Team Meeting Starter Kit for 2021

How to run effective meetings [tips & templates]

Your meeting’s audience and goals are confirmed—great! But bringing people together for a meeting is only half the battle. The unfortunate truth is that meetings
turn into a waste of time without proper organization. As soon as the meeting starts, you need to keep your team members engaged with the action plan.

What is an effective meeting?

An effective meeting is an inclusive, interactive space for your attendees to brainstorm, be heard, and make decisions—together. Effective meetings are those you prepare for, like setting ground rules and sending out an agenda. During the meeting, that preparation encourages collaboration and a clear decision-making path. For guidance on designing your meetings like a product, read

The structure of an effective meeting

We’ve noticed that people are more willing to participate in a meeting if they feel comfortable. This is why Coda’s meeting structure is built around the idea of inclusivity. Here are 3 steps that you can practice to take a good meeting to a great meeting.

1. Set meeting ground rules.

Ground rules encourage meeting participants to contribute and facilitate respectful communication between all meeting participants. Some useful rules to start with:

Respecting the meeting time.
​Coming prepared with meeting pre-work.
Communicating with a solutions-based mindset.
Allowing everyone to speak.
Making sure everyone is aware of the decision-making process.
Following up on agenda items.

2. Communicate the meeting agenda.

Many poorly run meetings are a result of subpar meeting management. One simple way to avoid a bad meeting is setting and communicating a meeting agenda ahead of time so that everyone can get on the same page and come to the meeting room prepared. Meeting agendas also help with time management.

3. Establish a clear decision-making process.

The most productive meetings translate ideas into action items. Decision-makers should communicate how all the input from team meetings will be prioritized, added to the backlog, and executed as action items.

Run meetings like a pro with these meeting templates

Here are a set of templates to make sure your next meeting is efficient, productive, and inclusive:

Team sentiment tracker

One of Coda’s long-standing meeting rituals, this
template asks your team exactly how they feel. We often add them at the top of our meeting docs, so we can gauge everyone’s temperature (about life, the meeting generally, or the topics at hand) before getting started — what people choose to include can set the tone for the rest of the meeting

Team votes for decision making

Another Coda staple,
are included in nearly every Coda meeting to eliminate bias and minimize a vocal minority. Voting tables also help crowdsource the meeting agenda or last-minute topics that may come up during the meeting.

Sentence starters for team feedback

Giving feedback during a meeting isn’t always a simple ask. Whether your team is hesitant to critique their peers or they’re just not sure what to say, reflecting can feel like pulling team. We try to defang the process with this
template that gives everyone a set of feedback prompts, hides comments until everyone is ready to discuss, and encourages positive affirmation.

Timer for meeting time management

Tangents happen — and meetings end before the goals are accomplished. But not everyone is comfortable interrupting others in order to keep the meeting on track. Let this timer template do the dirty work for you. All you need to do is set the length and hit a button.

Meeting minutes for successful follow up

template gives your team a repository of every action item, agenda, and meeting note, from every single meeting. And they serve as a real-time decision tracker that anyone can reference during and after the meeting.

FAQ on running effective meetings

What makes an effective meeting?

How do you end a meeting?

What are meeting minutes?

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