How do you know when to hold team meetings? It's a difficult question. If you hold them too often, team members will see them as an inefficient burden on their time, get bored, and stop engaging.
According to BetterMeetings, 78% of people surveyed feel that their meeting schedule is either always or sometimes out of control.
However, if you don't hold meetings often enough, your team objectives can get off track and your results could suffer from lack of brainstorming and collaboration. Remote team members could also start feeling isolated and disconnected, which can damage their morale
Deciding on the perfect meeting cadence for your remote team is essential to balance the line between not meeting enough and meeting "all the time."
To achieve an effective team meeting cadence, meeting leaders need to understand how to set a cadence, refine the meeting cadence over time, and use collaboration tools to increase meeting efficiency and hold better meetings.
A meeting cadence simply refers to the number of meetings you have, when you have them, and how long they are.
Your meeting cadence can be bi-weekly, weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, or quarterly. Following a bi-monthly meeting cadence, for example, means your team meets twice a month.
The concept of a meeting cadence is important for running successful meetings because the right meeting cadence can increase productivity and team effectiveness. Meeting too often or not enough can sabotage your team's success, and hinder its ability to make decisions and put project management initiatives in place.
Don't just automatically decide that weekly team meetings or monthly meetings are the best cadence for your team. There are several considerations to take into account when trying to establish the right cadence.
Here are a few questions that managers can use when trying to build a meeting cadence strategy:
Deciding on the right meeting cadence depends on the type of meeting you're conducting.
Team leaders must consider the meeting attendees, the meeting facilitator, the topic that you'll be covering, and your company. Every business is unique and what's best for one may not work well for another.
Be aware you may not find your perfect meeting rhythm right away, so don't lock yourself into a meeting cadence forever.
Take a transparent, proactive approach with your team, and announce that you will try a new meeting cadence for a while — and if it doesn’t work, you can revisit it in the future.
The category of meeting cadence depends on what you want the meeting to accomplish. Here are some of the most common cadences to choose from:
Daily meetings work well for check-ins, to update team members on pending tasks, and discuss the obstacles blocking their progress.
Meetings that fall under this category are:
A weekly meeting cadence is helpful for getting the team together to review the last week’s progress, and to go over what's on tap for the upcoming week. They're typically held on the same day at the same time every week.
Meetings that fall under this category are:
Some examples of monthly meetings are:
Certain topics are best discussed less often — quarterly meetings work well in these scenarios. Some examples of good quarterly meetings are:
Now that you’ve established what schedule is ideal for the type of meeting you’re planning, what else can you do to make sure the new routine is as successful as possible?
Here are a few additional meeting cadence tips to make sure the right people are there, your agenda is prepared, and your communication is on point.
Sometimes, it feels easier to just invite people you're on the fence about, even if it hinders the meeting's effectiveness. Avoid this pitfall.
Only invite the necessary parties to your meeting, then afterward send the meeting notes to anyone else who needs to be privy to the information. This gives the uninvited people more time in their workday and reduces the chance that the meeting will dissolve into ineffective tangents.
“Winging it” may seem like you're leaving room for spirited debate and bouts of creativity, but you're actually setting yourself — and your team — up for failure. Use an agenda template and carefully map out the meeting topics from beginning to end. If you want to include creative time, add it to the agenda.
Use Range to create a meeting agenda and send it to all the attendees so they will know what to expect during the meeting, and can come prepared with questions or updates.
If your team is small, it's easy to have a daily huddle. Circumstances may change if you have a team of a dozen people or more. Think about your team size as you plan your meeting cadence. While nobody loves long meetings, you need to carve out adequate time to hear out your team members’ needs and obstacles — and give everyone a chance to participate.
Recurring meeting cadences help team members stay on track and frees up time in their schedules to focus on work.
Flexibility is key — don’t get too caught up in sticking to your agenda right down to the second. Things come up: Maybe the location of the meeting needs to change from in-person to via Zoom.
Or, perhaps a meeting runs overtime due to a lengthy but productive brainstorming session. It may even be cut short if you and your team members run through agenda items quickly.
Read the room to get a feel for whether or not your team members find the meeting to be useful, and don’t be afraid to adjust accordingly.
Remember, the goal of your meetings should always be to benefit your team members and the company overall. If you implement a new meeting cadence and meetings seem ineffective, lack engagement, or don't offer actionable plans, consider cutting the cadence down to fewer meetings.
Asynchronous communication is different from real-time meetings, but they can still achieve the same objective. The above meeting cadence strategies apply to asynchronous communication just as much as synchronous communication.
One major benefit of asynchronous communication is that attendees have the flexibility of participating around their schedules — not the other way around (which is necessary for synchronous meetings).
Establishing a cadence for asynchronous communication is similar to establishing one for face-to-face meetings.
With Range check-ins, your team can:
It’s important not to paint all your meetings with the same brush, as synchronous and asynchronous meetings require slightly different approaches.
Synchronous, in-person meetings are excellent for information-seeking sessions. This includes project kick-offs and one-on-ones, where direct input from team members is highly valuable to the process.
Asynchronous meetings are better suited for information-giving meetings, such as project updates, daily stand-ups, and check-ins.
The synchronous format may work better for quick sharing, while the asynchronous format might be more beneficial for in-depth, long-term collaboration. Again, it pays to think about what you're trying to accomplish, and then decide which format best suits that goal.
By automating your stand-up and check-in meeting cadences, meeting management tools like Range can free up your attendees' schedules while still providing all the benefits of a face-to-face meeting. Over time, these cadences will become second nature for both on-site and remote team members.
Meeting management software make it easier for team members to engage when it’s convenient for them.
As a manager, tools like Range give you access to team communications, meeting notes, and task follow-ups all in one place.
This gives you better insights into what your team is working on, and what each person has on their plate. Similarly, team members have one-touch access to you and their coworkers, so it’s easy to fire off a question to someone via a chat feature and get a written response that they can refer to later.
Figuring out the meeting cadence that's right for your team can be challenging. By planning it thoughtfully and keeping what you want to accomplish at the top of your mind, you can lay out a cadence that doesn't take up too much time, includes the right attendees, stays on track, effectively shares communication, and pushes projects forward.
A good meeting cadence keeps team members updated and focused on their goals, helps pinpoint and overcome obstacles, and provides a way for them to feel included as part of the team.