Meeting Support

CATME Meeting Support provides tools to make team meetings more effective.  Team meetings can be very productive for planning, executing, and evaluating the team’s work.  Too often, however, meetings are inefficient or unproductive because team members do not carefully plan for their team meetings, waste time during meetings, or fail to follow through after meetings to ensure that the work gets accomplished as planned.  The meeting support tools provided on this website are fill-in templates that can be customized to meet the needs of different teams.

Team Charters

Creating team charters is a productive way for newly formed teams to begin their work.  Research shows that using team charters to plan for team interactions and develop goals and strategies for accomplishing the team’s taskwork is associated with better team performance (Mathieu & Rapp, 2009).  Using team charters also improves team processes, resulting in better communication, increased cohesiveness, and higher satisfaction (Aaron, McDowell, & Herdman, 2014).

CATME provides two documents to help teams use this technique.  The first is the CATME Team-Member Preparation document, which members of the team complete individually as soon as the team as formed and circulate to one-another by e-mail or a group dropbox before the team’s first meeting.  This document allows team members to share information about their preferences regarding communication and team interaction, as well as their knowledge, skills, and abilities related to the team’s task.  When everyone on the team reads these documents prior to the first team meeting, the team’s first meeting can be more efficient and productive.

Teams complete the CATME Team Charter document during their first team meeting, making sure to get input from all team members.  This document summarizes critical information about team members’ preferred methods of contact and their strengths and weaknesses related to the project.  It then leads the team through a discussion about how team members will interact to accomplish the team’s work.  Completing the team charter requires team members to come to agreement about team goals and what will be expected of team members.

Meeting Agendas and Minutes

Using agendas is the best way to ensure that team meetings are productive and efficient.  Agendas are circulated to all team members as far in advance of team meetings as practical.  The agenda states the time and place of the meeting and includes a detailed list of what will be discussed or accomplished during the meeting.  The items on this list are called agenda items, and agendas include an estimate of how long the team will spend on each agenda item and who will be responsible for providing input for or leading that part of the meeting.

During meetings, someone takes minutes, or notes about the meeting.  The person designated to do this is called the recording secretary, or simply secretary.  Taking careful notes during the meeting ensures that there is an accurate record of the team’s discussion, what was accomplished during the meeting, and what individual work each team member agreed to do by the next meeting or some other deadline.  As soon as possible after the meeting, the secretary circulates the minutes by e-mailing them to all team members or posting them in a team dropbox.  All team members should immediately review the minutes to make sure that they accurately reflect what was said and done during the meeting.

During the meeting, all team members should record in their personal calendars what they committed to do for the team and by what due date.  If a team member believes that the meeting minutes misstate what he or she agreed to do or the deadline, the person should immediately contact the other team members to resolve the misunderstanding.

The first item on the agenda for a team meeting is normally to review the minutes of the last meeting.  This holds the team and all members accountable for what they previously agreed to do.

CATME Meeting Support provides two documents that combine meeting agendas and meeting minutes.  The team’s secretary completes the agenda portion before the meeting and the minutes portion during the meeting, and circulates a typed version of the minutes as soon after the meeting concludes as possible.

The CATME Team Agenda –Minutes Template is used for one meeting.  The secretary completes a new document for each meeting.  This template is the most appropriate if the team meetings are complex or deal with different issues or tasks each meeting.   The team’s members store the separate files for each meeting in one location that is accessible during team meetings.  This could be a folder on a laptop computer or a notebook that contains paper copies of the minutes of each meeting.

The CATME Team Agenda – Minutes Repeated-Meeting Template is used for a series of team meetings working on the same project.  This template may be convenient for student teams that meet throughout the semester working on one long project.  The secretary adds the agenda for subsequent meetings to the same file as the minutes of the previous meetings.  At the end of the semester, the one document contains a record of all of the team’s meetings.

References

Aaron, J. R., McDowell, W. C., & Herdman, A. O. (2014). The Effects of a Team Charter on Student Team Behaviors. Journal of Education for Business, 89(2), 90-97.

Mathieu, J. E., & Rapp, T. L. (2009).  Laying the foundation for successful team performance trajectories:  The roles of team charters and team performance strategies.  Journal of Applied Psychology, 94 (1), 90-103.