isn’t the responsibility of the group.
Here are some questions to fill in to see how your solutions fit into your wider goal (check out how Etsy used this method to define "design excellence" for their team)
“In order to be effective, the group has to ship; in order to ship, milestones should be established from the beginning.” Without delivery dates in place, it is impossible to create an action plan that accurately reflects the speed in which you must be working to achieve your goals.
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."