How to Create an Effective Meeting Agenda

We’ve all attended unproductive meetings that are a waste of time and money. Meetings are not free, whether it’s because of participants who are not the right ones or insignificant discussions. A well-organized agenda for meetings will ensure that you meet the goal of your meeting and get closer toward company goals.

A clear and concise agenda makes everyone aware of what’s planned for the meeting and assists participants to prepare for it. Include the following items in your agenda for meetings to make it effective.

Note all the expected outcomes and the main purpose of your meeting. This will help you stay focused on the most important issues, and help avoid unproductive side-bars.

Then, for each item on the agenda, define what is to be discussed. This will include an overview of the subject, who’s responsible for covering it and how much time should be allocated to the discussion. It is also beneficial to include the meeting’s location and time zone, especially for teams that are remote.

Take note of every item on the agenda as a question to be answered by members of the group. (Example: “What steps should we take to rent equipment ?”). Phrasing each discussion point as a question can stimulate discussion and help to clarify what’s expected during the meeting.

Include a description of the process you expect to follow for each item on the agenda. This is an aspect of a meeting that is often overlooked, but can significantly impact the effectiveness of the meeting. A clear process will help participants decide how to approach a topic which could result in off-topic discussions or even a complete derailment. By adding a process participants can modify their remarks to can be within the time frame allotted or suggest additional time to discuss a particular issue.

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