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Productive Tactical Meetings: 8 Tips [+ Free Templates]

Learn everything you need to know about a tactical meeting and how to run one in the most effective way possible.

By Kate Dagher  •   August 30, 2022  •   8 min read

One of the most frustrating things to happen at work is having to attend a meeting that seems to have no direction or strategy. When you leave a meeting wondering what the goal was or trying to decipher what was achieved, it quickly leads to frustration that can turn into resentment over time. Tactical meetings are highly strategic. They are specifically focused on resolving issues that arise in the team’s day-to-day activities so you can work collaboratively to resolve them. These meetings bring better productivity, efficiency, and satisfaction since tactical meetings produce clear results. This article will go into detail about what tactical meetings are, why they’re important, some tips for running them, and what is a must-have for your meeting agenda. 

What are tactical meetings? 

Tactical meetings are discussions which focus on resolving any issues that arise during the team’s typical day-to-day activities. These meetings have a specific focus on strategic planning and resolution and take place either weekly or monthly, depending on the company and its current projects. Some teams even engage in daily tactical meetings, especially during times of transition or change. It’s essential that meeting agendas for your tactical meetings are prepared well in advance and are clear so all team members feel comfortable discussing their daily responsibilities and challenges. This way, you can engage in effective problem solving and assign action items that you can revise in the next meeting.

Run productive tactical meetings

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

Why are tactical meetings important?

Tactical meetings are important because they promote transparency and drive accountability across the team; this is because each person is responsible for sharing their progress and their challenges. Not only does this transparency promote accountability, but it also improves productivity and increases motivation to complete daily responsibilities with a high degree of effectiveness. Tactical meetings also promote collaboration, since one of the key meeting functions is to provide support and advice to team members. When team members feel supported, trust, communication, and working relationships are improved. This support should not only come from the leadership or executives, but from all team members as well.  

Tips for running a productive tactical meeting 

1Create and share a meeting agenda

First and foremost, create a meeting agenda and share it with your team in advance. Without a meeting agenda, you may notice that the conversation is all over the place, that there is no real goal or purpose to the meeting, or that the meeting starts late or goes over the allotted time, for example. For your tactical meetings to be successful, it is critical that you have a meeting agenda for them because going over each team member’s responsibilities can be time-consuming. You need to ensure that you stay on topic and on track. Before the meeting, collaborate on creating a list of topics to address, and during the meeting, identify a resolution for each issue. 

2Use a meeting management software

If you want your tactical meetings to live up to their potential, invest in a meeting management software. Using a meeting management software like Fellow is an absolute game changer and will help you run more effective meetings. Fellow can help you run productive tactical meetings by giving you a platform to collaborate on meeting agendas, fostering accountability through action items, and providing you with a place where you can give and receive feedback and take detailed meeting notes. When you have a particular goal in mind for a meeting, it’s essential that you remain organized and that all of your information is in one place. What’s more is that Fellow integrates with all of your favourite tools—like Google, Slack, Jira, and more. 

3Assign meeting roles 

Assigning clear roles and responsibilities in your meetings organizes your discussion on an elevated level. When you assign meeting roles, everyone knows exactly what they’re responsible for, and people can focus and strategize more effectively. Some common meeting roles include the organizer, the host, the note-taker, the time-keeper, the decision maker, the voice of the customer, the optional attendees, and the informed participants. Consider rotating meeting roles so everyone has a chance to experience the discussion from a different point of view. 

4Introduce everyone and break the ice

There are many different ways to get a meeting started, and while there are several variables to consider—like the size of the meeting, who’s in attendance, and how long the meeting should last—the opening remarks can establish the tone for what’s to come. They can also make sure the meeting agenda is followed and set the team up for success. It’s a good idea to start a virtual or in-person meeting by greeting everyone and introducing yourself. This can be especially helpful if there are attendees who may not know who you are because they’re new to the organization, or if you’re stepping in for someone else as the meeting facilitator. Make sure that each team member has the chance to introduce themselves to build familiarity and trust within the group. 

5Take meeting minutes

Taking meeting minutes in a tactical meeting is essential. These minutes provide a historical record of the company’s short- and long-term planning that can be referred to in the future to understand what kinds of progress has taken place. Moreover, meeting minutes also serve as proof of why and how a company came to certain decisions. This information will be helpful in answering any questions that arise in reference to certain calls that have been made. Meeting minutes also provide legal protection for the organization. Many times, due diligence is captured in companies’ meeting minutes, which can then be officiated and documented to confirm the ethical, fair practices of the organization. 

6Use effective problem-solving skills

Use effective problem-solving skills for your tactical meetings. This is key because the whole purpose of your meeting is to find solutions and improve your operations and the management of daily activities. Be sure to also ask your team for their ideas when it comes to creating an effective framework for problem-solving. This can be done through workshops and brainstorming sessions in which everyone brings their ideas and suggestions to the forefront before agreeing on a way forward. 

7Set and communicate clear meeting expectations 

Be sure to set and communicate clear expectations for your tactical meeting. It will be impossible to achieve your team goals if you don’t explain what you expect to get out of the meeting from the get-go. Be clear on what you expect from all of your individual contributors, including workload, communication, productivity, outcomes, and etiquette. It’s important that your meeting expectations are realistic and achievable. If not, they’ll have a negative impact on your team’s motivation to keep performing well. Setting and communicating clear expectations makes achieving your goals more attainable and makes your goals better understood. 

8Only invite those who need to be there 

Don’t invite anyone to your tactical meeting who doesn’t need to be there—doing so is a waste of time and energy. Anyone who is directly involved in or impacted by the challenges the team is facing should be involved in the meeting. If someone isn’t directly involved but wants to stay in the loop, you can share the tactical meeting notes with them so they’re aware of the challenges and the progress that is being made in the team. An example of individuals who you don’t need to invite are executives from other teams or the leadership board. You are focusing on day-to-day operational challenges, not on high-level urgent matters. 

What to include in your tactical meeting agenda 

1A check-in or icebreaker 

Start with a check-in or an icebreaker. Call out any distractions, take the time you need to get present for the discussion, and make it clear that only one person will speak at a time, without discussion. Note that if there is additional time left, discussions can take place to collaborate on solutions. 

2Project updates

The facilitator will ask if there are any updates for each project that is live. A simple “no updates” or a simple description of what has changed since the last meeting is shared is sufficient from the project owner. It’s good to allow questions here, but still, discussions should not take place. 

3OKR or metric updates

The leadership team or executive will decide which metrics should be reported on. Typically, each metric or objective and key result (OKR) that is being reported on has an individual who highlights its latest data. This gives team members an idea of the progress of the metric or OKR and what they need to do to hit their targets. 

Easily review OKRs during meetings with Fellow by linking your objectives with a meeting. This makes it easy to review the progress of your OKRs, resolve challenges, and keep all of your OKRs on track!

4Any issues or blockers

Discussing issues is a key portion of the tactical meeting. Here, participants have the opportunity to triage operational issues or blockers that have surfaced (or prevailed) since the last meeting. If you have some time left at the end of the meeting, be sure to engage in some brainstorming and problem-solving. 

Free templates for tactical meetings

Parting advice 

Having tactical meetings is an effective way to discuss operational issues that arise while engaging in daily tasks and responsibilities. This type of meeting promotes transparency and drives accountability across the team, while also providing a space to collaborate and hash out any challenges that team members may be facing. Be sure to create your tactical meeting agenda ahead of time, use a meeting management software, assign meeting roles, and make proper introductions for the best results. Ensure that someone is taking meeting minutes, engage in effective problem solving, set clear expectations for the meeting, and only invite people who must absolutely be there. If you found this article helpful, be sure to send it along to a friend or colleague!

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