Meetings are an important part of what makes a business thrive. They keep everyone on the same page. They help teams communicate to ensure optimal results.
If you want your meetings to run smoothly, it’s imperative to have a meeting agenda. But what is a meeting agenda and how do you create one? This article will tell you everything you need to know.
What is a Meeting Agenda?
A meeting agenda provides an outline for how a meeting will run. A simple agenda can be a short, bulleted list of the items that need to be covered. A formal agenda may include the presenters that are speaking, how long each person will speak, subtopics, materials needed, and other details.
The Importance of Having an Agenda for Your Meetings
A meeting agenda serves several purposes as follows:
- It lets attendees know what will be discussed so they can be prepared to contribute
- It indicates the aim of the meeting
- It keeps everyone focused on the topic
- It helps the meeting run on time
- It makes participants feel satisfied that something was accomplished during the meeting
- It serves as a reference- participants can hold on to the document to recall what was discussed during the meeting at a future date.
Meeting agendas are important because they prevent unproductive meetings that can cost your business time and money.
How to Write Effective Meeting Agendas
Meeting agendas are not difficult to write, but they require some amount of skill. It’s important to create them properly so you don’t leave anything out. Here’s an outline of the steps that will keep you on track:
Clearly Define the Purpose of the Meeting
The first step will be to clearly define the purpose of the meeting. There are many reasons why a meeting may take place. Examples include:
- Performance reviews of the staff or the company in general
- Feedback meetings to determine how a specific product, supply or service is benefiting the company
- Brainstorm meeting to flesh out an idea
- Onboarding meeting to help new hires understand company processes and goals
- Project kickoff meeting to discuss how a new project will be handled in terms of timelines, goals, objective, etc.
- Retrospective meeting to discuss how a project was handled after it’s been completed
List All Agenda Points as Questions or Tasks
Listing all agenda points as questions or tasks will make the objective of your meeting clear. For example, if you are trying to determine improvements that could be made in your business processes, you may pose the question, ‘what improvements can be made to our billing systems?’. Or you can pose it as a task by stating: ‘to determine billing system pain points and possible improvements.’
Identify who Leads Each Point and Who Will Have Some Input
If you’re planning to have several participants at your meeting, identify who leads each point and who will have input on the various topics. This will prevent people from talking over each other. It will maintain a sense of organization.
It goes without saying that you will want to have expert speakers on each topic. For example, if you’re discussing whether a new tech product will be a worthwhile investment, the discussion should involve your IT team as well as the decision-making executives at your firm.
Ask Participants for Input on the Agenda
It’s best to send out a meeting agenda at least 48 hours in advance. This allows participants to prepare for the occasion which may involve clearing their schedules, getting materials ready, and deciding how they want to partake in the discussion.
The 48 hours also gives them some time to provide input. They may notice that you left out an important topic that needs to be discussed. Or they may inform you that an error was made in terms of speakers, organization, etc.
The two-day period gives people enough time to provide feedback to ensure the meeting will run smoothly.
Estimate the Amount of Time You Want to Spend on Each Topic
If you plan to address several topics at your meeting, your agenda should include a schedule suggesting how much time will be spent discussing each point. Think of how long the meeting will be and the importance of each topic that will be discussed. Think of how many people will be speaking on each subject.
If the topic is a hot-button issue that’s gotten a lot of attention at the workplace, devote plenty of time for rapport. If it’s a minor issue that can be glossed over, minimize the time spent on it so you can move on to more pressing subjects.
End Each Meeting with a Review of Tasks/Actions
Each meeting should end with a review of tasks and actions. This will be a summary of the key points of the meeting. It will make each person aware of what was decided and their next steps moving forward.
Your review session must be included in the meeting agenda. You can decide how much time you want to spend on your review based on how lengthy and important the meeting was.
Custom Meeting Agenda Templates You Can Use
You can’t afford your meeting not to be efficient. Therefore, it’s important that your agenda covers all topics that must be reviewed.
If you are concerned you may leave something out, there are several templates you can use. They will keep you organized in creating your meeting agenda ensuring the meeting will run smoothly.
There are several types of agenda templates available with one for almost every type of meeting and business. Examples include:
- Weekly Team Update Agenda Template
- All Hands Team Meeting Agenda Template
- Daily Standups Meeting Agenda Template
- Meeting Notes Agenda Template
- Project Postmortem Template
… and the list goes on.
A meeting agenda will help you keep your meetings on track, so your team is able to achieve important goals. It will ensure your meetings run on time and that all important matters are discussed.