Creating a meeting agenda is the basis of a well-organized and effective meeting. To make it productive, it is not enough just to invite people and say your point. You should plan the entire meeting accordingly.
The participants shouldn’t have the feeling of wasted time after the meeting. Based on Verizon Business’s study, meetings are seen as the number one time-waster at work ranking. It is your duty to change this opinion in your workplace. How? You will find answers in this article.
To make the most of any type of meetings, you need to be well-prepared and know exactly what are purposes of each of them. Before you start creating an agenda, consider if it is absolutely necessary to call a meeting. Maybe sending e-mails will be good enough and let you and your team safe some time? If you have thought about it and still want to arrange a meeting, let’s get down to the business and create a proper plan.
Creating a guest list
Start by creating the invitees’ list. Is the topic you are planning to discuss important for managers only or maybe it is crucial for the whole department? Or on the other hand - if you are planning to meet with, e.g. only the marketing team, think about what topic should be raised during the meeting to make it productive.
It is crucial that each invitee feels that their contribution to this meeting is relevant and that they can express opinions and point of view at any time. For this to happen, the meeting must directly correlate with their daily duties in the company.
Scheduling and inviting in advance
For all invited people to appear at the meeting, you should schedule it and invite people in advance. Each of the participants should have the ability to plan their workday, including this meeting. It will definitely have a positive effect on their well-being during the appointment. You probably participated (more than once) in such an unexpected encounter and instead of focusing on it, you thought about the enormous amount of work that remained at your desk and wonder how long you will have to stay overtime to deal with all. Let your invitees avoid it.
To schedule all your meetings, you can use a tool. Harmonizely allows you to plan many types of appointments (one to one, more to one, secret meetings). What is an excellent feature - it sends notifications to all invitees. Harmonizely is also very simple to integrate it with calendars (Google Calendar, iCloud, Outlook/Office 365, Zimbra and more). If your teams are working remotely, there is no problem - Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Kopano integrations will handle scheduled online meetings, too.
Such a tool is a convenient solution when you prefer to organise, e.g. monthly or quarterly meetings. Schedule them in advance - you will receive e-mail notification about each of them.
Keeping the agenda short and clear
While making and agenda for your business appointment, keep it short and based in a realistic time frame. No one wants to spend 3 hours on a business encounter. People can’t focus on work that long, so don't bring up too many topics. It is said that the average person should work 52 minutes and then have a 17 minute-long break to be productive. Remember this fact while arranging your meetings. Participating in one is also work. During the meeting, every participant should be allowed to speak. So you should also set some time for questions and brainstorm.
While sending the agenda and invitations, you should clarify if you will be the only speaker or there is also time for someone else to speak. People usually don’t like surprises at work, so don’t make one. If participants are expected to prepare themselves for the meeting, this information should be included in the invitation too.
How to create a meeting agenda form?
Meeting agenda to be useful should be uncomplicated and easy to read. Don’t write too long sentences but don’t overuse abbreviations either. During the meeting, you won’t remember what it means. Meeting agenda form should involve:
- Starting and Ending Time
- Localisation (especially if it’s out of office)
- Invitees (the name of every participant)
- Your contact details
- Schedule with each topic listed and based in a time frame
- Names and topics presented by other speakers
Once you create a meeting agenda form, you can use this template every time you organise an appointment. Just add some adjustments depending on what kind of meeting you are running, and you are ready to go.
Double-checking all the details
There is never too much checking. Before sending attendees the invitation to the meeting along with the agenda, make sure it contains all the necessary information and that everyone who should be is on the invite listing. Here are some questions that may help while double-checking:
- Is the topic not too broad or too general? Or maybe too detailed?
- Are you sure you are inviting all the people who are involved in the objective?
- Are you sure all the invited people are on the sending list?
- Are the date and time of the meeting correct?
- Are all scheduled topics realistically set in time?
- Have you made any time for a brainstorm or questions?
- Have you indicated that there will be other speakers besides you?
As you can see, creating an agenda for meetings is not rocket science. But, on the other hand, it is not only a simple list as many think. To make clear and helpful agenda, you need to practise. But after reading the tips above, we are almost sure that you can do this. Writing down all the details and topics will help you to run a profitable and effective meeting. And this is the best way to inspire your invitees. So let’s get down to the business and be an inspiration!