Encourage Participation in Team Meetings With This Agenda

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 24, 2021 | Published October 7, 2019

Updated August 24, 2021

Published October 7, 2019

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

For most teams, successful staff meetings start with active participation and clear objectives. With strong engagement, staff meetings can contribute to the advancement of company goals and the empowerment of team members to accomplish more at work. In this article, we will review how to have effective staff meetings and discuss why actively participating is essential for a team.

What makes a good team meeting?

When your coworkers tend to keep busy and have limited time to spare, it’s easy to assume that the best team meeting is one that covers all objectives as quickly as possible. While short discussions are certainly efficient, they are not always the most effective approach. To ensure you leave attendees with the sense that their contributions are valued, try to set aside enough time for a meeting that prioritizes participation.

Designing better team meetings involves using team engagement as your framework for success. From establishing objectives and creating an attendee list to developing an agenda and a follow-up strategy, focus on building a sense of teamwork. With this strategy, you can encourage greater participation and the motivation to collaborate.

Identify the main objective

It can be tempting to schedule standing meetings or to call for a meeting every time you want to discuss an issue with a larger group. Before adding another task to your coworkers’ calendars, however, take a moment to identify whether a meeting is essential. If you simply want to check in with team members, consider whether a group email or an online chat message would be more effective. If you need to talk through a complex problem or discuss the details of a big project, a team meeting might be the ideal choice.

Once you have determined that you need a meeting, identify your main objective. For example, perhaps you want to conclude the meeting with a schedule for carrying out your team’s next big project. Maybe you want to agree on a decision related to a difficult problem. Either way, have an idea of what you want to accomplish during the meeting, and share it with other attendees. Naturally, when team members understand the overall goals, they will be more inclined to participate, especially if they can contribute to the resolution you’re seeking.

Use a space that fits the meeting’s goals

After establishing an objective, you should choose a space that makes sense for your goals. If you are planning a meeting for the entire staff, you will need a large room with plenty of seating and technology that allows everyone to see any visual components. However, if you intend to lead a small meeting with a few select attendees, keep the space proportional to encourage collaboration.

In addition to the size of the space, decide on a venue that has everything you will need when conducting team meetings. Choose a setup that allows the facilitator to direct the meeting, such as a conference room that will let the leader take the head of the table.

Remember to also account for technology. If you want to encourage participation in a large crowd, consider having microphones available so attendees can make themselves heard. If you want to encourage remote team members to participate, arrange for video conferencing to give all attendees an equal chance to participate.

Choose the right attendees

Before announcing a meeting, consider the attendees carefully. If you plan to cover policies, procedures or human resources issues that affect every member of the staff, you can consider inviting everyone. In other cases, however, you may want to be more selective. Naturally, meetings can be more cost-effective with fewer attendees, but larger meetings that include key decision-makers may end up more cost-effective in the long-term.

To create the ideal attendee list, start with the smallest number of staff members you need to accomplish your objectives. For example, you may need decision-makers from the marketing, design and accounting departments present to approve an advertising campaign for an upcoming project. However, giving yourself a bigger attendee list could help you gain a broader perspective on the project. Consider inviting other staff from different departments to encourage a more robust discussion.

Select a reasonable start and end time

To design an effective meeting, choose a convenient time for the largest audience possible. First, consider what you want to accomplish and how long each item will take to address. Add in extra time for introductions and conclusions, and include enough discussion time so that attendees have a chance to contribute. Estimating meeting times will get easier with practice.

After determining how much time you will need, consider the right time of day for the meeting. Creative discussions might be most successful in the afternoon, while decision-making meetings might be most effective before lunchtime.

Before sending out meeting invitations, review the main participants’ appointment calendars. This will help you avoid scheduling a meeting at conflicting times, increase invitation acceptance rates and prevent the need to reschedule to accommodate the group. No matter what time you choose, always strive to give attendees as much time as possible so they can prepare.

Read more: Time Management Skills

Share the staff meeting agenda

No matter when or how you structure your team meeting, you will need an agenda. Having an agenda will help your meeting maintain its direction.

To create an agenda, begin with a brief description of the main goal you will be working toward. Keep this section to a single sentence, and focus on the overall outcome. Next, consider the staff meeting agenda topics you intend to cover. Alongside each topic, mention the primary presenter for each and context to help attendees understand what you will discuss. Include the amount of time you plan to dedicate to each topic.

After creating your team meeting agenda, share it with attendees as early as possible. If you have allotted additional time to discuss related topics, ask attendees to add their concerns or ideas to the agenda.

Meeting Agenda Example

Giving attendees plenty of time allows them to prepare and participate as much as possible, which is likely to lead to a more productive meeting for everyone in attendance. Use this staff meeting agenda template to get started.

Meeting Agenda

Note Taker:

Meeting Objective:

Topic 1:
Allotted Time:

Topic 2:
Allotted Time:

Topic 3:
Allotted Time:

Action Item 1:
Responsible Party:

Action Item 2:
Responsible Party:

Action Item 3:
Responsible Party:

Ask staff members to check-in

At the start of the meeting, allow a few minutes for attendees to check in with the group, especially if you have designed a smaller team discussion. Taking this step gives attendees a chance to establish their reasons for attending, reiterate their contributions and become invested in the meeting’s outcome.

If you need to accomplish a long agenda in a short amount of time, keep the check-in process brief. Simply ask attendees to state their role in the project at hand. If you have allotted extra time, ask attendees to inform others of their progress since the last discussion, or request that they share what they want to accomplish during the meeting. To encourage teamwork, ask attendees to mention contributions they have appreciated from other team members.

Clarify administrative roles

Whether you are calling a full staff meeting or designing a smaller team gathering, you cannot assume that the leader will automatically guide the agenda and someone else will take careful notes. Instead, it is essential to clarify roles before calling the meeting to order. First, determine a meeting facilitator. The person in this key role will direct the meeting, guiding attendees through the agenda and calling on participants to contribute.

Then, confirm who will be responsible for taking notes during the meeting. The person in this administrative role should take care to note major contributions, important decisions, action items and follow-up assignments along with the timing for each. In most cases, the note taker will also take charge of distributing the minutes after the meeting.

Read more: How to Take Notes

Invite everyone to contribute

Even if you have scheduled the optimal time, created an effective agenda and invited the right staff members, common communication barriers may prevent some attendees from contributing as much as you would like. To encourage participation, try a few key tactics.

Request updates

Advise attendees to prepare contributions in advance. During the meeting, call on staff members to provide updates or ask questions. You may receive rehearsed answers, but you will help team members feel essential to the team.

Include every attendee

Take notice of every attendee’s contributions, and try not to end the meeting without asking everyone to participate. If you have included new hires or introverted staff members, ask them about the issue from their perspective. You will build trust and give attendees a more well-rounded view of the topic at hand.

Prompt multifaceted discussions

Some attendees might prefer to answer straightforward questions, but others may prefer to ponder more abstract issues. To give all types of participants a chance to contribute, make a point of approaching an issue from multiple ways. Do not hesitate to pursue follow-up queries or express curiosity to provoke deeper discussions and a greater sense of teamwork.

Read more: Common Communication Barriers

End with action items and next steps

To make any team meeting as effective as possible, do not file away the issues when the meeting ends. Always end meetings with a list of action items or assignments to encourage continued participation from key team members.

Plan to end meeting with time to spare

To ensure that you will have time for this essential step, plan to conclude all discussions and business at least five minutes before the meeting is scheduled to end. Then use the remaining minutes to assess and plan.

Review and confirm

First, briefly review what the meeting accomplished, including important decisions and progress on key issues. Then, confirm whether you have achieved all the goals you set out at the start of the meeting. If any objectives remain, clarify when and how you will address them, including whether you will revisit at a future meeting or assign them to individual employees.

Delegate tasks

Next, cover the main tasks that staff members will tackle after the meeting ends, including researching issues, forming dedicated teams or preparing reports. Confirm timelines for each item to ensure that every team member leaves the meeting with a to-do list.

Distribute documentation

After finishing the meeting, create and distribute meeting minutes as quickly as possible. Since meeting minutes should include the next steps, teams will have documentation of their action items so they can address them as effectively as possible.

From choosing the right space and time to creating an agenda and actively participating, holding an effective staff meeting can help coworkers accomplish more together. Refine your teamwork skills to make your team meetings more successful than ever.

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