If you’re a manager or a leader, you probably know the importance of catch-up meetings. Also known as status meetings or check-ins, catch-up meetings are essential for keeping your team engaged and updated.
But do you know how to make them effective? Read this blog to find out. In this article, we’ll cover:
- What is a catch-up meeting?
- What to discuss in catch-up meetings?
- Practices for running effective catch-up meetings
- Catch-up meeting agenda template
So, let’s get right into it.
What is a catch-up meeting?
Catch-up meetings are where two or more coworkers who haven’t engaged for some time meet.
Unlike formal meetings with set objectives, presentations, and goals, catch-up meetings are relaxed, casual, and brief. They don't have a fixed meeting cadence. You can discuss work and personal matters, celebrate wins, vent your frustrations, or support each other’s goals.
Catch-up meetings can help teams work more effectively and achieve better results by providing a space for honest communication and sharing ideas. They promote collaboration, innovation, and job satisfaction.
According to a study by Gallup, teams with employees that are highly engaged churn around 23% more in profits.
Think of these meetings as a refreshing break from the monotony of work to form connections beyond the rigidity of regular work and meetings.
Are catch-up meetings formal or informal?
Generally, catch-up meetings are informal. It helps create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where people can share their thoughts and feelings without feeling pressured or judged.
Where and when to host catch-up meetings?
Catch-up meetings can take place in both offline and online settings, depending on the preferences and availability of the participants.
In offline settings, catch-up meetings are usually held in comfortable and relaxed environments, such as coffee shops, parks, or office meeting rooms.
However, catch-up meetings also happen online with the rise of remote work and virtual meetings. Virtual catch-up meetings are a convenient way to connect with team members who work remotely or have busy schedules.
What to talk about during catch-up meetings?
Since catch-up meetings are informal, there is no specific way to go about them. The field is open for you to talk about anything or everything.
Still, here are a few topics and some icebreaker questions:
- Your current work-life balance
- Your mental health
- Your goals and aspirations
- How you feel about the current leadership
- Personal life updates
Your current work-life balance
Talk about managing your time and energy between your work and personal responsibilities.
- Are you feeling overwhelmed or stressed by your workload?
- Do you have enough time to relax and recharge?
- What strategies or tips do you use to maintain a healthy work-life balance?
Your current mental health
Reflect on your current mental state and how you tackle the obstacles that come your way.
- Are you feeling satisfied with your current situation?
- Do you have any worries or concerns affecting your mental well-being?
- What resources or support systems do you rely on to manage your mental health?
Your goals and aspirations
Discuss your short and long-term goals and your current aspirations from your workplace and personal life.
- How are you progressing toward your goals?
- What are some of the challenges or opportunities you’ve encountered along the way?
- How can your teammates help you achieve your goals or support you?
How you feel about the current leadership
Share your thoughts and opinions on the company's current leadership and how effective their management is.
- Do you feel inspired or motivated by their vision and direction?
- Do you feel valued and respected by their feedback and recognition?
- Do you have any suggestions or feedback to improve their leadership style or skills?
Personal life updates
Share recent updates, events, or experiences from your personal life.
- Have the new changes in your life affected you or changed you?
- What are some things you’re looking forward to or excited about in the near future?
- What are some things in life you’re grateful for or proud of?
Practices for running effective catch-up meetings
- Ask questions and be curious
- Break the ice
- Be a good listener
- Offer your support
- Strengthen bonds
- Review current progress
- Give and take feedback
- Set up a meeting cadence
Ask questions and be curious
Catch-up meetings are more meaningful when you ask relevant and insightful questions. Don’t just ask how they’re doing; it might lead to a template answer like “I’m fine.” Instead, ask them what’s on their mind, how they’re feeling, and how they’re coping with their work. Just don’t invade any personal boundaries.
If they say something interesting or important, follow up with another question. It shows that you care about them and are interested in what they have to say.
Break the ice
Catch-up meetings should feel relaxed and friendly, not stiff and formal. To create a comfortable atmosphere, start with a fun or interesting question, a joke, a compliment, or a personal story that relates to the topic of the meeting. You can also talk about their hobbies or what kind of shows/movies they watch.
You can start with a virtual icebreaker if the meeting is online. It helps the participants warm up and engage better in the conversation.
Be a good listener
One of the most underrated practices for running effective catch-up meetings is to be a good listener. When someone is speaking, give them your full attention and avoid interrupting or rushing their answer.
Instead of thinking about what you’ll say next, try to understand what the other person is saying and how they feel. Make them feel valued and heard so they feel comfortable and open up without hesitation.
You can also show that you’re listening by nodding, smiling, making eye contact, and using verbal cues.
Offer your support
Catch-up meetings present a great opportunity to offer your support to your team. Praise their achievements, recognize their efforts, and celebrate their wins. All this can significantly motivate them, boost their morale, and create a positive work environment.
Ask in what ways you can support them. Are there any specific areas where they need your help? Be receptive to constructive criticism, and treat their concerns respectfully instead of defensively. Show the willingness to work together toward a solution.
Ask for their honest opinions and suggestions on improving team dynamics and coherence. Are they happy with the level of connection and collaboration in the team?
Additionally, introduce the idea of having team-building exercises and activities. Make sure to steer the conversation away from any gossip or bad-mouthing.
Review current progress
Use catch-up meetings to evaluate the progress of current tasks. Talk about them and their deadlines, and see how everyone is doing. Understand how the team copes with their workload and responsibilities.
Reviewing current progress during meetings helps spot weak areas that require more attention and work. Change your approach accordingly to find the best solution.
Give and take feedback
Feedback is the catalyst that sparks improvement. And catch-up meetings are an excellent opportunity to give and take feedback from your team members.
You can tell them what you think they are doing great and what areas they need to improve. Conversely, they can share their feedback on your work. Ask them if they feel the communication within the team is going well. If not, how can it be improved?
Remember to be specific, constructive, and respectful when giving and taking feedback. Avoid being vague, harsh, or personal.
Set up a meeting cadence
It’s important to have a meeting cadence for catch-up meetings, so your team knows how often and when they will happen. Choose a frequency your team feels comfortable with, such as weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
With a meeting cadence, you create a consistent and predictable rhythm for your catch-up meetings. It helps the team plan, prepare well, and avoid conflicts or delays. It also helps your team members anticipate and look forward to the meetings.
Catch-up meeting agenda template
Even though catch-up meetings are not usually structured, you can still use a simple template to ensure you don’t miss any key points.
Here’s a meeting agenda template for your next catch-up meeting. Edit it based on your needs:
Subject - Bi-Weekly catch-up meeting
Share how you feel about your work since the last meeting. What has been energizing, challenging, rewarding, or disappointing for you? How are you coping with your workload and responsibilities?
Assess the current state of your team relationships. What is your team doing well? Where are they facing difficulties? How can you improve your collaboration and communication with your team members?
Personal life updates
Share what’s new in your life outside of work. Have you experienced any major events or changes recently? How are they affecting you? How can you balance your personal and professional life?
Support and Feedback
Give and take feedback on your work, achievements, and areas of improvement. Express your gratitude and appreciation for the positive aspects of your work. Discuss what kind of support you need or can offer to make your work better and more engaging.
Catch-up meetings are essential for keeping your team engaged, productive, and connected.
Following the best practices outlined in this article will help make these meetings effective and productive for everyone involved.
Don't forget, these meetings are more than work; they are a chance to create a strong sense of community where everyone's voice and contributions matter.
So, find a comfy spot, grab some coffee, and catch up with your team. You might discover something new and unique about your coworkers or even yourself!