Staff Meeting Agenda: Strategies for Engaging Meetings

Staff Meeting Agenda: Strategies for Engaging Meetings

Ever heard your employees say, “This meeting could have been an email.”?

Team meetings occupy valuable time from work hours, and unless they are well-prepared, they turn into unproductive meetings, aka a waste of time. This is why it is crucial to design a staff meeting agenda that is both engaging and efficient.

A team meeting organizer is in charge of making sure that the meeting is focused, meets meeting objectives, and encourages the participation of the entire team.

Luckily, there are some proven strategies for creating team meeting agendas that will get everybody excited and make them look forward to every next meeting.

staff meeting agenda - graphic image

How to design an effective meeting agenda?

An effective team meeting agenda is an agenda that covers all crucial topics while ensuring they are well-structured and each topic has a facilitator and timekeeper.

The key steps of crafting effective team meeting agendas are:

  1. Establishing the purpose of the meeting
  2. Identifying agenda items that need to be covered
  3. Prioritizing the topics accordingly
  4. Allocating time for each topic cleverly
  5. Assigning a time limit for each topic

Staff meeting agenda template

Here at Plai, we know the importance of team meeting agenda templates. A well-prepared template saves you time from preparing each team meeting agenda from scratch. 

Moreover, it prevents you from overseeing certain elements you need to add to the agenda, such as resources that meeting participants need in order to prepare.

This is why we have designed a great team meeting agenda template you can download and start using right away.

Strategies for engaging staff during meetings

From the very first one-on-one meeting with a new employee, you are getting them ready for an environment in which teamwork and collective participation are the key values.

Throughout their involvement within the company, they will witness all types of meetings: weekly Scrum, informal meetings, team meetings to brainstorm ideas, etc. In order to make the best out of each session and ensure everyone is actively involved, include the following practices in your meeting agendas.

Share the agenda in advance

As soon as you know the meeting date, set the meeting agenda and share it with the participants. The agenda clarifies which topics will be discussed at the meeting, and which will not.

Timely distribution of the agenda allows for each team member to prepare for the call, e.g. results to share with the rest of the team, questions they have regarding the project, etc.

Moreover, a well-prepared agenda includes links and documents vital to the meeting, making sure that everyone involved is on the same page.

Designate roles for each participant

The key to a meeting where everyone is awake and involved is to assign a role for each team member. This means that not only does the team leader get to facilitate an agenda item, but other participants have these responsibilities as well.

To include other participants in the meeting dynamics, assign them tasks such as keeping meeting notes or timekeeping for different agenda items.

If you are using a project management tool, you can tag the participants in the agenda, allowing them to know their roles prior to the meeting. That way, you will save time from delegating roles at the beginning of each huddle.

Start with positivity

Effective team meetings are not only about generating solutions for challenges and ensuring the projects are on the right track. They are also about establishing an open communication channel and creating an inclusive environment for the whole team.

If you organize agenda items starting with positive announcements and praises for the good work you are all doing, you will boost the serotonin levels within the team and start a natural workflow for the rest of the meeting.

Stay focused and on time

Arm with clock to display how to stay focused

Rule number one of a productive meeting is to start the meeting on time. Keep a clear agenda, and make sure that all agenda topics have a time limit.

At some point during the meeting, participants tend to go off-topic. This is where the facilitator comes in, bringing the conversation back to the focus and ensuring the meeting's objective is met.

Incorporate icebreakers

Icebreakers are very useful for getting things started, warming up the team members, and preparing them for a productive meeting. 

Activities such as a set of questions for the participants to get to know each other are particularly handy during the virtual meetings when not everybody gets to see each other.

Encourage collaboration and participation

Encourage collaboration and participation

Making sure everybody is involved can be quite challenging when you are hosting a remote meeting. 

At the beginning of the call, ask all remote employees to turn their cameras on. If the group is too big, make sure to ask direct questions to those participants who did not yet get to speak and encourage them to share their opinion.

When you design a weekly team meeting agenda, assign talking points to different teammates every week. When it makes sense, assign a topic to the groups of two, encouraging them to work together prior and during the meeting.

Rotate facilitators

Assign different facilitators to different topics in the team meeting agenda. By including multiple team members in the organization of the meeting, you are making them feel included and encouraging direct participation.

Seek feedback and make adjustments

In order for every next meeting agenda to be even better than the previous one, check the meeting minutes after every gathering. Check the key metrics such as how long the topic lasted, whether the objectives were met, and how many participants were actively included.

Moreover, ask for participants' insight and direct feedback for improving the future meetings.

Foster a transparent and open work culture

The objective of particular meetings can be different, but overall regular team meetings contribute to the personal and professional development of your employees, inspiring them to grow and be more involved within the company.

Design every team meeting agenda with an open space for questions and ideas. Encourage participants to speak freely, in a judgment-free environment and thank them for their contributions.

How to incorporate interactive activities into staff meetings

The best way to ensure no one is asleep during the meeting is to engage them in an activity. Interactive activities are beneficial because they encourage direct participation, allow for the participants to work with each other, plus can be fun and energizing.

Depending on the team size, the simplest way to make things interactive in your meeting is to divide a large group into smaller ones or pair random teammates and give them a task. Ask them to brainstorm ideas for a specific meeting topic or to share good news from the previous week with each other.

There are physical energizers you can play in the office to get the blood running at the beginning of the meeting, such as “throw the ball”. The ball is being thrown within a circle, and the person holding it gets to share their idea related to the topic discussed.

How to handle distractions during meetings and keep staff engaged

The most common distractions in online staff meetings are an invalid meeting link, delay at the start of the meeting or random noise coming from someone’s unmuted microphone. There are cute distractions, such as a pet walking into a frame, that can be tolerated occasionally.

The easiest way to prevent distractions in an online call is to ask the participants to join a few minutes earlier, making sure the link works for everyone. At the beginning of the call, ask everyone to mute their mike while not speaking.

Finally, the best way of dealing with distractions that keep happening is to talk it out with the source of the distraction. Open communication is the easiest and most efficient way of dealing with the situation and moving on to the next step in the agenda.

How to encourage quieter team members to participate in meetings

Not everyone is comfortable speaking their mind openly in front of a group of people. Even though it is crucial for each team member to contribute, you shouldn’t pressure anyone to speak when they don’t feel happy about it.

To hear from a shy or quiet participant during the meeting, you can encourage team members to write their ideas in the chat during the call. Moreover, ask the participants to write a few ideas down and submit them prior to the meeting itself.

If valued team members are dealing with insecurity or anxiety, and are more comfortable expressing themselves in one-on-one meetings, let them know this option is also available with the team lead.


Staff meetings are easier to organize within people management software that enables you to schedule the call, assign tasks to teammates, and create follow-up tasks in one place.

With Plai, you can share all relevant information prior to the meeting and foster a collaborative environment by inspiring peers to work together to solve a problem. Plus, you can use our free staff meeting templates to save time on designing new agenda every week.

Schedule Plai demo and start hosting engaging and productive meetings today.

Andrii Bas

Andrii Bas

Product Strategist, People & Performance

Founder of 3 products and product development agency @Uptech before 25. Use and consult about OKRs, performance management, and team leadership for 4+ years.

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