How to Create an Effective Meeting Agenda

We’ve all had meetings that were ineffective that consume time and money. Whether it’s the wrong people in the room or irrelevant discussions or even a lack of discussion, time spent in meetings isn’t cheap. An effective meeting agenda ensures that you reach the objective of your meeting and get closer to achieving company goals.

A concise and clear agenda allows everyone to understand what’s going to happen in the meeting and also helps participants prepare for it. Include the following items in your meeting agenda to ensure that it is effective.

Determine the purpose of the meeting, and then list all expected outcomes of the meeting. This will help keep your focus on the most important points and help you avoid unnecessary side-bars.

Then, for each item on the agenda, define the topics to be discussed. This will include an overview of the topic, who will be responsible for the discussion and how much time should be allocated to the discussion. It’s also helpful to mention the location of the meeting and its time zone, particularly for teams that are remote.

If you are collaboration, think about listing each agenda item as a question that will be answered by the group (i.e., “What steps should we take to rent equipment ?”). Announcing each discussion point as a question will stimulate discussions and help improve understanding of what’s expected during the meeting.

Create a plan to define how you’ll expect each agenda item to be handled. This is a crucial aspect of a meeting that is often left unnoticed but can be significant in determining the effectiveness of a meeting. A clear and concise process can help participants to decide what to do with a subject which could result in off-topic discussions or even a complete derailment. With a clear process, attendees can adapt their comments so that they fit within the time allotted or suggest additional time for a specific topic.

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