How to Create an Effective Meeting Agenda

We’ve all been to unproductive meetings that consume time and money. Meetings aren’t free, whether it’s because of the wrong people or irrelevant discussions. A meeting agenda that’s efficient will help you reach the purpose of the meeting and get closer to your company’s goals.

A clear and concise agenda makes everyone aware of what’s expected to happen during the meeting, and it helps participants prepare for it. Include the following elements in your meeting agenda to ensure it’s efficient.

The purpose of the meeting and list all anticipated outcomes of the discussion. This will keep you focused on the most important issues and prevent unnecessary side-bars.

Define what will be discussed for each item. This should include an overview of the topic, who will be responsible for covering it and how much time needs to be devoted to the discussion. It’s also beneficial to include the meeting’s location and time zone, especially for remote teams.

Consider listing every item on the agenda as a question to be addressed by an entire group. (Example: “What steps do we need to take to rent equipment ?”). The act of phrasing each discussion item as a question can stimulate discussion and increase understanding of what’s expected during the meeting.

Include an explanation of the procedure you’re planning to follow for each item on the agenda. This is one of the most neglected elements of a meeting and can greatly improve meeting effectiveness. A clear and concise process can help participants decide what to do with a subject, which can cause off-topic discussions, or even a complete derailment. By having a procedure participants can modify their remarks to are within the time limit or suggest more time for a specific topic.

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