Productivity

How to create an agenda for an effective team meeting

Craft team meeting agendas to help everyone stay focused and get things done. These top tips and examples can help you cover all the bases.

By the team at SlackJune 7th, 2024

Have you attended one of those frustrating meetings where nobody knows what’s going on, conversations go every which way, and people walk out not knowing what they’re supposed to do next? A team meeting without an agenda is more than unproductive. It can also send the message that you don’t value and respect your team members’ time. 

In this guide, we’ll explore how to set clear objectives for team meetings, the key elements to include in a team meeting agenda, tips for productive meetings and best practices to support distributed teams. Plus, we’ll share a team meeting agenda template to get you started.

Why are team meeting agendas important?

Whether you’re running a formal or informal meeting, a structured agenda aligns everyone’s expectations, focuses the conversation and improves meeting efficiency. Participants will know what they’re responsible for in advance so they can prepare and know the priorities. Providing topics also helps you better manage time allocation to cover all the requirements.

A well-designed agenda for a team meeting provides purpose and structure. It’s a roadmap to keep everyone on task, prioritize urgent or important topics, and facilitate constructive discussions. The clarity also helps you identify outstanding action items, so things don’t fall through the cracks and helps the team make decisions more quickly and effectively.

What to include in a team meeting agenda

While details will vary depending on a meeting’s objectives and team dynamics, a well-structured team meeting agenda should always include the following:

  • Date, time and location: If you have a dispersed or remote team, be mindful of everyone’s locations and time zones. Include instructions to join the digital meeting, e.g. a link to a video call or a Slack huddle
  • Meeting objectives: Be concise about what you hope to accomplish in the meeting to keep everyone focused on the highest priorities.
  • Facilitator and attendees: List the leader for each topic so they come prepared.
  • Agenda items: Clarify the topics you’ll discuss and the desired outcomes. Keep it short but with enough info to set the right expectations.
  • Time for each topic: Estimate the time required for each agenda item to keep the discussions on track. Verify that you’ve allocated sufficient time for the meeting.
  • Action items: Review tasks and assign responsibilities to ensure accountability and follow-through.
  • Team check-in: Include time for icebreaker activities or casual chats to get people in participation mode.

How to create an agenda for a productive team meeting

Customize your agendas for different cadences and teams. Whether you’re writing an agenda for a weekly or monthly team meeting, or a setting a meeting for sales, leadership, management or HR teams, follow these tips to guide focused and productive conversations:

Set clear objectives

Clear objectives provide a solid foundation for productive discussions and tangible takeaways. First, define the meeting’s purpose (e.g. brainstorming solutions, making decisions or reviewing progress) and state it at the top of the agenda. Then list the topics to discuss and highlight decision-making items. Prioritize action items and include a clear and realistic desired outcome for each. Reserve a few minutes at the end of the meeting to check that you’ve met all the objectives.

Invite stakeholder input

Create a comprehensive and inclusive agenda by gathering input from people and any supporting documents before finalizing the agenda. To curate and collaborate on meeting agendas, use Slack canvas, a surface built right into Slack, to help keep meeting planning simple and organized. Ask attendees if they have topics they want to discuss; this creates more buy-in.  

Encourage active participation

Use inclusive language and phrase agenda items as questions or prompts to invite discussions (e.g. “How can we improve our project timeline?” instead of “Project timeline discussion”). Include a roundtable element to create a natural opportunity for everyone to share their thoughts. You can also ask team members to gather data, do some quick brainstorming or prepare a short presentation ahead of time to increase engagement.

Get real-time input with simple, engaging polls

 When you need to make decisions before, after or during the meeting, Slack makes it easy to get real-time input.

Apps like Simple Poll, Polly, and Qualtrics meet users where they’re already working in Slack, prompting them with engaging polls and surveys that make sharing feedback a piece of cake. Many of these apps offer a variety of polling features available to fit your needs, like anonymity, hidden results, scheduling, reminders, event-triggered surveys, templates and more. 

You can also send a post-meeting survey for feedback on what worked well and what needs improvement. Review the comments to identify patterns and make adjustments and communicate any changes to show you value their input. Also, regularly update meeting practices and agenda templates to meet the team’s evolving needs.

Assign roles and responsibilities polls

Assign specific roles like facilitator, timekeeper, note-taker and presenter for each agenda item. Communicate what each role entails to set the right expectations. Rotate the roles regularly to distribute responsibilities and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to contribute. 

Team meeting agenda best practices

Besides the tried-and-true steps for creating team meeting agendas discussed above, the latest best practices incorporate rely on technology to improve efficiency and accommodate virtual teams. 

Explore digital tools for agenda creation and collaboration

Use productivity tools for document sharing and collaborative editing to capture real-time thoughts and comments. Cloud-based platforms eliminate version control issues. You can also use project management software to visualize task management, timelines, action items, critical milestones and responsibilities. If Slack is the place where work happens, Slack canvases can enhance the real-time collaboration you have in channels by offering an evergreen place to organize and share information of any kind.

Integrate meeting agenda platform with team communication channels

Share your agenda to your team’s favorite communication platforms to keep everyone updated and able to access all documents. For example, you can integrate Slack with tools like Google Calendar, Trello and Asana to share agendas, updates, reminders and real-time notifications without leaving the app.

With Slack huddles, teams can instantly connect over audio or video and share screens without leaving Slack. Emoji reactions, customizable backgrounds and effects liven up conversations to make virtual team meetings more personal, interactive and efficient. You can also submit responses, questions and documents in chat. Plus, everything participants share is saved for future reference. You can review past topics and decisions to quickly compile meeting minutes or track action items.

Leverage AI to generate team meeting agendas automatically

Use generative AI tools with machine- learning algorithms and natural language processing (NLP) capabilities to auto-generate agendas. Some applications analyze past meeting data and context like minutes and recordings to create a contextual agenda and prioritize critical topics or action items. 

You can also enter basic information like meeting title, date, time, location, attendees, objectives, discussion topics and action items into AI tools like ClickUp Brain and Taskade to automate agenda-writing. With Slack AI, a set of generative AI tools built right into Slack, you can smartly search answers in Slack to questions about meeting topics, summarize conversations instantly, and much more. Slack AI uses the conversation data already in Slack to create channel recaps and thread summaries to help you build your team meeting agenda. 

Team meeting agenda template

Support a well-crafted team meeting agenda with a robust collaboration tool

You’ve invested the time and effort to create a team meeting agenda—don’t let a frustrating, cumbersome communication experience waste participants’ valuable time, derail your conversations or prevent team members from joining the call altogether. Collaborative platforms like Slack create a seamless user experience with tools your team already loves.

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