How to Create an Effective Meeting Agenda

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We’ve all been to meetings that consume time and money. Meetings aren’t free regardless of the wrong people present or irrelevant discussions. An effective meeting agenda ensures that you achieve the purpose of your meeting and move closer towards the goals of your business.

A clearly written and concise agenda for meetings helps everyone understand what will happen during the meeting and helps prepare participants for it. Include the following elements in your meeting agenda to make it effective.

List all the expected outcomes and the purpose of your meeting. This will help keep your attention on the most important issues and avoid unproductive side-bars.

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

Think about listing each item on the agenda as a question to be answered by an entire group. (Example: “What steps should we take to rent equipment ?”). Each discussion topic can be made into a question to encourage discussion and better comprehend what is expected during the meeting.

Include a procedure to determine how you’d like each agenda item to be handled. This is an aspect of a meeting that is often overlooked and can be a major factor in the effectiveness of the meeting. A clear process will allow participants to decide how to approach a particular topic, which can result in off-topic discussions or even a complete derailment of the meeting. By having a procedure, it will allow attendees to adapt their remarks to fit the time frame or suggest that more time be allocated for a particular topic.

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