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Partnership Meetings: Key Considerations and Meeting Tips

Any meeting can go off the rails without a clear focus and agenda. Learn how you can keep your next partnership meeting on track.

By Fellow.app  •   June 20, 2022  •   7 min read

It may seem like the many types of meetings you have in a week are never-ending, especially if you’re a partner in an organization. Sure, the phrase “this meeting could have been an email” gets tossed around a lot, but partnership meetings include only the biggest fish to fry. They can play an especially big role in setting your team up for success. Below, you’ll learn everything partnership meeting-related, including who should hold them, tips on hosting one, and more. 

What is a partnership meeting?

A partnership meeting is a meeting that involves the organization’s owners or partners. It’s similar to a stakeholder meeting, but it can be broader. Projects don’t always have to be a part of it, though partners should be aware of important project milestones. You can shape your partnership meeting to fit your organization’s needs as long as the partners are all there. 

Sometimes, you’ll see the term “partnership meetings” used to describe other meetings. You might see it when you’re reading about meetings between two organizations that want to work together. You might also see it describing meetings between two equal-level team members – as in, two people with the same role and manager. But for this guide, we’re using the definition above – the one about your organization’s partners.

Run delightful partnership meetings

Increase meeting engagement and productivity with a collaborative agenda that the whole team can contribute to. Try using a tool like Fellow!

How to hold a partnership meeting

Here’s how to host a partnership meeting so you can come into the next one feeling extra prepared. 

1Invite the partners and nobody else 

Even with a meeting just for your partners, you might feel tempted to include as many people as possible. This way, nobody – not even folks who aren’t partners – misses anything important. However, this is a great example of too many cooks in the kitchen. 

Instead, keep your meeting to just your organization’s partners. If there are lots of partners, you should only invite the ones closest to the conversation. You don’t want to overwhelm your partners with too many meetings. To avoid this, give yourself a clear understanding of the meeting’s purpose – ask yourself who needs to be here and who can contribute meaningfully. 

Charlie Gilkey, the author of Start Finishing, has additional insight here. “Limit the number of people at the meeting,” he says. “After about 5 people in the meeting, it switches from focused work, problem-solving, and planning to updates and discussion. For each person at the meeting, consider why they *don’t* need to be there.”

2If possible, gather in person

With Zoom fatigue still a thing, it’s always good to meet in person when possible. That’s especially true for important meetings like a partnership meeting, where everyone could benefit from the better conversations that happen face-to-face. Plus, if some partners might have to travel for the meeting, you’re kind of forced to be more selective about who to invite. 

3Take meeting notes

Meeting notes are how you and your partners can circle back on things after the conversation. They also document the meeting action items or next steps everyone should take to keep everything productive after the meeting ends. Taking meeting notes that you’ll find useful afterward means jotting down key talking points, important decisions made, and next steps. A shared digital meetings notepad is a great way to get there – all the partners can add notes there. 

Try this free meeting notes template:

4Change up the meeting structure

An effective meeting is a dynamic experience, not a lecture. All the partners should be key to the conversation – make sure no one is simply a passive player. A great way to do this is to leave space in the meeting agenda for group discussions. Send your agenda to the partners in advance so the group comes ready with updates, pain points, and project wins to share. 

5Leave time for the partners to interact with each other

Keeping things dynamic also means creating points throughout the meeting for the partners to chat with each other. Icebreakers are great here – you and the other partners already know each other, but maybe you aren’t that up to date on each other’s lives. Icebreakers can get you there if you choose ones that aren’t about introducing people to each other. Once the mood is fun and excited, you can dive into the big-time meeting stuff. 

6Share exciting presentations 

A long presentation with too much text on the screen doesn’t bode well for any meeting, including partnership meetings. Keep your slides light and easily digestible with graphics and important numbers instead of dense text. If there’s reading material, share it with everyone before the meeting begins so they can prepare in advance.

Tips on how to make the partnership meeting successful

Below are some ways you can make your partnership meeting more memorable and productive. 

1Know what you want to accomplish

Successful meetings require setting your objectives and goals in advance. Clearly defined meeting objectives drive productivity, so you can maximize your hour dedicated to planning, problem-solving, or decision-making. Don’t waste the partners’ time with a meeting that goes nowhere. 

2Know what your partners want from the meeting

All aspects of a meeting should be a collaborative process. That’s why, when you’re setting your meeting objectives, you should ask the other partners what they have on their minds too. Do this before creating the agenda, and then share the agenda in advance to see if anyone has any questions, changes, or concerns. 

3Communicate clearly and transparently

Effective workplace communication is the difference between a productive organization and partners who often miss the mark or let key points slip through the cracks. Without it, your partnership meeting can very quickly lose focus. Communicating clearly and transparently throughout the meeting is a great antidote to this poison. 

As you go along, you can ensure great communication if you regularly check that everyone understands everything. You should also check whether everyone feels talked with rather than at. That’s how you have two-way conversations that can create space for problem-solving together and getting everyone on the same page. 

4Bring in the experts when necessary

Each partnership meeting will have different objectives and points of conversation. Sometimes, you and the partners won’t be able to address these meeting topics all by yourself. In that case, it’s time to bring in experts on the subject. 

For example, need to drill down your Q4 budget after some recent tax penalties? Invite an accountant to the partnership meeting. They’ll help you shape the budget and plan for taxes the right way. As smart as you and your partners might be, you might’ve missed that one without the accountant’s help.

Why should you hold a partnership meeting?

Here’s why you should hold a partnership meeting (and when you can put all these tips to the test). 

1Talking through shared goals 

You should hold a partnership meeting to look over your organization’s current goals and add new ones. It’s a great chance to revisit the organization’s vision and mission and its areas of strengths and weaknesses. And it’s also a great chance to improve on them all.

2Sharing project updates

Partnership meetings are also a great chance to check in with stakeholders and share project updates. This is especially important for larger projects and initiatives that partners are directly involved in or that the organization is undertaking to improve business. When you keep key players up-to-date, your projects have a better chance of succeeding. 

3Working through high-priority issues

If there are pressing challenges to discuss, a partnership meeting is an effective way to bring the right people together to problem-solve. That’s especially for organization-wide issues that demand immediate attention. For example, if your organization has realized its turnover rate has increased in recent quarters, then it might be time to call a partnership meeting. 

4Lining up your offerings with customer needs

Holding a partnership meeting can help everyone make sure that you’re actually addressing’ team members’ and customers’ needs. For example, let’s say your organization puts new hires through pretty robust training but has noticed decreasing engagement after several years. In that case, it’s time to gather the partners to chat about how you can keep that initial spark intact. And when you do, the right meeting tool can help you have even better conversations.  

Free partnership meeting agenda templates

Keep meetings relevant and organized 

A partnership meeting is an important time for discussion and decision-making, and that makes preparing in advance all the more important. You can use Fellow to keep your partnership meetings in order with tools that set you up for success. With collaborative meeting agendas, meeting action items tools for follow-through, and shared digital notepads, Fellow has your back in and out of the conference room.

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