How to Create an Effective Meeting Agenda

We’ve all been to unproductive meetings that are a waste of time and money. Meetings aren’t always free either because of the wrong people or a lack of discussion. A meeting agenda that’s effective will help you meet your meeting’s goals and move closer to company goals.

A clear and concise agenda makes everyone aware of what will take place during the meeting and helps prepare participants for the meeting. Include the following elements in your meeting agenda to make it effective.

Make a list of all outcomes expected and the purpose of your meeting. This will help you keep your focus on the most important topics and prevent unnecessary side-bars.

Determine what topics will be discussed for each item. This should include an overview of the topic, who will be responsible for addressing it and how much time must be allocated to the discussion. It is also beneficial to include the location and the time zone of the meeting, particularly for remote teams.

Think about listing each item on the agenda as a question that needs to be addressed by members of the group. (Example: “What steps should we follow to rent equipment?” ?”). Each discussion point could be made into a question to stimulate discussion and be aware of what is expected at the meeting.

Include a process to determine how you’d like each agenda item to be dealt with. This is a key element of a meeting that is often left unnoticed, but can be significant in determining the effectiveness of a meeting. Without a clear process participants will make their own decisions on how to approach the subject which could lead to off topic discussions or even a complete meeting derailment. Adding a process will allow participants to alter their comments to fit within the time allotted or to suggest that more time be allowed for a particular topic.