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An Effective Meeting Agenda

Tips and examples
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Meetings make progress happen. In some cases, however, they can slow things down instead. To avoid unproductive conversations and turn those into effective problem-solving sessions, you need to prepare in advance and have a specific outline that will facilitate the reasonable use of time. To establish a strong meeting culture, it’s important to have an agenda that communicates the overarching purpose of the gathering, allows everyone to stay on track, and gives an opportunity to prepare the necessary information.

Best effective meeting agenda tips

1. Time is important, hence, you should create an agenda and share it with involved parties as soon as possible

It’s always a good idea to give your team or whoever you’re meeting with a day or two to do the prep work, which would help stay focused and save a lot of time. If your situation is extreme and everything is happening last minute, you should definitely share the agenda at least an hour before.

2. To avoid confusion, you need to define each agenda item and assign an appropriate level of priority.

Needless to say, if there are things that other people don’t understand, they will likely not know how to act upon them. Therefore, it’s important to categorize and explain each item. In addition to that, you need to clarify how important each item is so that everyone can adjust the time and resources used accordingly.

3. You will likely expect different people to perform different tasks, which should be reflected in the agenda.

The last thing you want to do is randomly call on people during the meeting and expect them to participate to the best of their abilities. The problem with this approach is that it rarely yields positive outcomes. Instead, your meeting agenda should clearly distinguish between facilitators that will go over important topics and questions in advance and come prepared.

A Meeting Agenda

Example #1

Summary

(Key updates and the overall status of the project)

Roadblocks

(Main obstacles that prevent the attainment of goals)

Open Action Items

(Next steps and important deadlines)

Each of the elements of the meeting agenda above should include things like assignee, due date, priority, and minutes.

Example #2

Date: Time: Location:

Topic 1: Title

Topic 2: Title

Topic 3: Title

Notes and Action Items

Wrapping Up

When it comes to a meeting agenda, the most important thing to keep in mind is why you’ve created one in the first place:

  • to give everyone prior notice of important topics
  • to set expectations for everyone, both before and after the meeting
  • to manage time effectively
  • to stay focused on the ultimate goal
  • to establish an effective pace for the meeting and the overall progress.

Creating a concise and clear agenda is essential for carrying out a meeting productively and achieving both short- and long-term goals.