4 min read

10 Best Free Resources to Ace a Kickoff Meeting

10 Best Free Resources to Ace a Kickoff Meeting

Leading a new project, forming a new team, or taking over an existing one can be exciting and daunting, and the kickoff meeting is the first impression the team will have of your leadership capabilities.

To help you set a great first impression and ace your first meeting with a new team, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 most loved resources for leading meetings. In this article, you’ll find all the templates, worksheets, and PDFs you need to feel confident and prepared to lead a kickoff meeting. Before we jump into the resources, it’s always best to start with a quick definition of a kickoff meeting to have a common understanding of what they are.


What is a Kickoff Meeting?

A kickoff meeting is any type of initial team meeting. These meetings can be called because of a new internal project, a client project, a new intact or cross-functional team, or there is a change in the leader. During these meetings, objectives for the team and goals are discussed, ground rules are set, and the next steps are defined.

Without further ado, here are the ten best resources selected by our readers that helped them nail their kickoff meeting.


Want to host better meetings? Start with a strong agenda. Download your copy  of the editableMeeting Agenda Template >>


10 Best Free Kickoff Meeting Templates and Tools


To Set The Kickoff Meeting Up For Success:

To Make The Kickoff Meeting Interactive:

To Keep The Momentum Going:


Kickoff Meeting Agenda Template

Meeting Agenda Template - Niagara Institute (1)To have a productive and well-organized meeting where all attendees are informed of the purpose, having a clear, concise kickoff meeting agenda sent out before the meeting is crucial. To make preparing the agenda for your kickoff meeting a simple task, we’ve created an editable kickoff meeting agenda template you can download in a Google Doc or PDF for free.


Meeting Guidelines and Rules PDF

Meeting Agenda Template - Niagara InstituteYou’ll want to set the meeting tone and behavioral expectations from the start; therefore, sharing meeting guidelines and rules prior to the meeting will help you do so. Meeting guidelines and rules provide a solid framework for productive and successful meetings from the very beginning. For that reason, we created a downloadable PDF for you to access a comprehensive set of meeting guidelines. The PDF contains ten suggested rules to help you prepare your guidelines for your kickoff meeting. 


Tips for Keeping Meetings on Track and Avoiding Tangents

5 Tips to Stop Meeting TengentsWhen leading and facilitating the kickoff meeting, the number one success factor is if the agenda is executed and the meeting stays on track. However, knowing when to stop conversations and how to get the meeting back on schedule can be no small feat. That’s why we created a cheat sheet for kickoff meeting leaders to help them ensure the meeting objectives are met and tangents are avoided


Team Charter Template

Team Charter Template Niagara InstituteUsing a kickoff meeting to create a team charter is an excellent use of time. A team charter is a foundational document that outlines the team’s purpose and vision, values and expectations, goals and milestones, and roles and accountabilities.

It’s an incredible tool for teams to establish clarity, alignment, and accountability. In addition, because the document is co-created by all team members, there is an increased likelihood that individuals will adhere to it and hold their peers to it. Download the editable team charter template to facilitate discussion and define standards at your kickoff meeting.


Team Alignment Worksheet

Team Alignment WorksheetA study by Salesforce uncovered that a whopping 97% of those surveyed believed a lack of alignment directly impacts the outcome or success of a team. To overcome this common pitfall for teams, you’ll want to use the team alignment worksheet in your kickoff meeting. It’s designed to provide clarity and get members to commit to the team’s goals, strengths, milestones, values, barriers to be mindful of, and frequency of communication. 


S.M.A.R.T. Goals Template

SMART Goals Template from Niagara Institute (1)It’s been found that when goals are written, with corresponding goal-driven actions that are tracked and actioned, goal achievement is 33% higher than those who did not write down their goals. That’s why using part of a kickoff meeting to write out S.M.A.R.T. goals as a team is an excellent use of time and can be easily accomplished using the S.M.A.R.T. goals template.


Start-Stop-Continue Template

Start-Stop-Continue Template MockupIf you’re kicking off a new initiative, change, or project with an existing team, the first question everyone will have is, “How will this impact my workload?” To be proactive on this common question, you’ll want to add to your kickoff meeting agenda time to do a start-stop-continue analysis where the team works together to determine which tasks need to be added, what needs to be discontinued, and what needs to continue for the team to be successful in achieving their goals and mandate. We’ve made it easy for you to run with our downloadable and editable start-stop-continue template.


Meeting Action Items Template

Action Items Template MockupYou'll want to include a recap in your post-meeting follow-up email to ensure the decisions made and accountabilities allocated in the kickoff meeting are actioned when everyone returns to work. To make tracking and distribution easy, we’ve created a meeting action items template that tracks all the critical factors to ensure what’s decided actually gets done.


Meeting Feedback Survey TemplateMeeting Feedback Survey Template

Following the kickoff meeting, you’ll want to gather feedback on the effectiveness of the meeting and any areas for improvement to implement for the next team meeting. To do your own survey, read the article on creating a meeting survey and download the meeting feedback survey template that will guide you in collecting valuable insights from meeting participants. 


Meeting Follow-Up Email Template

Meeting Follow-up Email Template from Niagara InstituteThe last thing you should do to ace your kickoff meeting is end strong by sending a follow-up email. Use it as an opportunity to express your gratitude and appreciation for your attendees' time and contributions, recap the decisions made and attach the action items, and get valuable insights and feedback by including a link to your meeting survey. The kickoff meeting follow-up email provides a written record of the meeting details, making it easier for everyone to refer back to important information and hold team members accountable for their assigned action items. Download the meeting follow-up email template pdf for inspiration for writing your own.

Meeting Agenda Template

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