This guide gives you the tools to plan a productive kickoff meeting for in-person, remote, or hybrid attendees. By tailoring your kickoff meetings to your team, you’ll enable everyone to be seen, heard, and participate to the fullest.
We created these kickoff meeting templates and checklists to help you run effective and productive project, company, and other kickoff meetings. These meeting resources provide what you need to prepare before your meetings, tips for during kickoff meetings, and how to follow up after the meeting and review metrics, track goals, and finish projects.
Use the Kickoff Meeting Checklist to prepare for your meeting and assign tasks. Then, use the Kickoff Meeting Templates to go in-depth into the tasks on the checklist, create a meeting agenda slide deck, and provide a space for presenters to organize their updates.
When planning a kickoff meeting, you’ll want to identify stakeholders, find a time and place that is accessible to all team or company members, set an agenda, choose any key presenters or other roles, and think about the IT needs for the meeting. Consider how participants can ask questions, access the agenda and any important visuals, and who will be responsible for facilitating the meeting, note-taking, and sending out minutes or a recording of the meeting afterward.
Challenge the status quo of your company’s kickoff structure. Many companies host multi-day conferences for their annual kickoff. These might include sessions for your individual teams (i.e. Marketing Team Kickoff, Sales Team Kickoff, and more) and larger sessions for the whole company with goals for the year. Kickoff conferences or multi-day kickoff sessions tend to be costly, requiring you to fly employees to a central location, book a large enough space, provide meals, and more.
Consider creative ways to save budget. Host a virtual kickoff and allow team members to tune in from their locations, host town halls and company-wide meetings online, or cut down on in-person kickoffs to once a year and host the rest digitally.
Department-wide kickoff meetings are traditionally held annually or bi-annually. These meetings include all members of a given department (think: sales, marketing, customer support, human resources, etc.) and are intended to set expectations, provide resources, review goals, include specific timelines, and set a check-in date to review what was discussed.
Project kickoff meetings occur at the start of any large project or initiative and help align stakeholders, set goals, create timelines, identify a method of communication, set check-in dates, and provide a space for questions among team members. Project kickoffs are especially helpful with new clients, international or remote teams, or projects that involve multiple departments.
Kickoff meetings get all stakeholders in a project or on a team in the same “room” (virtual or physical), outline the project or quarter, review goals, assign tasks, and answer questions. No matter what size the team, coming in unprepared results in chaos. Make sure you have the technology you need to include all team members and minimize tech difficulty.
Participants in our State of Video Conferencing report said that their biggest challenge with meetings was starting them.
Participants in our State of Video Conferencing report said their biggest challenge with meetings was starting them.
Get IT involved early to ensure all participants can access and participate in the meeting.
Who needs to attend this meeting? Don’t feel limited by physical location (use tech like video conferencing cameras). Instead, think about who needs the information that will be presented, or who can offer a unique perspective on a certain project or goal.
Find a time and place accessible to all participants.
Consider time zones, whether you can get your whole team in the same location (if your budget allows), or if a remote meeting is the best choice.
Create an agenda.
Use the templates to create an agenda. Make sure you leave enough time in your meeting for questions and reviewing past goals and projects to go over lessons learned.
Choose key presenters and assign a note taker and meeting facilitator.
Give presenters the slide deck ahead of time and an early heads up on their allotted time so they can plan slides accordingly. Assign a meeting facilitator and note-taker.
Think about IT needs (video conferencing, visuals, remote viewers).
Will your meeting include a video conferencing link? Can remote participants ask questions? For larger meetings, make sure you have an IT representative available before and during your meeting. Make sure to record all meetings in case an employee is out sick or unable to attend.
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Try the Meeting Owl Pro for your kickoff meetings and make your meetings smarter.