How to create an effective meeting agenda [+ free agenda template]

Posted by Jasmine Cargill
on February 25, 2016

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Have you ever left a meeting thinking, “that was nice, but what was the point?” or worse, “what a waste of time”. Here’s how to avoid that scenario and create the best agendas for effective meetings.

Why is it that, even in professional organizations, meetings can become aimless? Usually, it’s because people don’t spend enough time preparing. When preparation is undervalued, agendas aren’t created… making it harder on yourself to reach goals.

At First Agenda, we know that good preparation equals great results. These guidelines can help you create agendas, for focused and productive meetings, every time.

At the end of this blog post, you’ll find a simple template for creating agendas.


Clarify a purpose

What do you want to achieve in your next meeting? This question is the first step towards creating a strong agenda.

 

Get specific

An agenda item such as “intranet” won’t get you very far. You can do better, we believe in you. Instead, “increasing engagement on the intranet” brings more heat. Better yet, use an open-ended question such as “how can we increase engagement on the intranet?” Open-ended questions will stimulate ideas and responses from your participants.

Important! Ensure that each item relates specifically to the purpose of the meeting. If in doubt, leave it out.

 Use a template for meetings that occur regularly or for multiple meetings on one subject. With a template, you streamline preparation and participants know what to expect.

See the link at the end of this post to download our simple meeting template.

 

Send it out early

Agendas should be sent out as early as possible, preferably with the meeting request. Prepared participants make for better meetings, simple as that.

 

Spend time wisely

When facilitating meetings, allocating time for agenda items can be tricky but it gets easier with experience. Be as realistic as possible and adjust along the way. Because you are in charge, you will need to make judgement calls on when time should be up for an item (or if a few extra minutes will serve the meeting’s purpose).

Be careful not to rush or stress your presenters and participants. Yes, you need to keep the timing, but there is nothing worse than a facilitator who constantly reminds everyone that “there’s not much time left”. If this is something familiar to your meetings now, you need to adjust how you’re planning (or not planning) for meetings.

Are you looking for ways to get more out of your meetings? We’ve compiled ten tips to help make your meetings more focused and more effective.


Action items

The fruits of good agenda planning are that everyone leaves the meeting knowing what they need to do. Follow up with a summary of the meeting, noting all the agreements and who has taken responsibility for what actions.

Click here to download our simple template for meeting agendas

 

As preparation and agenda-making are important, so is keeping everything organized and together. First Agenda makes preparing for, holding and following-up on meetings easier and more fun. Our cloud-based app stores everything you need in one place. Curious to find out more?

Read more about our new meeting app