According to countless workplace surveys and human resource polls, company meetings are viewed as one of the top 5 biggest time wasters by employees. Meetings are often disorganized, lack tangible goals and have a tendency to drift off topic. Fortunately, all of these pitfalls can be avoided with a clear and concise meeting agenda.
An effective agenda sets clear expectations for the attendees, so everyone involved knows what the objective is and understands what needs to happen before and during the meeting. It dictates the allotted time, ensures you are all on the same page, and sets you up for success.
Here are 6 tips to help you create a productive meeting agenda.
Ask for Input
The best way to ensure your team members stay engaged in meetings is to include them in the agenda creation. Ask attendees to suggest agenda items or topics that affect the entire team, and give them an opportunity to lead the discussion. Of course, if you decide not to include a suggestion, be prepared to explain your reasoning.
Keep it Concise
Before you even start writing an agenda, determine the objective. If asked why you are meeting, you should be able to answer the question in two sentences. Once you’ve established a goal, prioritize your list of topics so the important items are covered first. And remember, long agendas (and their subsequent meetings) can seem overwhelming, so to try to keep the list to no more than 5 topics.
Set Time Per Topic
This can be tricky at first, but the more meetings you have and the better you understand your team’s dynamic, the easier it will be to estimate the time needed for each agenda item. Consider how much time you’ll need for introducing the topic, answering questions, resolving differing opinions, generating potential solutions and agreeing on action items. You may choose to include the allotted time on the agenda itself, or simply use it determine number of agenda items and meeting length.
Use Questions for Agenda Topics
If the purpose of an agenda item is simply to share information, then a simple statement is probably suffice, but if the goal is to seek input for a decision, it helps to use a question to frame the topic and ensure team members prepare for the discussion. For example, instead of simply stating “Company Gatherings” on the agenda, consider the question, “What types of company gatherings are you interested in attending?”
Give Advance Notice
By distributing the agenda in advance, you not only show respect for your team’s time, but you have the opportunity to specify how attendees should prepare for the meeting. Make sure you allow enough time for your team members to formulate their initial thoughts for each agenda item, or to read through any notes or background materials that you provide.
Consider Virtual Meeting Management
Ensuring all parties within your team or company have equal access to the information you are distributing is crucial. When these parties are spread throughout the state, nation, or even globe, you need a reliable online meeting set-up established. If you are looking for affordable and reliable virtual meeting management, check out Worktank.