5 ways to improve weekly meetings with your team

Written by 
David Young
September 8, 2023
An illustrated team meeting held in the Mural platform
5 ways to improve weekly meetings with your team
Written by 
David Young
September 8, 2023

When did you first notice your weekly team meetings might not be hitting the mark? Maybe it was when people began asking questions over email you thought you’d already answered. Or maybe it was when you forgot to show up to that one meeting and, afterwards, no one seemed to notice.

This can happen to anyone. Although weekly meetings can be a great way to keep your team informed and aligned, it can also be hard to keep them focused and impactful. After all, priorities change, projects evolve, and people get easily bored. That’s why, if your meetings don’t feel absolutely essential to everyone, every time, they might be in danger of becoming a waste of time.

So let’s take a moment to reconsider the weekly meeting and what it can do.

What are weekly meetings?

Weekly meetings are regularly scheduled sessions for teams or working groups to get together. Typically, they're used to share updates, discuss ongoing projects, work through challenges and roadblocks, ask questions, and plan for the upcoming week. While they aren't usually strategic, they can be a useful way to keep teams on track as they work through their projects. 

While it may seem silly to define weekly meetings, knowing how to describe what you’re doing and why is the first step to making them more effective.

Benefits of effective weekly meetings

From two-person startups to blue chip enterprises, weekly team meetings are a common occurrence due to the many benefits they can accrue. Here are some of the most prominent: 

  • Better team alignment: Weekly meetings give everyone a regular, predictable time to discuss how their work is going and assess how they’re contributing to the team’s larger goals. This helps make sure everyone is on track, on task, and ready to support each other.
  • Stronger team relationships: Even in close-knit teams, it can be easy to get wrapped up in your own work. However, just by getting everyone together regularly, weekly meetings can build trust and help foster a sense of camaraderie that might otherwise be lacking.
  • Improved collaboration: Team meetings can be a great place for people to share their challenges, communicate their needs, and coordinate with one another in real-time. All of this will help make collaboration much more fluid and natural.
  • Enhanced engagement: When team members know what everyone else is working on, have an opportunity to get quick answers to their questions, and get to contribute to larger discussions around their projects, they’ll likely be much more engaged in their work.
  • Greater flexibility: Regular meetings give teams the chance to quickly adapt to changing circumstances. They have a place to discuss new opportunities, shifts in priorities, and adjustments to strategies, so that they can stay agile.

What should be covered in a weekly meeting?

One of the great things about weekly meetings is their adaptability. They can be used for anything, depending on the goals of the team. However, as a general rule of thumb, you should try to cover as broad of an array of topics as you can without letting the meeting get too long. The following format can be a good place to start:

1. Announcements

Kick off the meeting by running through any important news, upcoming initiatives, or announcements that should be made. This way they won’t be lost in any ensuing discussion. Plus, if your team members have any questions or concerns, there'll still be plenty of time to address them. 

Make sure to ask the team if they have any announcements to make as well. This would be the time for them to share an upcoming period where they’ll be “Out of Office,” some relevant industry news, or anything else that might be of interest to the rest of the team.

2. Team & project updates

Next up, take some time to go over the status of any active projects and review what each team member has been up to. This could be a good opportunity to go around the room and ask everyone to share what they’ve been working on over the past week and what they’ve accomplished. This way, you can keep track of your to-do list and make sure everyone on the team is aligned. 

One common way to do this is by running a daily stand-up. These shorter, daily syncs give teams an opportunity to give status updates on daily work, what they intend to accomplish, and any issues or roadblocks they might have encountered.

The Mural ’wall of work’ template can help further streamline this step for you by creating a central place for team members to mark and change the status of their tasks themselves. It can also act as a central place for the team to check in on the status of project items outside the meeting.

3. Review team goals and performance

Once everyone is caught up with everyone else’s work, use this chance to take stock of how the team as a whole is doing. Remind everyone what your goals and metrics are, and note any recent or upcoming milestones. If you’re on track with your KPIs, great! Tell everyone to keep up the good work. But if it looks like the team is falling off track, it may be necessary to have a discussion about how you can fix it.

Keep in mind, this shouldn’t be the time to call out any individual’s performance. Instead, focus on what the team can do to improve. Try to emphasize ways each member can support one another, as well as how everyone can be more efficient. If someone’s performance is lacking, then save that discussion for a one-on-one.

4. Raise any concerns or problems

Is there a specific problem or obstacle that needs to be addressed? Or is the team worried about something in particular? This is the time to bring it up. By directly addressing an issue this way, you can help gain control of a situation and alleviate any concerns your team may have. 

But what if there’s little consensus on what the problem is? In these cases, it may be more helpful to take a more strategic approach. Our rose, thorn, and bud template can help you gain a better understanding of a situation by illuminating what’s working well, alongside what’s not going so well and any untapped opportunities. This way, you can quickly narrow down the best path toward improvement.

5. Share wins and opportunities

Close out your meeting on a high note by having everyone note any significant (or even minor) successes they had over the past week. Make a point to celebrate each person’s achievements, as well as connect their win to the larger goals of the team. This is an important way to not only motivate the individual, but help keep team morale strong as you go into the work for next week. Hopefully, this will be enough to carry you into your next team meeting.

5 tips for improving your weekly meetings

Even with the best agendas, there can be many reasons why a weekly staff meeting may turn from a regular opportunity to amp up productivity to a time-consuming chore your team just has to get through. Maybe there’s been a breakdown in your team’s relationships, or perhaps there are issues even multiple weeks (or months) of meetings have been unable to resolve. 

Whatever it is, the following strategies can help level-set and make sure you’re putting together more effective meetings.

1. Start by building connection with the team

There’s no issue that can’t be solved if people are willing to work together on it. That’s why, before you start in on your agenda items, it can be smart to first make sure everyone on your team is standing on common ground. 

You could do this by immediately cutting any tension and kicking off with an icebreaker. Or you could simply check in with each team member to see how they’re doing and give them an opportunity to clear their head and focus on the task at hand. Ask your team members how they’re feeling. 

Or, if this is too open-ended for the introverted members among you, try out more interactive ways to gauge everyone’s emotions. This can help set the tone for a more successful and productive meeting later.

2. Collect notes, questions, and follow-up action items during the meeting

If a weekly meeting does anything, it should help team members stay organized and on task. To keep this core function intact, it may be worth reevaluating how you track meeting information and outcomes.

If you don’t have a person doing so already, assign someone to take meeting minutes, record questions, and track any decisions made during the meeting. This will help prevent any confusion or ambiguity afterward about what happened at the meeting. 

Take better meeting notes with your team

Our meeting notes template can make this job even easier by inviting the entire team to collaborate on meeting documentation. Set your meeting goals, outline your weekly meeting agenda, add attendees and their roles, take notes, log decisions, and define your action items. 

After your meeting, the template provides your team with a centralized space to review their conversation or follow-up on meeting action items.

The meeting notes template by Mural
Get started with the meeting notes template from Mural.

3. Give your team ownership over parts or all of the meeting

Your weekly meetings are meant to be for the benefit of your team. So if something about them isn’t working, why not try appealing to team members themselves by giving them more control?

You could do this in several ways. If you’d like to hold on to some aspects of your meeting, take a more incremental approach by reserving the last 10 minutes or so of the meeting for open discussion. Let team members talk about whatever they want.

Alternatively, hold the time for a team member to present something they’ve been working on. You could even have a different person showing off their work each week to highlight what everyone has been up to.

For those of you feeling more adventurous, you could try handing over the reins of the meeting to your team entirely. Let them decide what deserves to be talked about each week. While this may mean no two meetings resemble each other (one week may be devoted to a specific challenge; another to planning a future project), it may not even matter. As long as members are engaged and happy, you’ll have the buy-in you need.

4. Include opportunities for collaboration

Do you find yourself doing all the talking during your meetings? This may be why they’re not working so well. Instead, a simple strategy to make sure everyone stays invested during weekly meetings is to just give them something to do. 

The best way to do this is to create opportunities for collaboration. For example, you could invite team members to participate in a brainstorming session. Or, if coming up with ideas on the fly isn’t comfortable for everyone, you could hold the session asynchronously, then review the results together. 

When it comes time for some decision-making, turn it back to the team. Ask each of them how they'd solve the problem or prioritize the work. Transform the meeting into a place for active collaboration and you’ll make it a more productive and engaging place.

5. Iterate and evolve the meeting to suit your team's needs

Chances are, the work your team is engaged in is changing week by week. Deadlines loom, resources shift, schedules change. This means, in order for your weekly meetings to stay relevant, you’ll need them to evolve as well.

This doesn’t require you to reinvent the wheel each week. Instead, you just need to have the flexibility to focus each meeting on what your team needs most. Rather than sticking to a rigid schedule, you should feel free to adapt the team meeting agenda to answering your team’s questions, for example, or include some time for team problem-solving.

If you’ve noticed that certain aspects of the meeting aren’t working anymore, you should feel free to iterate or even get rid of them entirely. Always aim to make the meeting work for your team, not the other way around.

The bottom line: Lead meetings that your team wants to attend

When they’re going well, weekly team meetings can be a great opportunity for you and your employees to communicate, align, and work through challenges together. But their frequency can also mean they can be taken for granted, turning them from a useful tool into a waste of time. Preventing this from happening requires team leaders to continuously look for ways to make meetings relevant and engaging. They need to meet the changing needs of your employees week after week, again and again.

It takes creativity and persistence to do this — but also the right solutions. With a variety of features and templates designed to increase collaboration and productivity, Mural can be the perfect place to lead effective team meetings and turn them into something your whole team will look forward to. 

Sign up for a free account with Mural to see what it can do for your team.

About the authors

About the authors

David Young

David Young

Contributing Writer
David is a contributing writer at Mural, focused on covering collaboration, meetings, and teamwork. He's been working in the hybrid tech space for over 10 years and has been writing about it nearly as long. When he's not doing that, he's probably cooking up a meal.