There is nothing more frustrating during a business day than a long, useless, and futile meeting that exhausts every participant and becomes a total waste of time. The reason for this is a poorly developed or no agenda. Planning meetings and sharing this information with team members can make your workflow more effective and productive. Let’s review some tricks for creating a perfect agenda to turn your meeting into a happy hour.
What is a meeting agenda?
The agenda is the intended meeting plan, including a list of tasks to be discussed and resolved. It features all the participants, accounts for the timing, and sets certain goals that must be accomplished. A meeting moderator should follow up when the meeting deviates from its objectives and return it to the desired flow. Moderators must send agendas in advance so that every participant can get acquainted with them and get ready with everything they might need.
How to compile a perfect meeting agenda?
The meeting organizer is responsible for compiling the agenda and sending it out to all the participants. You can either use sample meeting agenda templates that you can easily find online or read our tips and develop a plan that will match your needs perfectly.
Establish the purpose of the meeting
Every meeting takes place to solve a specific problem. The purpose of the gathering is a vital component of the agenda. It’s best to mention the topic in the headline of the invitations you send out. The purpose should be brief and not ambiguous.
Describe the expected outcomes
It will be easier for your colleagues to prepare for the meeting if they understand what is expected of them. Describing expectations will help participants conduct research or choose a methodology to help them easily get from point A to point B.
Mention the time and place
It may seem nothing, but in the new realities of a remote work format and different time zones, you should mention these details. For example, the exact time format (15:00 GMT+1) will definitely not allow you to miss a meeting. Specify the location of the meeting — physical or Whoosh/Zoom/Skype. You can attach a link to the meeting to complete the picture.
Make a list of topics or steps
Each topic of discussion should contribute to the goal of the meeting. The list can be short but should be detailed enough so that team members can prepare for the meeting and contribute effectively. A standard method is to phrase each topic as a question. This triggers the thought process.
This list should include only people who need to attend the meeting. When considering each person, ask yourself three simple questions. If you answered yes to any of the questions, add them to the agenda:
- Do they need to be present to accomplish the purpose of the meeting?
- Do they have valuable knowledge or experience that could influence the outcome?
- Do they have a direct impact on the result of the goal?
One of the biggest complaints about business meetings is that they waste time. It’s better not to invite people who don’t have the expertise or skills to address the problem. If the decision you make could affect the work of uninvited employees, you can provide them with a video recording of the meeting or a brief for their review.
You should clearly limit the time for meeting participants to speak. Knowing in advance that everyone has only 10 minutes, the speaker will try to make their presentation shorter and not hold everyone else up. If you see that the person is delaying, hurry them up or ask them to cut back. A short and effective meeting equals happy and not tired employees.
Allow time for a discussion panel
Discussing the proposed outcomes and a group brainstorming session will help find an effective solution to the problem. Leave this meeting section for the very end, when everyone has already spoken.
Your agenda for an effective meeting must basically be a roadmap with milestones and assigned roles.
Tips for holding an effective meeting
Writing and sending out an agenda doesn’t mean the meeting will go smoothly and reach its objectives. You have to take the following actions to succeed.
- Invite all participants to the meeting. Try to send the agenda out at least 48 hours in advance.
- Set up automatic appointment reminders via email.
- If this is an online meeting, ensure each participant has the necessary app installed.
- Ask participants to check their microphones, camera, and speakers before the meeting begins.
- Help participants stick to the meeting plan and guide them if they exceed the time limit.
- Record feedback and key ideas right away.
- Send out the results and your meeting brief to all participants.
Following our simple tips will help you create a perfect agenda and hold an effective meeting of any size.