Meetings keep teams aligned, they strengthen relationships, and improve team cohesion.
They also provide an excellent platform to share information and exchange feedback.
But not all meetings are created equal. Some are more beneficial than others.
So, what types of meetings should managers be having to maximize team efficiency?
In this article, we'll explore 14 different types of meetings. We'll explain what each one is, outline best practices for running them effectively, and provide you with sample agenda templates for each.
We'll also discuss the importance of having regular meetings, cover a few ground rules you might want to implement, and explain how managers can lead more effective meetings.
Short on time? Skip straight to the meetings you're most interested in by using the links below.
- Onboarding meetings
- Team stand ups
- Sprint planning meetings
- Team review meetings
- Team retrospectives
- All-hands meetings
- Quarterly review meetings
- Project kick off meetings
- Project status update meetings
- Project review meetings
- Goal setting meetings
- Goal review meetings
- Goal wrap up meetings
The importance of having a meeting cadence
Establishing the right meeting cadence for you and your team can be the difference between reaching your goals and burning out.
Having the right meeting cadence in place can accelerate your team towards their goal, allowing you to set a pace that you can all maintain, together.
- If you have too many meetings, you’ll prevent employees from doing deep work because you’ll constantly be interrupting their ‘working’ time.
- Too few meetings, however, and you risk the team drifting out of alignment and heading in different directions.
If you want to find out more about meeting cadence, we’ve written an in depth guide all about how to choose the right frequency for your team meetings.
Ground rules for meetings
As well as figuring out the right cadence for your team meetings, it’s also incredibly beneficial to lay down ground rules to ensure you have effective team meetings.
Ground rules for meetings provide a form of psychological safety, a term coined by Harvard Business School professor Dr. Amy Edmondson who defined it as:
"A belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes."
Good ground rules for meetings include:
- Starting meetings with a quick warm up or ice breaker exercise—particularly if the team is new
- Having someone chair the meeting
- Encouraging everyone to participate
- Sticking to start and end times
- Criticizing the problem, not the person
How to lead effective meetings
To make the most of your meetings, you want to optimize them. If you don’t, you risk wasting team members’ valuable time.
In order to lead effective meetings, there are some considerations that managers should take into account:
- Who is leading the meeting?
- How long will the meeting be?
- Who needs to attend the meeting?
- Is the meeting remote or in person?
- Do they have someone making notes so that you can share what was decided with those who didn't attend?
- Do they need to have a meeting, or can they share the information another way, for instance via email or Slack? They may find that using asynchronous communication rather than an actual is a better use of everyone's time.
- Have they created an agenda?
- Has everyone had the ability to contribute to the agenda so that they come to the meeting suitably prepared to make decisions?
- If they need to problem solve, are they using techniques that will allow them to do this quickly and efficiently?
Types of meetings
1. Onboarding meeting
What is an onboarding meeting?
An onboarding meeting is the process of introducing a new hire into your organization.
The purpose of an onboarding meeting is to help your new employee to understand their new role, what the job requirements are, and help them integrate with the rest of the team.
The first few weeks of introducing a new team member can be daunting for all involved. The new person can feel like they have to prove they were the right hire, while the team leader wants to make them feel welcome, supported and informed.
Your organization will have a broader onboarding plan, but your managers should hold an onboarding meeting with the new team member early on to bring them into the team as soon as possible.
Best practices for successful onboarding meetings
A great way to bring new team members up to speed quickly and efficiently is by creating a New Team Member Onboarding Checklist.
The purpose of this checklist is to help new team members integrate with their new team and begin building trust with their new peers from the outset.
The checklist should:
- Share the team’s purpose.
- Provide context for the new hire - how have they performed over the last year?
- State who the team’s key internal and external stakeholders are.
- Outline the team’s top challenges.
- Outline everyone’s roles and responsibilities.
- Outline the different ways the team works.
Onboarding meeting agenda template
Managers should aim to have a conversation with new team members as part of the organizations onboarding process, in order to get a better understanding of the new joiner and how they feel they’ll best contribute to the team.
Managers could ask questions such as:
- How would you describe your personality?
- What are your red buttons?
- How do you work best?
- What is one thing people misunderstand about you?
- What would you like to know about the team?
What is a one-to-one meeting?
A one-to-one meeting should be a regular check in between two people, namely a manager and a team member.
One-to-one’s are great for sharing feedback, identifying and resolving blockers, coaching employees, managing stress, and checking in on remote workers. They also support a coaching culture.
Unlike more formal performance appraisals, one to-one’s shouldn’t be something to dread and they shouldn’t be just another tool to help the manager succeed.
When done right, they should be equally beneficial for both parties. They should be a safe space to get to know one another, to ask for advice, and provide feedback.
Best practices for one-to-one meetings
The best way to get the most out of a one to one meeting is to prepare for it in advance.
This can be achieved by encouraging:
- Both parties to co-create a meeting agenda, i.e. preparing a list of talking points ahead of time.
- Managers to use meeting template to guide their one-to-one conversations.
- Both managers and their direct reports to jot down action points and takeaways from the meeting.
One-to-one meetings should also be used to align individual priorities and short term goals.
Encourage managers to ask their team members to list what they’ve been working on, or what they plan to work on this week. They could then provide feedback on things such as whether their work aligns with the overall team goal, and whether there is something the employee is not doing that they feel the should be doing.
One-to-one meeting agenda template
An easy one-to-one agenda template for a 15 minute check in might include:
- Highlights of the last week
- What, if anything, is stressing you out?
- What are you focusing on next week?
- Are there any blockers towards achieving your goals?
- Is there anything I can do to help?
Here are 10 other essential one-to-one meeting agendas for managers.
3. Team stand up meeting
What is a team stand up meeting?
Team stand ups are precisely what they sound like - a short meeting where all participants remain standing.
The purpose of a standup is to reflect on important tasks that are about to start, have started, or have finished. They're often used as a way for teams to have a daily or weekly catch up.
Best practices for team stand up meetings
Keep them short. Don't allow participants to get comfortable and make sure the only people attending are team members.
Managers should also use these meetings to discuss blockers without using the meeting to find a solution. If needed, they should arrange a separate meeting at a later date.
Team stand up meeting agenda template
To keep team stand up meetings simple, managers should just ask three questions:
- What have you done since the last meeting?
- What are you working on until the next meeting?
- What blockers are preventing you from doing your work?
4. Sprint planning meeting
What is a sprint planning meeting?
In agile terms, sprint planning is what kicks off a sprint. The purpose of this meeting is to define what needs to be achieved during the sprint and how that work will be achieved.
Best practices for sprint planning meetings
When you’re planning your sprint, start with the big picture: set the stage for what the team’s accomplished to date, and what you’re hoping to get out of the next sprint.
State any specific goals you have for the sprint at the start of the meeting.
During the meeting, determine task ownership and what resources each task requires including time constraints.
Sprint planning meeting agenda template
- Check in round (what has your attention personally?)
- Calendar review - what events should we all know about this period?
- Planning - what we aim to achieve this week
- Support - what support or dependencies we have on others to get work done
- Closing - what's your reflection on the week ahead?
5. Team review meeting
What is a team review meeting?
A team review meeting allows team members to come together and analyze team progress, team process, and identify areas that need improvement both individually and collectively.
It provides a great opportunity to check what’s been completed in the sprint so far, celebrate any achievements, and seek support for any blocks that have arisen during the course of the sprint.
Best practices for team review meetings
As with any meeting, advance preparation is key.
Create a meeting agenda and try to seek every team member’s contribution.
Take a moment to celebrate individual and collective achievements - learn from both successes and failures.
Ask about roadblocks and share solutions. You want to collectively analyze which current working practices are good, and which are bad.
Managers or team leads should also use these meetings to establish concrete next steps.
Team review meeting agenda template
- Check in round - what's holding your attention right now?
- Review the goals we set for this iteration or sprint
- Blockers - what got in the way that blocker progress?
- Needs and support - what do you need to complete any unfinished goals?
- Learning - what did you learn or surprised you doing this work?
6. Team retrospective meeting
What is a team retrospective meeting?
A team retrospective meeting should be held at the end of each project, or iteration.
The aim of the retrospective is to identify what worked, what didn’t, and uncover any problem areas for the whole team to learn from, including highlighting any solutions that arose.
A team retrospective is a structured way to have meaningful reflective conversation after the event.
They’re also great for building trust within the team, encouraging psychological safety, and improving team productivity.
Best practices for team retrospectives
Don’t let the same issues keep cropping up, it’s unproductive and discouraging. If the same issues keep rearing their ugly head, it makes it appear as if nothing is being achieved to deal with them.
To avoid finger pointing, a team retrospective should focus on the process, not a person, when providing critical feedback.
Appointing a moderator for a team retrospective is a great way to ensure meeting ground rules are adhered to.
Team retrospective meeting agenda template
- Establish the meeting ground rules and review the agenda.
- Discuss what went well on the project.
- Discuss what needs improvement or could have gone better.
- Highlight any group concepts that need improvement - this provides a framework for future iterations.
7. All-hands meetings
What are all-hands meetings?
An all-hands meeting is when your entire organization comes together to share department or team updates, ask questions, and create and build working relationships.
At an all-hands meeting everyone receives the same information and messaging at the same time.
Transparency is essential in an organization to create a sense of trust and an all-hands meeting is the perfect platform to achieve that.
Best practices for all-hands meetings
Because of the scale of an all-hands meeting, it’s best to prepare an agenda in advance so that everyone knows what is going to be discussed.
Make sure someone is in charge of the timekeeping and keep the meeting running on time - this is always tricky when lots of participants are involved, so best to keep meetings short.
Celebrate successes, but again, share the challenges and any solutions you found as learning opportunities for the rest of the organization.
All-hands meeting agenda template
- Updates on changes to business strategy
- Key metrics and goals progress
- Market updates, including any competitor news
- Celebrate the wins
- Questions for the leadership team
- Important reminders and upcoming events
8. Quarterly review meeting
What is a quarterly review meeting?
A quarterly review meeting provides an ideal opportunity for reflecting on the past quarter.
It can be a lengthy meeting, but worthwhile to acknowledge team and individual achievements, report on positive progress, discuss any gaps or areas that require improvement as well as reset for the next quarter.
Quarterly review meetings are best used by leadership to review top level activities, progress and metrics. It’s a great meeting to update clients, rather than a meeting for the whole team to attend. It doesn’t go into the day to day activities, rather it gives a holistic overview of the path taken so far.
Quarterly reviews are where the management team can review strategy and determine a plan for the next quarter, one that works towards helping the company achieve its current goals.
Best practices for quarterly review meetings
Make sure to only invite the right people to the quarterly review meeting i.e. key stakeholders who can make informed decisions about your strategic initiatives.
You don’t need everyone there as it will get too complicated and more likely to overrun.
Highlight achievements, both collective and individual. Share what worked and what didn't. Outline challenges you’ve faced and the measures you took to overcome them. And outline a roadmap for the next quarter.
Take your cues from your current situation: your achievements, challenges and opportunities.
Quarterly review meeting agenda template
- Check in - what's been happening overall?
- Review the goals we set for the last quarter
- Achievements - what are you most proud of
- Blockers - what got in the way that blocked progress?
- Feedback - what could have been done differently?
- Action/next steps
9. Project kick off meeting
What is a project kick off meeting?
A project kick off meeting should happen at the very start of the project, before any lines are drawn in the sand or next steps agreed.
This is the meeting where you establish your common goals and the purpose of the project.
It’s where you lay the foundations upon which your project will be built.
A good kick off meeting will set the course for a successful project with smooth collaboration.
Best practices for project kick off meeting
If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Plan your project kick off meeting in advance.
This meeting should only have the team and key stakeholders attend, people who need to contribute to the project.
If the team hasn't worked together before, have everyone introduce themselves and maybe use an icebreaker exercise to relax people and get them all on the same page.
Project kick off meeting agenda template
Align your team on the mission and scope of the new project before agreeing roles and next steps:
- Background & context to the project
- Purpose: define the mission statement for the project
- Scope: define what is in and out of scope
- Headline timelines & deliverables
- Roles of those contributing to the project
- Time for any questions
- Next steps and plan for ongoing review / governance
10. Project status update meeting
What is a project status update meeting?
In a project status update meeting, participants share information about progress in the project across all departments and teams involved.
It can be a standalone meeting on its own, or you can insert it as a section into an all-hands meeting, or a quarterly review.
The point of a project status update meeting is to inform key stakeholders about progress (if you’re inserting it as a section in a wider meeting), or if it’s a standalone meeting, use it to identify new issues, or action any items that need to be assigned.
Best practices for project status update meeting
If you want to provide an effective project status update, plan what you’re going to say in advance.
Be aware of who will be at your meeting, what they already know, and more importantly - what they need to know.
Not everyone needs to know every minute detail of the project, and they might know it already anyway.
Ask different team members to provide updates, if relevant, but only let them have 2 minutes maximum to talk. You don’t want the meeting to drag on.
Project status update meeting agenda template
A project status meeting should be short and sweet, you only need to ask four essential questions to keep the project on track:
- Project updates: accomplishments and goals that have been met
- Roadblocks: explore the main blockers to successful delivery
- Are there any tasks that need to be adjusted in light of what we've learnt?
- Review upcoming milestones and deadlines
11. Project review meeting
What is a project review meeting?
Project review meetings are used to evaluate how a project went.
They are typically used to assess whether or not project objectives have been met, to examine how well the project was run, to determine any lessons that can be learned for future projects, and to ensure that maximum benefit is extracted from the project.
A great project review meeting allows participants to reflect on what went well during the project, but more importantly, what can be improved ahead of your next project.
Managers - or project leads - should use them to monitor the progress of the project, to modify any aspect of the project that needs amending, and evaluate as well as close out the project.
Best practices for project review meeting
As always, prepare the agenda well in advance.
Create a meeting roadmap with clear, specific, predefined objectives and give everyone a chance to speak.
Project review meeting agenda template
- Project overview: review the project timeline and major events
- Learnings: share something you’ve learned while completing this project
- What worked: acknowledge what has contributed to the success of the project
- Opportunities: identify improvements that should be made for the next project
- Action items: how will you put the team’s learnings into action?
12. Goal setting meeting
What is a goal setting meeting?
A goal setting meeting is one in which a manager will work with their team members to set individual goals. This should be both individual goals and collective team goals.
It’s a meeting where you can review the organization's existing goals and align them with the individual’s or team’s current position.
As the process unfolds, you’ll be able to see what has been accomplished already, how successful you have been since your last goal setting meeting, and what needs to be achieved should become apparent.
Best practices for a goal setting meeting
When it comes to running a goal setting meeting, there are a few points it’s worth keeping in mind, namely: managers need to have enough oversight of your business strategy so they have context of what’s happened previously, to understand their current trajectory and where they need to go.
Goal setting is best done collaboratively.
Have individuals share their goals with managers, or have team members share what they’re doing so everyone knows how their activity is interrelated, and that they’re all accountable for achieving the overall goals.
If everyone knows what they’re working towards, it’s easier to make informed decisions, and prioritize the work that matters.
Creating goals together ensures everyone is pulling in the same direction and re-engages any team members who are losing motivation.
Empower employees to regularly update their goals as and when required. Build flexibility into the processso that as a project or task evolves, employees can adapt goals to keep meeting business needs.
Goal setting meeting agenda template
- Share goal setting aim
- Review organization vision, mission and values
- Provide context
- Host individual and team brainstorming
- Review goal themes
- Prioritize goals
13. Goal progress review meeting
What is a goal progress review meeting?
A goal progress review meeting can be both a one to one between employees and a manager, or a team meeting.
It’s where managers set goals for their direct reports, and ensure their goals are aligned with the rest of the team and the organization as a whole.
Best practices for goal progress review meeting
Write a meeting agenda and distribute it ahead of the meeting. Everyone needs time to prepare the right information.
A goal progress review meeting isn’t the time to air complaints or raise change requests, or explain the minutiae of a problem.
A goal progress review meeting is just that, it’s to simply update everyone with where you are on working towards the goals, and raising any blockers that could affect progress.
Goal progress review meeting agenda template
For each of your goal objectives, prepare relevant metrics ahead of the meeting in order to assess progress and confidence.
- Is the goal on track?
- What did we learn last week?
- What did we do right?
- What's our confidence score for this goal?
- What are our plans to deliver the goal?
- What should we do differently next time?
- Who is responsible for delivering this ?
14. Goal wrap up meeting
What is a goal wrap up meeting?
The purpose of a goal wrap up meeting is to close out your current goal cycle.
When done properly, closing you team goals provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on what's occurred.
Best practices for goal wrap up meetings
Get in the habit of holding an end of goal review everytime you reach a goal.
It’s easy to move onto the next goal without pausing for breath, but it can be invaluable for reflecting on what’s just happened and sharing lessons learned before starting a new goal.
Analyze the data and determine what worked and what didn’t, and make sure you get feedback from all participants.
Document lessons learned and make sure you share all knowledge with the rest of the organization.
Identify where you have strategic knowledge gaps and prioritize filling them.
Goal wrap up meeting agenda template
For each of your objectives, ask the following questions:
- Did we accomplish this objective?
- What obstacles did we encounter?
- How would you honestly assess our execution: Excellent, Good, OK or Poor?
- What have we learned in pursuing these goals?
- When will we next meet to set our shared goals
Optimize meetings to support hybrid teams
The challenge of keeping a team aligned and on track is made even more difficult when the team is a remote or hybrid workforce.
By optimizing meetings and only choosing those that are truly beneficial to the team, can managers maximize team efficiency and keep the cost of meetings low—both from a financial and employee wellbeing perspective.
At Saberr, we help teams think differently about their meetings. We help them improve the quality of conversations that take place in them, and we help make them more impactful and productive.
We do this using a combination of experiential and digital coaching.
While our masterclasses and face-to-face coaching sessions can help change mindsets and equip managers with the support, techniques and frameworks for running better meetings, our software combines nudge coaching technology and machine learning capabilities to reinforce this learning, deliver contextually relevant learning resources, and ultimately help them develop the habits needed to lead high performing teams.
In fact with Saberr, your managers not only get access to learning content, conversation guides, and exercises that will allow them to develop their coaching skills and have more meaningful conversations, but they’ll also have these resources and smart tips delivered in the flow of their day-to-day work.