A meeting agenda is a document that will ensure that you have a productive and informative meeting. If the agenda is not complete, then it is impossible for your attendees to prepare to participate in a productive manner. It takes time to craft an effective meeting agenda, but it can mean the difference between making the most of everyone’s time or wasting everyone’s time.
You will want to give yourself at least two weeks to create an effective meeting agenda and then another week for your attendees to receive and review the agenda. The sooner you start your agenda, the easier it will be to get input and make changes. It is a good idea to have an agenda template you can use to make sure that you always create comprehensive and useful agendas for each meeting.
A Single Objective
Your meeting should have one objective and that objective will be the theme and title of the agenda. Any topics you cover in your meeting should only pertain to the subject at hand. The reason you want to do one meeting per objective is because not every objective will need the same group of people involved. It can also get confusing when a meeting attempts to cover too much ground.
Create The Topic List
Your objective needs to be broken down into a list of actionable topics. When you create your topics, try to keep in mind your meeting objective and what you hope to accomplish. Your list of topics should be comprehensive, and you should not leave out any topic of importance.
Prioritize Your List
Creating your topic list is a brainstorming exercise where nothing should be discounted. Once you have your list written down, the next step is to remove topics that do not apply and prioritize the list. The prioritized topics list will act as the meeting schedule and will dictate the direction in which the meeting will go.
Break Down Into Subjects
Each item on your topic list should be broken down into subjects that need to be discussed at the meeting. You will get a much better idea as to how long the meeting will run when you sit down and create your itemized list of topics.
You will always have a group of attendees that you trust for input on your agenda, and it is important to get their input one week before releasing the agenda. Your test group will make suggestions on changes to the agenda, and you must ultimately decide which changes will be made. This process can go back and forth to try and get the best agenda possible, but it should not last any longer than one week.
Your finished agenda will give all attendees the information they need to create their questions and notes for the meeting. You should allow attendees a week to submit questions about the agenda, and your agenda should also include an estimated running time for your meeting.
Jim Treebold is a North Carolina based writer. He lives by the mantra of “Learn 1 new thing each day”! Jim loves to write, read, pedal around on his electric bike and dream of big things. Drop him a line if you like his writing, he loves hearing from his readers!