Last week at Orange, I led a breakout called “Aligning Your NextGen Team.” A big portion of this breakout was unpacking concepts around leading meetings. One of the best ways to align a team is to meet frequently. Last year at Orange, I led a breakout just on leading meetings. This has been a fun journey for me because 18-24 months ago, I was amazing at leading terrible meetings. After a lot of research, learning from others and implementing some great ideas, I now lead good meetings and sometimes they’re really great. Maybe one day they’ll be fantastic!

One of the most important components to a good meeting is having an agenda. No, planning out your meeting on a sticky note 10 minutes before the meeting doesn’t count. It’s usually best to have your agenda finished 24-48 hours before the meeting and sent out to the team so they all have time to come to the meeting prepared. Yes, that means meetings need to be planned. This doesn’t mean every detail needs to be planned out 24-48 hours in advance, but the structure needs to be in place. This also allows your team to give their thoughts and opinions before arriving to the meeting. They may let you know that you missed something really important or that you’ve allocated way too much time to one topic.

A little over a year ago, I created an agenda template in a folder in our shared google docs account. Every week we meet, I simply make a copy of the template and create the agenda right there in the folder. Everyone on my team has access to this folder, so they can access current meeting agendas as well as past agendas. Once the agenda is ready, I download it as a PDF and send to everyone via email for their convenience.

The agenda lists the basics like the date and location. I realized recently that I need to include a place to list everyone who was there and wasn’t there. That way those who didn’t make the meeting are responsible to familiarize themselves on what was covered and everyone will be held accountable to decisions made at the meeting.

We have a few elements that I like to assign team members to… sharing a devotional/spiritual nugget, sharing progress on goals and reviewing decisions made in our last meeting. Below this, I list all the items we plan to cover and I budget how much time we’ll spend on each item. I’ll talk more about what we pick and what order I put these things in a later post.

I bring printed agendas to our meetings, but just about everyone pulls up the google doc when meeting. Someone from the team takes notes and someone else keeps track of time. We have a timer going at all times letting us know how much time we have left on each agenda item and they help us press for decisions.

By the end of the meeting, decisions are documented, tasks are assigned usually with deadlines. Later that same day, the completed agenda is emailed to everyone on the team and I’m then able to follow up with individuals to make sure there is clarity on assignments.

Here’s a copy of our agenda template: Template

Here’s an example of a post-meeting agenda from a few months ago: Sample