How to Prepare for Your First Meeting as a Manager

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 20, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When you join a new company as a manager, it's important to meet your team members quickly. You might organize your first meeting to introduce yourself and set the department's goals in the business calendar. Learning how to manage your first staff meeting can provide useful ideas for preparing your team and ensuring its success. In this article, we explain the importance of planning your first team meeting, define what it involves, list some steps to help you prepare, highlight the benefits, and provide helpful tips.

Why learn how to prepare for your first meeting?

Your first meeting with a new department is important because it determines your future relationship with the team. Your team members' first impression of your management style influences your future interactions with them. Therefore, it's important to prepare sufficiently. This meeting communicates the team's and your own values and how to implement them in the workplace. Adequate preparation facilitates interaction with your team members and helps them collaborate on tasks.

How to prepare for your first staff meeting

The steps below can help you prepare for your first staff meeting:

1. Determine the meeting's purpose

Before holding the meeting, consider its purpose and the goals you hope to achieve. For example, you might want to introduce yourself, meet your team members and learn about them. You could also establish new policies by gathering information about current projects and discussing tasks and objectives for each team member based on this information. Ensure you have clarity on the meeting's purpose, as this helps prepare your agenda.

Read more: How to Set a Meeting Purpose (With Definition and Examples)

2. Prepare an agenda

The meeting's agenda lists all the items to discuss during the meeting in order. It provides a reference point and prevents the meeting from moving outside your intended scope. You can prepare your plan manually on a piece of paper or digitally using a computer or mobile phone. Consider accompanying the agenda with a slideshow or handwritten cue cards to make the meeting more relaxing. A well-written agenda demonstrates your level of organization and indicates your expectations and leadership philosophy.

Read more: How to Make a Meeting Agenda: Tips, Template, and Example

3. Communicate the meeting's time and place

Decide on a time and venue for the meeting that suits you, and communicate these details to the attendees. You could consult your staff to determine the most suitable time for the team. If they don't collectively agree on a location or time, use your discretion to choose one that seems to appear reasonable for everyone. You might find that a virtual meeting increases participation and makes your staff feel more comfortable. If this is the case, choose an accessible video conferencing app for your meeting. Whatever you decide, inform the attendees early so they can also prepare.

4. Arrive early

Leave a positive impression on your team members by arriving early to the meeting. This enables you to have informal individual conversations before the meeting starts. Arriving early to the meeting might show your team members that you value your time and theirs and encourage them also to attend subsequent meetings early.

Related: Reasons Why First Impressions Are Important (With Tips)

5. Have a strong close

As the meeting approaches its conclusion, you can summarize the main points of discussion to emphasize your objectives and ensure that the attendees understand. Motivate and encourage the team to work hard in their duties and if you plan to have recurring meetings, remind them of the next meeting's details. Sometimes it's beneficial to end the meeting immediately after completing all the agenda items to prevent it from trailing awkwardly. Finally, answer attendees' questions and show your commitment to their progress and development by offering to coach them one-to-one.

Related: How to Run an Effective Meeting with Your Staff

Benefits of preparing for your first staff meeting

Preparing for your first staff meeting provides you with multiple benefits, such as:

Shows passion and commitment

Preparing for your first staff meeting shows your excitement about joining the company and your eagerness to work alongside your team members. You can set goals for the team over a specific period and explain new processes and your expectations for success. This shows your commitment to the company, and your passion may encourage your team members to take their responsibilities more seriously.

Builds credibility

Arriving early at a meeting can help build your credibility. Staff members typically prefer a manager who organizes their time and business matters well and provides them with clear goals to pursue. Preparing beforehand and your behaviour and attitude during the meeting might also help your staff understand that you care about the team's success.

Saves time

Thoroughly preparing for the meeting helps you allocate how much time to spend on each agenda item. You can then easily move to the next topic when you realize you're spending more than the allotted minutes on an item. This allows you to cover all the matters for discussion and reduces the likelihood of reconvening the meeting to finalize unresolved issues.

Helps you achieve goals

Preparation is essential for your first and subsequent staff meetings to achieve personal, team, and company objectives. You can check the progress of individual team members toward their set goals in subsequent meetings. Continuously assessing the team's objectives can help you uncover which team members need help with their duties.

Related: How to Conduct a Meeting (With Preparation Methods)

Tips for preparing for your first staff meeting

You might find the practices below useful when preparing for your first staff meeting:

Use icebreakers

It's often helpful to compile a list of questions to ask your attendees before the main meeting agenda to learn more about them and to retain their interest during the meeting. This action can help you connect with team members and determine how to help them with any workplace challenges or issues. Icebreakers other than questions may include games that allow participants to interact with one another and ease any uneasy atmosphere in the meeting.

Provide background information

As this is your first staff meeting, participants may be curious about you personally, such as your background and professional details. You can use this medium to introduce yourself to your team and clarify any preconceived ideas they may have. Explain what you hope to achieve in joining the company and how working as a team can help meet organizational and personal goals. Presenting your credentials and showcasing your skills and experience can also help build trust.

Model good behaviour

Model the behaviour you wish to see in your team members before, during, and after the first staff meeting. If it's a virtual meeting, avoid distractions, such as mobile phone or computer interference, by holding it in a quiet and private location. Dress appropriately regardless of the meeting's mode, and let your team members know whether you want their cameras on during a virtual meeting. Listen attentively to the attendees and address your messages to the camera when making a video call. Your exemplary behaviour may motivate team members to maintain high standards and prepare appropriately for the next meeting.

Related: What Is Meeting Etiquette? (With Importance and Tips)

Practise your presentation

Review the program's schedule and practise sufficiently to minimize errors before attending the meeting. Even if the meeting is informal, practising allows you to set the proper tone and introduce your planned topics and issues. You can also identify errors in your agenda's structure and reorder it for better flow.

Research your team before the meeting

Briefly research your team members before the meeting to understand who they are and their activities in the company before you joined. Consider searching for their profiles on professional social media platforms and try to check their employee profile on the company's website. This helps you familiarize yourself with their faces and the correct pronunciation of their names. Knowing a few details about them also enables you to personalize the questions you might ask.

Related: Check-In Meeting Benefits and Tips for Effective Planning

Adhere to the time and schedule

It's good practice to share the meeting agenda with the attendees, allowing them to understand the order of items, follow the program, and recognize when the meeting ends. Keep all conversations within the agenda to cover all your planned discussions and conclude the meeting at the appropriate time. Your team members may have other activities planned for their day and may not appreciate the meeting infringing on them.

Explore more articles