The Importance of Team Meetings

Meetings with the entire team are important as long as they are focused, relevant, and collaborative.

For a high demand team, I would suggest a team meeting every month, otherwise quarterly would be fine. These meetings should be backed up with on-going individual team member meetings.

The focus of these meetings is to bring the team together to share information, contribute to discussions, and provide feedback. This is especially important if your team is stretched across multiple locations or departments.

Planning and Preparing for Team Meetings

The agenda for these meetings should be focused on the team’s objectives, management priorities, customer demands, team member suggestions, and OHS.

These meetings are best set up in a meeting room that contains a computer, data projector or smart screen, that enables you to share your desktop and all its software. This is important for team members in other locations.

Depending on the agenda, these meetings may take 1 – 2 hours to complete. I would suggest setting up the meeting for 1.5 hours initially so that overruns are accommodated. To make sure everyone attends, let the team know these meetings are a priority, and send meeting invites out for the entire year. This will block out the times in their calendars, lock in the meeting rooms, and provide a reminder for meeting preparations.

Every team meeting should have an agenda that is structured, consistent, and flexible. I would suggest you create an Agenda Template with agenda Items that will occur in every meeting. Each of these agenda items should be set with specific times depending on the content that will be presented and/or discussed. This is where the flexibility comes in.

monthly-meeting-agenda-template

To help you get started, I have provided a simple Agenda Template for you to adapt –
the-start-up-manager-blog-team-meeting-agenda-template

Suggested Agenda items may include safety, team leader updates, support, projects, presentations, and any other business (AOB). Safety is important for all businesses and all employees. It’s important to ensure the team keeps safety in mind at all times. This could be achieved by providing updates on OHS regulations, highlighting OHS risks, and having team members take turns giving a short OHS related presentation.

At the end of each meeting, I always ask if any new agenda items should be added. This enables the team to contribute to the structure of the meetings going forward. One of the new items requested by my last team was the reflection on what was ‘good’ that happened in the past month. It is so easy to focus on achieving priorities and overcoming problems that we forget to celebrate and congratulate on our achievements. This item was added and everyone in the team had a moment to share what they saw as good for themselves or others in the team. This had the added benefit of lifting spirits and having some fun.

Pre-meeting Preparations

Once the Team Meeting Agenda template has been created, take a copy and prepare it for each meeting as it comes up. This pre-meeting preparation should involve confirming presenters, collating information for the team leader update, reviewing reports on work areas, and preparing for any other business to be discussed.

To save time, I would suggest you create a pre-meeting checklist. This is a document that would include information on each of the agenda items, sources of information, usual presenters within the team, links to stored references, and how the information is expected to be presented at the meeting.

During the meeting

As the facilitator of the meeting, your role is to ensure the agenda remains on time, everyone gets an opportunity to speak, notes are taken on post-meeting actions, and the next meeting’s presenters are confirmed.

Post-meeting actions

Once the meeting is over, post-meeting actions should be documented and emailed to the team for follow-up, and any new agenda items added to the Agenda Template ready for the next meeting.

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