Student group studying in library

Working in groups

It's important to plan and manage your meetings effectively and keep accurate minutes

It is important to take a business-like approach to your team meetings. This means being well-organised, thinking about what has worked already, planning ahead, and everyone being clear about their responsibilities and contributions your work.

Your team may have encountered the challenge of storming and tackled it using a SWOT analysis. Maintaining a business-like approach to your team meetings ensures that everyone is clear about their responsibilities and contribution to overall team success.  

Meeting agenda template

You should adapt this template to fit your group and work.

 

Item Details
Meeting date and time Ensure it is correct. If it changes, this should be noted.
Members present Always maintain a record of attendees, see below)
Apologies Must be sent in advance, otherwise a 'non-attendance' should be recorded
Previous minutes and matters outstanding Circulated in advance for discussion
Individual progress reports

Focus on achievements but considering:

  • An assessment of how much of the task is complete
  • Likely or recommended completion date
  • What has enabled progress
  • What has impeded progress
  • What has been/needs to be done to mitigate problems
  • What proved to be effective/ineffective. You could consider nothing why the group thinks this is the case. 
New agenda items (submitted in advance)
  • Item description
  • Who leads
  • Time allocated

Action planning
  • What is to be done? When will it be done by? 
  • Who will do it? 
  • How will progress be measured and who will measure it? 
Any other business Record additional items raised during the meeting for action or future discussion.
Date and time of next meeting Ensure that everyone has the details and has committed to attending. 

 

Essential points to consider

Why they are important

These formal activities are important because they reduce the likelihood of confusion, help to ensure fair and appropriate distribution of tasks and help to ensure group members’ accountability. They can also help group members to engage with the task and work together as a team. This is important in the event that you have a group where someone is reluctant to participate fully. If you do encounter this, it is important that the rest of the group can provide evidence of each person’s roles and responsibilities, and whether or how far they fulfilled them. Therefore, it is important that what was done to engage that person and the outcomes are also recorded.

You may be required to operate in a specific online environment, or to employ particular processes and ways of working. This may be because the lecturer will monitor individual team members’ contributions and/or the group’s progress as part of the ongoing assessment. It may also be because that particular environment is efficient and
appropriate for the subject area and the task. 

Furthermore, the skills gained from taking a more formal approach in terms of planning and organisation, and in terms of dealing with difficult people and situations, could give you an edge in the employment market.

Agreeing the meeting date

Ensure that the date, time and duration are agreed by all team members in advance. You can use a variety of methods, such as paper diaries or shared online schedulers, to record and alter agreed meeting times, but you must ensure that everyone uses them and keeps them updated. Similar, if you use social media, everyone must use it properly.

Making contact

Always discuss, agree and share preferred methods of contacting each other. You can share phone numbers and/or email addresses. If you use social media, ensure that the privacy settings do not allow people who are not in the group to access information. 

Deadlines

Always agree deadlines for activities that support the meeting itself, for example, the distribution of previous minutes with the agenda for the next meeting. Also agree whether it will be distributed by, for example, email or a shared online document. 

Written records

Always ensure that written records are maintained of agreed actions, including sub-tasks and how they will be measured, assessed or evaluated

Do you want help with group work and organisation?

We can help. Book your Academic Skills Unit (ASK) tutorial now at academicskills@port.ac.uk

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