Read more

What To Cover in Your First Team Meeting Agenda

Nervous about organising your first team meeting as a manager? Worry no more.

This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.

First meetings can always be tough.

Much like the very first day of school, you have no idea what you’re signing up for. But unlike the quintessential first day of  school, first team meetings come with a lot of weightage - you want to align everyone and build rapport. Most importantly, you want to start off on the right foot. 

Yes, we get it. Setting up a first team meeting can seem like a lot of pressure to take up on one’s shoulders, you want to make a good impression and set a positive tone while ensuring that your meeting is productive and delightful. 

Why is that first team meeting important?

When a company introduces a new manager, it's important for them to learn about their new team. By learning their strengths and weaknesses, a manager can optimise their team's talents to ensure a successful work environment. 

The first meeting between a manager and their team helps establish relationships. The manager understands their employee's experience, goals and preferred work environment. Simultaneously, team members can learn more about their managing style and work ethics. 

Five important topics to cover in your meeting agenda:

1. Get to know each other through Icebreakers

Getting to know your team is important because it helps build trust. You can’t work with someone without getting to know them. More importantly, you don’t want to work with someone you don’t like working with/for. By letting your team know that you’re interested in building a working relationship with them, you’re creating a safe space to foster collaboration and accountability. So how do you take that first step to getting to know each other better?

It’s simple. You introduce yourself first: why you joined the company, what have you done, your hobbies and your passions. Go around the table and ask everyone to do the same. Repeat until necessary. Clueless about what kind of icebreakers to start off with? We have a few examples to help you get started:

Personal life-related icebreakers:
  • What are your hobbies in life?
  • How do you like to begin your way?
  • What does your ideal weekend look like?

Passion-related icebreakers:
  • What is your favourite book?
  • Who is your favourite musician?
  • What album can you listen to on repeat?

Favourite things-related icebreakers:
  • What’s your guilty pleasure in life?
  • What’s your perfect comfort food?
  • Which is your favourite reality TV show?

Travel and adventure-related icebreakers:
  • When was the last time you took a vacation?
  • If money and time were not an issue, where would you like to take a month long holiday?
  • What place are you most excited about visiting?

This-or-that-related icebreakers:
  • Mountains or beaches?
  • Burgers or pizzas?
  • Promotions or more recognition?
  • Would you rather be able to teleport or time travel?
  • Would you rather win the lottery or win a Nobel prize?

2. Manage communication expectations

It’s the role of the leader to set expectations and explain processes. In fact, your internal processes and frameworks can make or break the team’s success. Good leaders set lofty goals for their team’s and drive them towards the fulfilment of their vision. Great leaders include the team in the mission planning process and inspire them to collectively find the path to achieve the team's vision. Communicating your expectations is also another way to ensure that new team members know how to act. A handy tip is to ask everyone on the team to share their best and worst work experiences. This helps the team understand good and bad dynamics and ensures that everyone’s on the same page.

Align everyone on the best way to communicate with you (and as a team).  Ask them how often they would like to meet for 1-1’s (once a week or once a fortnight) and team meetings (once a week or once a fortnight). Find out how frequently you can review goals together (but make sure it’s a combined decision).

3. Ask for proactive feedback

Feedback is how we people can work better, thus, giving your team regular feedback is a very important task as a manager. But very often, we get so caught up in giving feedback that we forget to ask for our own.

If you’re worried that asking for proactive feedback might dissuade your team (no one wants to bell that cat when it comes to their manager), you can ask them do it anonymously. You are more likely to get truthful answers - no one wants to be that person who publicly critiques their superior at work. How do we do that? Hold anonymous polls after meetings where you ask your team on how you can improve your team meetings.

4. Leave room for questions from the team

One of the most important markers of a meeting is to allow time for questions. However, this is especially crucial in the first team meeting because you are providing your team with a lot of new information while also setting the tone for future meetings. Let’s face, we’ve all been to meetings where we’re confused about what’s going on and asked ourselves this: ‘If I ask that out aloud, would it sound like a stupid question?’

Remember: there’s no so such thing as a stupid question (just like there’s no such thing as a wrong question). Q&A sessions make meetings collaborative and inclusive. You’re helping the team open up to new perspectives (while also aligning them with yours). 

As a manager, it’s vital to provide a safe, judgement-free space for questions. If you don’t want to break the flow of meetings (since you’re following the agenda to the tee), ask your team to send questions in advance. You can then come prepared to the meeting.

5. Allocate action items and send a meeting recap

End with a quick summary of the meeting (and any insights that might have come out of it) and set up action items to follow through. It’s important to include action items in your meeting agenda because it tells people what they need to do next (yes, this sounds simple but you’d be surprised how many people often get confused).

Sure, more experienced employees might read between the lines and come up with their own action items at the end of the meeting, but newer employees will never say no to some hand-holding. Providing them with as much guidance as possible is important. Plus, sometimes people might forget. By noting down the action items with the right software (like Dive), you’re making them more accountable for their tasks.

Don’t forget a meeting recap (which includes the action items) so that team members who might have missed the meeting can be informed on decisions made and action items assigned.

Some final tips and recommendations for leading your first team meeting:

  1. Be intentional about what you want people to take away from each item (and interaction) on the meeting agenda.
  2. Be open to feedback (and more importantly, be prepared to listen).
  3. Acknowledge that you’re constantly learning too. It’s a meeting of equals.
  4. Create a plan for the first ninety days and loop in everyone on it.
  5. Take note of your mistakes to help you in the future.
  6. Practice what you have to say a few times before you get to the meeting so that it doesn’t sound like a boring monologue.
  7. Make sure you assign someone to take down meeting notes so that everyone’s up to date with the action items post meeting. No meeting notes, no point of having a meeting.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Enjoyed this read?

Stay up to date with the latest remote work insights from our research lab

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Get started

Dive in to your best meetings ever

Free forever plan

No credit card required

Cancel anytime