What Is an Agenda and How It Elevates Your Meetings
Meeting agendas help keep everyone on track and ensure that your meeting stays productive! In this article, we will explore how to effectively write a meeting agenda for your next meeting with this easy-to-follow guide.
We have all been in meetings in which everyone seems to be talking over one another and nothing has actually been decided by the end of your team meeting. Sounds familiar? That is because those meetings have not been given an agenda beforehand, leading to a lack of efficiency and focus in the discussion.
Effective meeting agendas give your business meeting a clear purpose and help you and other meeting attendees stay on track with discussion topics.
Simply put, the integration of agendas will enable you to save time and reach desired outcomes by the end of your team meeting, making your meeting more organized, productive, and purposeful.
Do you want to ensure that your next meeting runs smoothly as well? Then let’s dive in and see how you can create an awesome meeting agenda to use your own and others' time efficiently!
But first of all, we need to clarify one question...
What is a Meeting Agenda?
A meeting agenda is a written or digital document that outlines the topics, schedule, and expected outcomes of a meeting or event. It should include how much time is allocated for each topic as well as any relevant documents or materials that are needed for discussion points.
Having a meeting agenda allows participants to stay focused on the task at hand by providing clear instructions on what needs to be accomplished throughout the meeting. An effective meeting agenda also helps clarify roles within the team meeting by assigning specific tasks or responsibilities to certain meeting participants.
How Can You Benefit from Meeting Agendas?
A meeting agenda is an essential tool for any team, business, and formal meeting, as well as other business events for several reasons:
Firstly, it adds a structure to your meeting, providing a clear roadmap for discussions and activities. By providing participants with discussion points in advance, you can ensures that your meeting runs smoothly and efficiently, avoiding chaos and confusion.
Secondly, an agenda enhances clarity and focus. Clearly outlining the purpose of the meeting and the topics to be covered, ensures that all participants are on the same page and remain focused on the main meeting/project objectives.
Additionally, a meeting agenda supports you in having clear time allotments for each agenda item, helping meetings stay on track, while simultaneously ensuring that enough time is allocated to each topic.
Lastly, sharing the agenda before the beginning of a meeting allows participants to prepare themselves, leading to more informed and productive discussions.
What Elements Should You Include in Your Agendas?
Meeting agendas typically consist of several key elements which, when put together, serve as a road map to well-structured and effective meetings. So lets begin our journey by discussing what items should definitely be included in your own agenda, so you will not be missing out on any discussion topics anymore:
Purpose and meeting goal.
Meeting format and details (date, time, & location).
List of attendees or meeting participants, and their responsibilities.
Agenda items or topics to be discussed.
Time allocations for each agenda item.
Any supporting/reference material or documents required.
Conclusion and next steps.
How To Write an Effective Meeting Agenda?
Regardless of the type of meeting, you would like to write a meeting agenda for, creating an effective agenda does not have to be difficult. In fact, once you have followed the following five easy steps for writing your own custom meeting agenda, you can simply create a meeting agenda template, allowing you to be prepared for every new agenda.
Let's dive right in:
1. Establish the Meeting Type
The first step in creating your meeting agenda is to determine what type of meeting it will be.
Common Meeting types are:
Team meeting: regularly held, these group meetings are fantastic chances for your team to collaborate, go over the various business components, and share information relevant to projects and upcoming events.
Status Updates: these meetings are often held to keep everyone up-to-date on the status of projects and tasks.
Project kickoff meeting: every new project kicks off with a meeting to ensure that everyone on the team is informed of their objectives, deliverables, and timelines.
Brainstorming meeting: harness the power of collective creativity by leveraging a conducive brainstorming session with your team to fully develop new ideas.
Feedback meeting: hosting a meeting to obtain constructive feedback from your team on upcoming projects and protocols is an invaluable tool.
Agile/Scrum meetings: beneficial and hyper-focused conversations that agile groups use to conduct detailed sprint reviews, discuss customer feedback, project updates and much more.
Board meeting: at regular intervals, the board of directors for your organization come together to review team accomplishments and evaluate any policy issues. Formal meetings ensure that these topics are discussed in detail to guarantee successful outcomes.
Retrospective meeting: to review and assess the success of a project and identify areas that may require improvement, post-project meetings are essential for thorough reflection.
Onboarding meeting: assist new employees in comprehending the standard of professionalism expected to be upheld within their work setting.
Knowing the type of meeting will help you define the goal for the meeting, as well as identify who needs to attend (and who doesn’t). This will in turn make it easier for you to define the basis of your meeting agendas.
2. State the Objective of the Meeting
Once you know what type of meeting you are having, the next step is to establish an objective for the meeting. Ask yourself, what are specific meeting goals you would like to set for this meeting. When defining this step of your meeting agenda, think about why this particular type of meeting was called and what outcome you would like to achieve from it.
It is important to make sure that your objectives are specific and measurable so that attendees know exactly what they need to do to ensure that the discussion, and thus the meeting, is a success.
Defining the purpose of the meeting in your agenda will also help group members to prepare themselves in advance.
But don't worry, not all agendas require you to write a formal statement of your meeting objective. A short bulleted list will also do the job just fine.
3. Identify Specific Meeting Topics
Now that you have established an objective for your meeting, it's time to figure out which topics need to be discussed in order for that objective to be achieved. Try not to get too bogged down with details at this stage; just list out which topics you would like to discuss during the course of your meeting.
Involving Your Meeting Participants
Especially when thinking about possible agenda item, remember to include any attendees or participants in this stage of your meeting agenda creation. It is sometimes good to first gather everyone's input, as it helps you to gain an overview of what topics might provide value to your discussions.
Remember the saying "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much" (Helen Keller).
4. Allocate Time to Discuss Each Topic
Now that you know what topics will be discussed, it’s important to ensure that each item from your meeting agenda has its own allocated time slot. This way you can ensure that nothing gets overlooked or rushed over during the course of the discussion.
Allocating time slots will also help keep everyone on track and ensure that nothing is missed out due to any time constraints of your meeting.
5. Include a List of Necessary Documents
When creating your meeting agenda, make sure to include any necessary documents or materials needed by attendees prior to attending the meeting, so they can come prepared with any questions they may have about those documents or materials.
This way, attendees won't waste valuable time trying to figure out what they need when they arrive at your office or virtual conference room ready for your big discussion!
A properly planned out agenda can make all the difference between a productive and unproductive gathering! With the steps outlined above, anyone can create an effective meeting agenda template tailored specifically for their needs in no time at all! And if you're still feeling stuck on how, exactly where or how to start—don't worry! We got you covered with our free downloadable template below! So grab yours today and start planning out your next successful meeting now!
Download your free meeting agenda template here.