Team Meeting Starter Kit for 2021
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How to run effective meetings your team will love

Your guide to running engaging, inclusive meetings that everyone will want to attend.
Last updated: 7/23/2021

This Starter Kit showcases free, time-saving templates focused on helping you lead meetings your team actually wants to attend and eliminate the ones that no longer serve you. And each template is customizable, so you can plan, facilitate, and follow up on meetings—in a way that works best for you.

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Learn more about Coda


Before we get into
how
to run effective meetings, let’s talk about
why
team meetings are held.

What is the purpose of team meetings?

From 1:1s to board meetings, we think of meetings as the backbone of how work gets done, as something we can (and should) design. Every aspect of meetingsーfrom pre-read information to gathering feedback in a way that’s more inclusive to video conferencing etiquetteーreflect our culture and create genuine opportunities for productive collaboration. Hear more about our meeting philosophy from the person who designed Coda’s first meetings: our CEO and co-founder Shishir Mehrotra.


A 4-part framework for effective meetings.

So many meetings are poorly run. No clear agenda. Derailed discussion. Notes without clear action items and owners. On a spectrum of meetings, we’re willing to bet you often find yourself closer to “should have been an email” than “incredible discussion.” And because time is money, it’s unsurprising that a
found poorly organized meetings cost US companies $399 billion a year.

Here’s a four-part framework that you can apply to meetings with your Board of Directors, committee meetings, webinars, and everything in between. Below, we’ll show you how to better prepare for your meeting, encourage collaboration, ensure your meeting is efficient, and follow up when the meeting is over.

1. How to prepare for your meeting.

To get started, think of any product you use. Even the simplest of products (Flappy Bird, anyone?) have months, if not years, of planning and development before launch. While your meetings probably don’t require months of prep, firmly nailing down your meeting mechanics before the meeting begins makes for a smoother start and leaves space for deep collaboration.

Start with some pre-meeting prep.

How many times have you forgotten to bring up a Very Important Topic during a meeting, despite the Post-It note stuck to your computer? This
template will help focus your meeting’s goals by bringing your meeting schedule and burning questions into a single table. Type
/pre-meeting prep
into your doc—and ditch the stickies.

Add a few notes and re-assign priorities. 👇
Meeting prep
1
Event
Notes
Start
End
Priority
1
Strategy session
Complete comparative analysis.
Bring social media copy examples.
Make sure all internal stakeholders are invited.
11/10/2020, 8:00 AM
11/10/2020, 9:00 AM
2
Lunch & Learn
11/11/2020, 9:00 AM
11/11/2020, 10:30 AM
3
Meeting with TJ
This is just a follow-up from our last meeting. No action items!
11/12/2020, 8:00 AM
11/12/2020, 9:00 AM
4
Team dinner
Where are we having this again?
11/12/2020, 2:00 PM
11/12/2020, 3:00 PM
No results from filter

Have a meeting agenda.

Whether you’re meeting face-to-face in a conference room or over Zoom, meetings are just as much about interpersonal communication between team members as they are about work.
from Zapier CEO and co-founder Wade Foster: Ask your working group directly about their current mood. Give them time before the meeting to consider their answer and add any potential discussion topics to the agenda.

With this
template, you can adapt Wade’s method. Add it to your doc with
/remote meeting agenda
.

Select a sentiment. 👇

🎾 Smooth sailing

Use a team meeting tracker.

While preparing properly and providing an agenda both set the tone for your meeting, sometimes you need a solution that brings everything together in a way that simplifies the process for you and your team. This
template, for example, defines the purpose of the meeting and establishes a set of guiding principles so that expectations are clear before the meeting begins. After, this meeting planner can serve as a reference point for all stakeholders on decisions made.

2. How to encourage collaboration in team meetings.

Your meeting’s audience and goals are confirmed—great! But bringing people together for a meeting is only half the battle. Now you need to keep them engaged. We’ve noticed that people are more willing to participate in a meeting if they feel comfortable, so Coda’s meeting structure is built around the idea of inclusivity and accessibility.

Read the room with a team sentiment check-in.

Like the
, this
template invites your team to lay it all on the table. And because it’s not directly tied to your meeting’s agenda, you’re free to insert this thermometer anywhere, like at the end of the project brief you’re presenting or the top of your virtual lunch table doc. Start checking in with your team by typing
/team sentiment tracker
.

Weigh-in. 👇

Add your sentiment

How do you feel about the upcoming launch?

Check to show everyone's sentiment (
3
submitted with average sentiment of
2.67
)
Sentiment
Reflection
Submitted by
1
We’re making great progress toward launch!
LT
Lola Tseudonym
2
I’m confused as to why we’re not tracking metrics yet.
BD
Buck Dubois
3
I need to be more productive this sprint.
FM
Felix Marlin
There are no rows in this table

Encourage group discussion with voting tables.

We use
in every single Coda meeting—especially now that we’ve moved from a space where you could gauge body language, raise hands, draw on a whiteboard to a virtual meeting space. No matter the meeting size or who is attending, we’ve turned this template into a ritual that works to eliminate bias and the vocal minority. By running a
and inviting people to ask questions or propose discussion topics at any point during the meeting, the
/voting table
empowers and encourages everyone to participate, from the wallflower to the remote teammates. You could also try engaging your team with this
.

Collect feedback with the “I like, I wish” method.

How do you honor the human element as much as the technology and business element, and something as simple as a meeting? George Kembel, Stanford
co-founder

When the meeting goal is to gather feedback, we try to combat groupthink with George Kembel’s
template. This simple combination of tables allows us to hide the team’s comments until everyone is ready to discuss. And if things start to get tense, we can easily shift the focus to positive affirmation by encouraging claps. Add it to your doc with
/I like, I wish
.

Clap it up.👇
Team feedback
1
Starter
Feedback
From
👏
I like...
3
the tone - it really speaks to our core audience!
LT
👏
2
the new design - it’s gorgeous! 😍
LT
👏
9
how well you articulated our core values
PR
👏
11
I wish...
3
to make the font size a bit bigger
AC
👏
3
the mark was slightly friendlier
MM
👏
9
the second option was more user focused
PR
👏

3. How to run efficient meetings.

In our experience, planning for a meeting doesn’t guarantee its efficiency. Meetings with carefully planned agendas can get sidetracked, especially without an agreement (or a person) to keep the discussion on track. And others might be productive, but in the wrong way—like when there’s a great conversation that isn’t focused on the goal or topic at hand. Here are two templates to help keep everyone accountable.

Use a timer.

Time is a resource your team will never have enough of. So why not save them from another meeting-long tangent with an
? Preventing everyone from getting lost in the discussion (or debate) is your responsibility. But don’t be afraid to let a
/timer
do the dirty work.

Start the clock.👇

Set timer for:
00
45
minutes
1
Start 45 minute timer
⏲ Start timer
↩ Reset
There are no rows in this table

Take simple meeting notes.

Imagine a living archive of every action item, agenda, and meeting note, from every single meeting. One place where you can neatly organize your team’s meetings in one place. A single doc that any stakeholder can go to in a month and know exactly what was decided, and how. With
, all you need to do is duplicate a page.

4. How to follow up after your meeting.

The meeting may be over, but your work is not. Like a newly-launched product, meetings benefit from a PR cycle. We remind team members of their action items, loop-in those that couldn’t make the meeting, and provide visibility to stakeholders. Think of it as your post-meeting thank you cards.

Take action with decision memos.

With or without decision making, we make a habit out of turning raw meeting notes into something more formal that’s shared out with the team—like a press release for your meeting. The prompts in this
template can be a helpful guide to the context you’re providing the team.

Automate with the email-a-page button.

Habits are easier formed when the action itself is simple. With this template, sending out meeting notes, decision memos, and everything between is as easy as clicking a button. Get started by adding an
to your doc.

Add an email below and click the button.👇
Emails
0
Email Address
There are no rows in this table
Email the addresses above


Let’s face it, you’ll lead and attend countless meetings over the course of your career. You're a meeting professional. Designing effective meetings like you would design a product gives you an active role in your team’s productivity. And turns your meeting docs into virtual symposiums: inclusive, interactive spaces for your attendees to write, brainstorm, be heard, and make decisions—together.

If you need help
building docs
or
have tips for making beautiful docs
, please share on
.

💡 Have a drag-and-drop template idea? Email
to let us know!

Team meetings FAQ

What are the different types of team meetings?

What makes an effective team meeting?

What are the benefits of well-run meetings?

How long should a meeting take?


A few of the 25,000+ teams that 🏃‍♀️ on Coda.

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Coda is an all-in-one doc for your team’s unique processes — the rituals that help you succeed. Teams that use Coda get rid of hundreds of documents, spreadsheets, and even bespoke apps, to work quickly and clearly in one place. This template is a Coda doc. Click around to explore.

Find out how to Coda-fy your rituals.
Connect with a Rituals Architect

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