We all know, meetings can be boring and drain a lot of energy. But they don't have to be. Use this standard meeting agenda to structure your meetings and they will be relevant for people and actually help them do their jobs. They will become action meetings.
Action meetings have a specific focus: Align all team members on the current focus and ongoing projects and help them get what they need to get their work done. In short: To create and facilitate action.
Be aware: It takes practice to become good at holding and facilitating meetings. Use this agenda template a few times to get used to it. And then of course: Tweak it to your own needs, while keeping the idea of it.
What steps to take for the practice
The focus of the action meeting is to align the team members on the current focus and ongoing projects and help them get what they need to get their work done.
Typically, the duration is somewhere between 20-60 minutes and a helpful interval is every week or every two weeks.
The agenda for an action meeting consists of 5 points:
Steering numbers (5 minutes)
Chose 1-3 KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that are relevant for your team and that you want to use to judge your performance and direction. Check them at the beginning of each meeting to see if you are going in the right direction. Do not discuss them at length, just briefly check them and see if anybody has any short remarks. If there is need for a discussion, that becomes an agenda topic in point 4.
Project updates (5-10 minutes)
Everyone briefly shares relevant updates about ongoing projects. Beware: Keep it extremely short! Only describe things that have changed since the last meeting, no plans for the future. Always ask: Are the others impacted by this? Do others need to contribute? Do I need feedback? If not, then leave it of this project list.
Agenda topics (30 minutes)
Here you deal with current topics: Discuss topics, get feedback, and take decisions. This point should make up the largest part of the meeting. Collect the agenda topics in a central place, for example a Trello board or any other board app and make sure that any team member can add topics.
Whenever you add a topic, require people to specify: "What do you need?" Why do you bring in this point and what do you need from the others? Is it information, feedback, a decision etc.? Be very deliberate in this: If you cannot answer what you need to from this topic, then it should not be on the agenda.
The meeting facilitator can choose the order and number of topics to discuss. Ask in the meeting, if there are any last-minute topics that have come up. If they are urgent, integrate them.
Checkout (3 minutes)
At the end of the meeting, do a quick checkout round. Ask everyone what they will do next time to improve the meeting r ask different questions to playfully evaluate the meetings. Here again: Keep it short and strong - and then finish the meeting on or before time.
As always: Take this template, experiment with it and adapt it to your context and needs.
This practice is inspired by the meeting practices of Holacracy and Sociocracy 3.0
There is an interesting podcast episode on this topic on the podcast "Brave New Work" from The Ready: https://megaphone.link/TR7061110627
Effective and engaging meetings that will actually finish on time and help team members get their work done and achieve more.
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