Meeting agendas are optional, right? Business meetings can be held for many reasons: to discuss a topic, find a plan of action or update team members on the status of a project. After you’ve established the purpose and need for your meeting, then the next step is to create an agenda. A meeting without a clear agenda can be compared to a ship that’s sailing without a map: you’re on the sea and going somewhere, but no one knows where. In order to ensure your ship is on the right course, send a copy of your well-written agenda 24 hours in advance and have paper copies ready for the participants at the start of the meeting.
Three Reasons Meeting Agendas are Necessary
- If none of the topics are relevant for one person, they can skip the meeting and focus on the tasks they’re responsible for.
- A numbered agenda is a powerful organizational tool. If you refer to the agenda often, you can stay in control of your meeting and the amount of time spent on a topic.
- Agendas can be used as a feedback mechanism for whether or not your meetings are successful.
Three Key Elements of Meeting Agendas
- Basic information like the location, names of expected participants, date, start time and end time of the meeting. Even better, estimate the amount of time necessary for each agenda item – and stick to it. If something unimportant comes up, add it to your topics Parking Lot, or create an agenda item called AOB (any other business) that can be discussed if there is time at the end of the meeting. The AOB item can also be added to the agenda of the next meeting.
- The topic and the person responsible for it. If someone sees their name in writing next to a topic, they’ll know they’re expected to speak and can prepare for the meeting.
- An objective for each item, or for the meeting in general. If you’re searching for a reason for the meeting and you can’t find one easily, perhaps this meeting isn’t necessary.
Three Positive Outcomes of Creating and Distributing Meeting Agendas
- Attending unnecessary meetings results in lost productivity, which means lost revenue for the company.
- A clear agenda saves time, as it keeps the discussion on track.
- The agenda can be used as a checklist to track what has been accomplished in the meeting.
Of course, there are many other elements that can make meeting agendas even more effective. However, after committing to using an agenda and following the above steps, your meetings will be more efficient and the attendees more interested in contributing. If you have other ideas for creating agendas or making meetings more efficient, please share them in the comments section below. For information on how you can run effective meetings, click here.