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Staff Meeting Agenda Blueprint: Best Practices and Checklist

Want to make the most out of your staff meeting agenda? Consider leveraging these tips, best practices, and our free agenda template.

By Mara Calvello  •   August 24, 2023  •   8 min read

Have you ever left a staff meeting feeling confused and unsure of your responsibilities, all while struggling to get back into what you were working on before the meeting took place?

If this feeling is one with which you’re familiar, chances are you just left a staff meeting that didn’t have an agenda. It’s time to set your team up for success and maximum productivity with an agenda that ensures the conversation runs smoothly.

What is the purpose of a staff meeting agenda?

Every staff meeting needs to have a robust and comprehensive agenda. This agenda should include an organized list of topics and action items to discuss during the meeting. These points ensure the meeting runs smoothly, the conversation stays on topic, and nothing falls through the cracks. It also helps attendees prioritize the most important topics to ensure all attendees are correctly aligned.

Another important purpose of a meeting agenda is to assign clear action items and takeaways for every meeting. This helps hold everyone accountable by allowing team members to follow up on assigned tasks and responsibilities.

What to include in a staff meeting agenda

Not sure what to include in a staff meeting agenda? Eight elements should always be featured in the agenda for maximum productivity and efficiency.

1Meeting attendees

First up, include the names of all meeting attendees. The goal here isn’t necessarily to take attendance, but rather, to make a note of who has been invited and who is the meeting host. This can also help attendees come prepared with questions for other people joining the meeting.

2Clear purpose of meeting

Next, be sure to clearly define the purpose of the meeting. This will serve as your reasoning for the meeting to take place. Unsure of the perfect why? Consider what you’d like the result of the meeting to be. To do this, ask yourself questions like:

  • What do I want to accomplish during this meeting?
  • What is the outcome I’m looking for at the end of this meeting?
  • What would I like attendees to do once the meeting is over?

Be sure to include the meeting purpose in the agenda so all team members are on the same page.

3Duration of the meeting

The third element that should be in every meeting agenda is the duration of the meeting. This can include the meeting cadence, too. Whether the meeting is a quick sync that lasts 20 minutes or a more extended conversation that will take an hour, make this known. You can also take this one step further by noting how long you’d like to discuss each action item on the agenda so you don’t exceed time. 

4Updates on company developments

The agenda should also include a section that updates attendees on any company developments that have taken place. This can include elements like budget, hiring, strategy, or upcoming events. 

Whatever update you’re looking to share with those joining, note it in the agenda to give everyone a heads-up and allow for questions on the company development from others.

Run efficient staff meetings, come to a decision, and get back to work

Level up your meeting habits to boost engagement and productivity with a collaborative meeting agenda. Try a tool like Fellow!

5Progress reports on projects and OKRs

The same can be said for progress reports on projects and objectives and key results (OKRs). If the organization’s product team is working on a project with a fast-approaching deadline, note on the agenda that there will be time for an update. Same for OKRs—how is the team tracking toward the goals set earlier in the month or year? Now is the time for these updates!

6Hurdles and concerns

Need help to reach a goal or accomplish an action item? The agenda should also leave space for discussions about hurdles or concerns that attendees are facing. This is a great time to brainstorm solutions as a team or let others know your team may need more time working through an action item.

7Time for questions

There’s a good chance that at least one attendee will have a question they’d like to ask during the meeting, so be sure there’s time for questions specified in the agenda. Even if you believe all talking points and discussion items are straightforward, you never know who may want to verify a key detail or ask a question that has perhaps slipped through the cracks.

8Accomplishments and shoutouts

Finally, close out the agenda by making time for shoutouts and accomplishments. For example, if you’re hosting a leadership meeting, schedule time to highlight the hard work of certain team members. If someone has gone above and beyond, give them the recognition they deserve.

8 best practices for creating an effective staff meeting agenda

The next time you’re looking to create an effective staff meeting agenda, keep these eight best practices in mind!

1Have everyone contributes to the agenda

The best way to have an effective meeting agenda is to ensure everyone has the chance to collaborate on the details. It’s in everyone’s best interest that you send out the agenda beforehand so all attendees have ample time to add their discussion points.

To make this easy for everyone, use a meeting agenda software like Fellow. Fellow is where teams gather to have productive team meetings and meaningful 1:1s, build collaborative meeting agendas, record decisions, and keep each other accountable. Using Fellow, you can create a shared meeting agenda and edit notes simultaneously. Once the meeting is over, you can send the meeting notes to all attendees to ensure everyone is on the same page! If you want to make the process even easier, Fellow’s AI-agenda builder automatically generates headings and talking points for your meeting based off of the title of the meeting and the calendar description.

Fellow also enables you to:

 Get notified about upcoming meetings

 Encourage attendees to add talking points to the agenda

 Cross out discussion points as the meeting evolves

 Use the private notes section to record your thoughts

Plus, when using a tool like Fellow, teams can save templates and agendas for recurring meetings, so once you’ve found an agenda template that works for your staff meeting it’s easy to keep using it!

2Have a clear purpose for meeting

As we mentioned, a meeting purpose sets clear expectations for attendees as to why the meeting is happening and helps ensure focus before and during the meeting. Afterward, the meeting organizer can evaluate whether the meeting purpose they had defined was met.

If it was, the meeting stayed on track and was a success! Getting the conversation to remain on topic isn’t always easy, so it’s okay if the discussion points lean a little left of the meeting purpose. Just be sure it’s clear on the agenda!

As Claire Hughes Johnson highlights in her demonstration on staff meetings,

“Most people don’t turn their meetings, so the meeting just meanders through its life, and people get hit-or-miss experiences out of it. It doesn’t have to be you, but someone has to run the meeting. Otherwise, it turns into anarchy.”

3Ensure there are seven or fewer people in the meeting invite.

Remember, this is a staff meeting, not an all-hands meeting.

So, keep the attendee list short and limit it to seven people or less. Studies have shown that having more than seven attendees reduces decision-making abilities in the meeting. When you’re using Fellow and the meeting organizer creates a meeting with eight or more attendees, a prompt reminds them to remove or mark additional attendees as optional.

Keeping the meeting invite list to only those who absolutely need to be there sets attendees up for success and ensures the conversation stays relevant. Plus, you can still ensure everyone is up to speed with decisions by sharing the meeting notes after the fact.

4Leverage AI 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere, and now you can leverage it with Fellow!

If you thought your meeting productivity was at its peak, think again. Because when you leverage AI with Fellow, it can create meeting elements things like:

  • Talking points
  • Agenda builders
  • Meeting summaries
  • Recordings and meeting transcriptions
  • Synced action items

Because the AI collab can streamline so many different elements of your staff meeting, it’s a no-brainer to lean into how it can elevate your agenda!

5Add icebreakers 

Another best practice to start implementing in your staff meeting agendas adding time for icebreakers—especially if your staff meeting is virtual. Including this time is a great way for teams to feel more connected and get to know one another, which can ultimately help build a stronger working relationship.

“My team does an icebreaker at the beginning of every staff meeting that we have on Monday mornings. The questions are anything from, ‘What kind of winter Olympian would you want to be?’ to ‘What’s the worst job you ever had?’ This Monday, it was, ‘Where do you stand on pumpkin spice?'”

Brian Elliot, SVP of Slack

6Document decisions made

Staff meetings are often when key decisions regarding goals, strategy, and OKRs are made, so be sure to document these decisions clearly for future reference.

For example, with Fellow, decisions can easily be documented using the tags feature. Tags are a great way to note key items, organize content, label decisions, and find what you’re looking for within meeting notes and agendas. Apply a tag you’ve already made or make a new one that applies to each unique situation. This also helps attendees and those who couldn’t join the meeting find what they’re looking for faster.

7Assign action items 

Next, be sure to assign action items within the collaborative agenda. An action item is any task, activity, or action focused enough for one person to handle. Action items you create during meetings are also known as meeting action items.

As the staff meeting occurs, consider who has the skills and knowledge to take on which task and then assign accordingly. Adding these action items to the agenda ensures all attendees fully understand what they’ve been assigned and who is responsible for which task. For complete transparency, deadlines and due dates can be added here too. 

8Gather feedback

Finally, don’t forget to ask attendees for meeting feedback. To make sure this feedback is honest, transparent, and ultimately useful, you can also give team members the option to leave anonymous feedback. This way, there’s no fear of potential repercussions when being honest about the details of the meeting that took place.

With Fellow, you can create a culture of continuous feedback by requesting feedback after each meeting!

Free staff meeting agenda template

Ready to get started on your team’s staff meeting agenda? Use this template from Fellow!

Staff meetings made succinct

Your company’s staff meetings shouldn’t be messy, and knowing how to craft the right agenda will help bring the right priorities front and center. Armed with a tool like Fellow, you’ll be able to clearly state the purpose, track progress on goals, and collaborate on the entire agenda before the meeting kicks off.

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