First Team Meeting Best Practices

February 28, 2020

“The first meeting with a new team is important. Plan for your success.”

As a founder, manager or team leader, you certainly want to impress your hire in the first meeting. However, that first team meeting is a daunting task, and a successful meeting doesn’t just happen. This is a process of pressure that takes you a considerable amount of preparation and decision. The following steps are helpful to assist you through meeting preparation and meeting management.

Meeting Preparation

Identify The Purpose of The Meeting

Purpose needs to be clearly determined to prevent participants from confusing. The purpose of the first team conference should be for information sharing, planning and relationship building. It would be best if you defined the specific goals and expected outcomes in advance of the meeting.

Select Appropriate Participants

As part of meeting preparation, it is necessary to include people from all aspects of the profession that will make an impact. Make sure you invite everyone who should be included in your beginning team conference and share the purpose of meeting with them. For the first meeting with the new hire, also introduce relevant names in advances so they can get to know each other before meeting started.

Set The Meeting Location

Easy access should be put on the priority list. You should choose a conference room that has enough space for attendees to sit comfortably, usually in a circle or semicircle. You also need to check other facilities and factors such as window glare, room temperature, background noise and availability of restrooms. It is crucial to ensure that the attendees have ease of access to the power outlets if necessary.

Define Meeting Duration

The purpose of the meeting should define the meeting duration. As for your first team session, the ideal duration is around 30 to 60 minutes. You don’t want it either too short or too long. At times you handle a new big team and 60 minutes are too short to cover all the aspects. It may be appropriate to have a long meeting. In such cases, make sure breaks are included and all priority points are discussed in the first 60 minutes.

Write An Agenda

Agendas are powerful tools to help you focus and set the priority topics for the meeting. They also provide a clear list and help the chairperson set a time limit for each topic, stick to the original plan and keep the meeting on track to control the meeting effectively. An effective agenda should be created prior to the meeting and distributed before the meeting begins.

Meeting Management

Welcome to Attendees

Welcome attendees to the meeting as a signal of the session’s beginning. Present the purpose, objectives and timeline of the meeting.

Distribute The Meeting Agenda

After the welcoming, the next step is to provide everyone with a copy of the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. Give your team members 3 minutes to browse over the agenda and understand the process of the meeting. Give them at least 7 more minutes to think of questions and write down briefly the things they want to say or contribute in the meeting.

Check-in With Participants

In this process, your aim is to put the team at ease. The majority of people do get excitedly nervous at their first meeting with the new manager and it’s unhealthy. The role of a chairman is to make participants feel comfortable during the meeting. You can start by encouraging each person to share how things are going with them that morning or afternoon, and whether they have any life issues that may affect their participation in the meeting.

Introduce Your Role

A brief introduction of your professional background is important. First meeting is a chance for the team to get to know their new leader. Simple style and transparent way to introduce are highly suggested. Be confident and share your experiences, especially those relevant to your team’s experiences and aspirations.

Build Relationships

It’s always difficult to work well with coworkers you don’t have rapport with. Building relationships is essential. It helps build trust. The more trust people have in you, the more effectively you run your team. The key to building relationships is to get to know your new team members through a list of questions. Icebreaker questions could be anything related to their hobbies, their favourite books, quotes, places or who they want to become.

Set Goals

It’s never too early to set goals. An ambitious goal acts as a strong motivation and pushes your team to go ahead. You need to clarify what the team is progressing towards and share your plan to support them to achieve the goal. Keep in mind that never go too hard at the first team meeting, otherwise, your team will think they’re being forced to get to the goal.

Turn On Your Listening Mood

If there’s one thing that new leaders need to remember, it’s that over-communication at the first team meeting is an overkill. Let your team know that you’re here to listen and to learn. You want to urge them to ask and you also need to show your intention of supporting them. A respectful attitude towards every opinion of your team members is eventually a big win for your first team session.

There is no standard method to follow for the first team meeting. As each team has different styles, from the team members, the challenges they cope with to the goals that need to be achieved, the effective key is to have a well-prepared plan and a proper communication. Taking on a leadership role for the first time is challenging, but once you get it exactly right, you create a great first impression and build a long-term trust within your team.


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