The average professional has five meetings a day. Everyone complains about meetings—how they're unproductive, they waste time, and how it 'could have been an email.'
Often, the meeting isn't the issue. It's the lack of a meeting agenda. People don't like wasting time, losing productivity, or meeting for no reason.
If you craft the perfect meeting agenda, you solve these issues. Your employees or colleagues can anticipate what happens every step of the way. A meeting agenda ensures that your professional gatherings are efficient, on pace, and productive.
That's why we've assembled a guide to creating a meeting agenda. Let's get started!
1. Why does a meeting agenda matter?
When creating a meeting agenda, you run into a crucial question: why does this matter?
An agenda provides a clear roadmap for what needs to happen before and during a meeting. Have you ever shown up to a meeting and realized that the right people weren't even prepared? That's frustrating!
This ensures that all presentations, resources, and communications are prepared ahead of time. That way, once the meeting actually starts, there's no time to waste.
It also helps the meeting's point person allocate time appropriately. If the meeting is thirty minutes, and there are six items to cover, there's no time to waste.
Does your team also struggle with ending meetings? An agenda helps with that. When the agenda has been covered, the meeting is over. There's nothing else to discuss.
If other topics need to be brought up, then another meeting can be scheduled. Think of an agenda like a toolbox—it helps guide your activities and indicates the full scope of what you can and should do.
2. How do you create a meeting agenda?
A basic meeting agenda template should include a complete list of:
- Action items
- Talking points
- Activities to discuss
This should all be covered during the meeting. Think of it as an essay outline. This agenda will dictate what happens in this meeting, what is discussed, who owns each item, and how much time is allocated to each talking point.
Each agenda should be shared at least 24 hours before the meeting actually occurs. This sets participants up for success and allows them to prepare any necessary materials before the meeting occurs.
The importance of setting meeting agendas can't be overstated. Why? Because they dictate the entire goal of a meeting.
Any meeting agenda template should start with a goal. What do you want to accomplish by the time the meeting ends?
In most cases, this depends on the type of meeting you are attending. Some meetings revolve around smaller objectives, such as progress updates. Other meetings require a major decision to be finalized.
Layout these goals in your agenda. It's also important to note what type of goals they are. How do you expect your colleagues to meet these goals?
In some cases, the goal is to share information with the team. In other cases, the purpose of a meeting is to seek input from colleagues. In other places, the goal is to come to a final decision.
3. Meeting agenda ideas
There are lots of meeting agenda templates out there. Some people prefer to use apps, while others will build out a simple grid in Outlook and go from there.
However, you choose to create your template, make sure that you organize it in a logical fashion. You might choose to organize your template by owner, section, or topic.
It's also important to collaborate on these agendas. If you are the project manager or the team head, you might not be in the weeds with your implementation team.
Make sure you ask for their input when creating a meeting agenda. This will help ensure that the entire team is on board. If you're looking to boost productivity and engagement during meetings, this is the way to go.
You should also include time estimates for each section. If you have too many items and too little time, that indicates a necessary change. Either you need to extend the meeting time, or you need to schedule two meetings.
This demonstrates respect for participants' time and will also help keep the meeting on pace and productive.
4. A meeting agenda example
Here's a meeting agenda example. Say that you need to finalize some designs for your new site framework.
You should include a presentation slot for the owner of this task. Allocate the appropriate amount of time. Then, include a follow-up item for people to discuss and sign off on each segment of the design work.
Treat the agenda as an outline. Once it's been sent out, there's nothing sacred about it. Feel free to scribble all over it!
You should also include a slot at the bottom of the agenda and leave it blank. This section is for action items. This can help you get a jump-start on sending out a meeting recap, notetaking, or other administrative tasks.
Other meeting agenda ideas include asking for feedback at the end of the meeting. There's always something to improve upon, and the agenda is no different. Should you have allocated time differently or changed the order of the agenda?
If you're receptive to feedback, you'll be able to improve your meeting agendas quickly. You should also consider attaching the agenda to the calendar invite. That way, it's easy for everyone to find later on.
Creating a meeting agenda
When creating a meeting agenda, remember that this is a tool. It's a tool intended to boost productivity, keep meetings on pace, and respect everyone's time.
As your company evolves, your meetings will too. Agendas will change and transform, and your approach will too.
It's important to maintain an iterative approach to your meeting agendas. This will help you stay on top of internal changes within the company, and communicate them seamlessly to your team.
If you're looking for tools that help you build high-performance teams, contact us today! We can help.