There are plenty of ways to host a team meeting, from a one-off virtual Zoom meeting for your remote team to weekly team meetings with your in-person colleagues.
One thing they all have in common — or should — is a team meeting agenda. An effective team meeting agenda will help everyone stay on the same page during the meeting and keep you from going into overtime.
By gathering agenda items in advance, and letting the entire team know which topics to prepare for, you’ll be able to get more done in a shorter amount of time.
Here’s everything you need to know about team meeting agendas, including some of the most common agenda topics and how to use a team meeting agenda template.
Why do you need a team meeting agenda?
There’s something to be said for having free-flowing meetings where all of your team members get to brainstorm ideas and check in about their projects.
But sometimes, too much flexibility can lead to unproductive meetings that don’t result in clear next steps and action items.
With a team meeting agenda, your entire team will know the purpose of the meeting upfront and can focus on the meeting objectives — instead of using precious work time to trade dog pics or practice their standup routine.
Having a meeting agenda can also help you distinguish different types of meetings. For example, a team meeting differs from an all-hands meeting in that it’s limited to specific team members and not open to the entire company.
You can use a team meeting for any number of purposes, such as:
- Brainstorming new projects and strategies
- Fostering team collaboration and employee engagement
- Improving workflows and addressing roadblocks
- Providing status updates and retrospectives
Find a convenient meeting time
If you have a remote team, chances are you already communicate using tools like Slack and Google Docs. These tools are useful for team building and problem-solving, since not every action item can wait until the next team meeting.
But by having regular meetings at a dedicated meeting time each week, you can save time and energy in the long run.
Your colleagues will know there’s a time and place for bringing up specific team needs or zooming out and focusing on the big picture.
You’ll also have a record of any decisions that you made — either in the form of meeting notes or meeting minutes — and you can use them to send out follow-up reminders or updates to other departments in your company.
How to create a team meeting agenda
Of course, putting together a team meeting agenda is easier said than done. After all, as the meeting facilitator, you may not know every topic your team members want to include on the agenda, or even how long each item is likely to take.
Some topics that seem straightforward at first may turn out to be more contentious than you expected — or you may have left out important items altogether.
That’s why you should start by putting out a call for agenda items. When you send out team meeting invitations in a Slack thread or email, ask your team members to respond with the topics they want to discuss.
Then, you can group similar topics together, and include links to reference materials or reports that everyone should read in advance to save time and boost productivity during the meeting.
Always start by determining the length of the meeting — say 45 minutes or an hour — and working backward from there.
Once you subtract the intro and outro — such as icebreakers and announcements — you can estimate how many agenda times you’ll have time for.
The least important items should be at the bottom in case you don’t have time to get to them and have to postpone them until the next team meeting.
Team meeting agenda template
Every team is different, so the team meeting template you choose should reflect your goals and your company culture.
Maybe your company is really focused on team building, so you spend more time on icebreakers and other fun virtual activities.
Or maybe you use a consensus decision-making model, so you need to schedule in extra time for discussing major items.
Either way, here’s a simple template you can use to create your own team meeting agenda, adding in extra time or agenda items if necessary:
60-minute team meeting agenda template
Fill in the below agenda as it makes sense for your company! We’ll spare you from defining the obvious categories, like the meeting’s time and place, then give short descriptions of the rest.
Introduction/icebreakers (5 minutes): Have the facilitator introduce themself and give each participant 30 seconds to share a fun fact with the group.
Agenda review (5 minutes): The facilitator describes the meeting objective and reads the agenda items one by one. If there’s time, participants can propose last-minute items, or suggest changes to the agenda.
Big picture update (10 minutes): The team leader gives an update on current projects and/or sets a goal for the next team meeting.
Topic 1: Website redesign (15 minutes): The project lead shows off the new website redesign and invites feedback from other team members.
Topic 2: New client onboarding (10 minutes): The client manager reports back on a new contract and how it will affect the team’s workload over the holidays.
Topic 3: Company retreat (10 minutes): The team manager discusses the upcoming company retreat and whether to hold it virtually or in person.
Action item review: (5 minutes): The notetaker reads out any next steps or action items and sets a date and time for the next team meeting.
How to stick to your team meeting agenda
A team meeting agenda isn’t just a backup plan if things get out of hand. The important thing is to follow the agenda from the start. That means having designated roles, such as a notetaker, a facilitator, and a timekeeper to make sure everything runs smoothly.
You can also follow meeting procedures such as Robert’s Rules of Order, although this is more common for board meetings than for team meetings.
Going a little over time on a single agenda item may not seem like a big deal, but it could mean the difference between finishing early or extending into your lunch hour.
If you’re hosting a remote meeting, remind participants to practice good virtual meeting etiquette and turn off their microphones when they aren’t speaking.
Finally, consider using live captioning or transcriptions for meetings, which can make your meeting more accessible for participants with disabilities.
Use Anchor AI to take notes
Since you’ve already done the hard work of putting together a team meeting agenda, you may be tempted to take a shortcut and skip taking notes. After all, you can always look back at which topics were on the agenda, and that will jog your memory, right?
Well, in our experience, having a meeting agenda is no substitute for meeting notes or meeting minutes. Some agenda items may have gotten swapped around, and besides, just because something’s on the agenda doesn’t mean it got resolved.
If you use Anchor AI to take notes for you, you’ll be able to solve two problems at once. First, you can free up all of your team members to stay focused on the meeting, so no one has to scribble away in a notebook while the rest of you exchange witty banter.
Second, you’ll have a time-stamped record of everything that was said — allowing you to properly credit team members for their ideas and bring an accurate report of your team’s progress to your next board meeting or all-hands meeting.
All you have to do is invite Anchor AI to your next meeting and it will do the rest, using machine learning to identify speakers and even pick out action items.