Time is a precious and irreplaceable resource, it can only be redirected from lower value activities to higher value activities. This leads us to think that we want to use it efficiently. Creating an agenda for a meeting in the right way includes, among other things, effective time management, keeping track of the topics to be discussed during the meeting, and setting clear expectations for all team members.
This combination of factors will allow you to address issues that arise in a more effective way and will help you and your team to increase productivity and achieve your goals. Below, we will answer any questions you may have when setting up your agenda.
- To prepare an agenda you should consider priorities, results, participants, time, date, and place. If you follow this plan, you will achieve better results, and you will ensure that team members do not waste valuable time (1).
- You must be clear about your objectives, and each participant should leave the meeting with the idea that they went through a sensible process. You may not meet the exact agenda, but the most important thing is that the attendees leave with a clear idea of each point made.
- Use the time wisely, you should optimize the meeting time as much as possible. To do this, you can prioritize the meeting so that you don’t miss the most relevant points.
How to create an agenda for a meeting?
Surely you have some ideas on how to organize an agenda for a meeting, surely it is something you do every day. Whatever your case may be, in this section we want to answer some questions that may arise when setting up your agenda and help you organize it more efficiently.
What is a meeting agenda?
We could say that it is a list of items that must be fulfilled, the purpose of keeping an agenda in a meeting is to share information, in order to make a decision at the end. It is essential to emphasize that a meeting has a useful purpose, that is to say, that the desired result must be achieved in that space of time.
Depending on the nature of your work, a meeting may have one or several objectives, these objectives should be set out in your agenda, so that you can work towards achieving each of them.
Ideally, you should schedule the most important points or topics to be discussed and address them at the beginning, thus ensuring greater attention and participation of all members of a meeting. In addition, if for some reason the meeting must end earlier, or a participant must leave before the end of the meeting, the most relevant topics will have already been addressed.
How to create a meeting agenda?
1. Make a plan
It is important to define the goal of the meeting. Seek input from your colleagues, involve your team members and encourage them to suggest items to add to the agenda, this will help you to effectively engage team members. You can send or organize this by email, and be sure to do so at least one week in advance so that the agenda is finalized 3 to 4 days before the meeting.
2. Design a list
Once the purpose of the meeting has been identified, design a list of participants and items to be discussed. Create templates with the specific topics for each meeting, this will help you keep order and focus on the main topic. You can use tools such as To Do list, or Google calendar.
3. Distribute the time
Time is a very important factor, so the best thing to do is to place time slots for each item of the meeting. Try to identify which agenda items need more time. This way you will be able to cover all aspects, and in the end, you will be able to have a productive meeting. Allocating time slots to the meeting agenda holds you and your team accountable for being productive and on time so that you can cover everything that was planned.
Make sure to take notes in your agenda of the most relevant points as the meeting progresses, this will give you order and will be key at closing time. Write down the doubts and questions that arise and answer them at the end of the meeting in the same order in which they arose. You can use the meeting agenda as a template to take notes of decisions, this will add value in the future when reviewing the content of the meeting.
5. Action Items
After each meeting, different objectives emerge, be sure to assign each person a specific task, time and deadline to accomplish it. Take time at the end of each meeting for this activity, and follow up on previous actions.
6. Ask for feedback
End the meeting by taking into account your colleagues’ comments on how the meeting went. Questions such as What did we do well? And What can we improve for the next meeting? Will help with performance and working relationships.
What to include in a meeting agenda?
When creating an agenda it is helpful to follow certain points to give order and shape to your meeting, here are some items to keep in mind:
|Step by step||.|
|Break the ice||You can start the meeting with an icebreaker activity, this will help participants to be more attentive and open to receiving information.|
|Agenda items||Start by defining the agenda items, ordered according to everyone’s need for time and attention. You can write the topics in the form of a question, this will help your team with context and thinking ahead.|
|Supporting documents||Send the people who will participate in the meeting all the material and documentation, so they can be informed and prepared.|
|Decision-making||Leave a section in your meeting agenda for key decisions, and see what objectives were achieved.|
|Next step||Identify the purpose and outcome of your next meeting, which you can see by reviewing the notes taken during the meeting.|
What do you need to create an agenda?
How to develop an effective meeting agenda?
To develop an effective agenda, you should follow these simple steps:
- Stay focused on the topics you defined to discuss.
- Don’t exceed the amount of time devoted to each meeting topic.
- Encourage member participation.
- Prioritize the most important topics.
- Record the steps to be followed by each participant.
What tools can you use to organize a meeting agenda?
- Google Calendar is an electronic agenda and calendar developed by Google. It allows synchronization with Gmail contacts so that we can invite them and share events. Read our Review for Google Calendar.
- Zoom is known for being a videoconferencing platform, it also includes tools to facilitate the process of scheduling meetings. With Zoom, you can add the meeting to your calendar, which automatically sends an invitation to the recipient for you. (Read more about Zoom here)
- Arrangr is a tool, which handles meeting scheduling comprehensively by booking tentative meeting times and also freeing up slots that are not taken. It integrates with calendars and CRM.
- Rallly allows you to create a simple, straightforward poll in which attendees can vote for a day that works best for them. It also includes an open comments section on the meeting page for attendees to plan the agenda or discuss important details (4).
Advantages and disadvantages
- You can constantly keep track of processes
- Increases team confidence
- Facilitates decision-making and bug fixes
- Makes the meeting more active and collaborative
- If the issues are very complex, it can take a long time and the meeting can become an obstacle
- If the process does not bring something new, the essence of the meeting may be lost
How to conclude a meeting agenda?
When closing your meeting, it is ideal to review each item on the agenda. Performing this process will help you identify and propose a new process to address each agenda item at your next meeting. This will also help identify the steps through which the team will move to complete the discussion or make a decision.
Defining a process before the end of the meeting will significantly increase the effectiveness of the meeting, as a leader it is important to take this time so that each team member has a clear vision of what role they need to play in order to achieve the proposed goals.
At this point, you already understand how effective it can be to keep an agenda for your meetings, you should always keep in mind that it is an excellent way to visualize in a simpler way what you have to do and how to achieve it. It will help you not to forget valuable points along the way, you will be able to optimize your time, and you will be able to design an action route to achieve your goal.
Developing your meeting schedule is a wonderful habit and your team members will thank you for it. Finally, ask yourself these questions at the end of your meeting: Was the agenda distributed in time for everyone to prepare it, how effective was the process for each agenda item, and we can assure you that investing a few minutes in this will allow the team to improve performance.
1. The balance careers. 2022. “How to Develop an Effective Meeting Agenda.” Https://Www.thebalancecareers.com/. Accessed September 6. Source
2. Harvard Business Review Home. 2022. “How to Design an Agenda for an Effective Meeting.” Accessed September 6.
3. WikiHow. 2022. “How to Write an Agenda for a Meeting.” Https://En.wikihow.com/. Accessed September 6.
4. Hubspot. 2022. “17 Of The Best Tools For Scheduling Appointments And Organizing Your Day. “
5. EAE Business School. 2022. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Weekly Meetings. “