How to Create an Effective Meeting Agenda

Every kind of meeting, from a one-on-one discussion with a teammate or an all-hands meeting to discuss goals of the organization and major issues, requires a well-planned agenda. A well-planned agenda can keep everyone on track and focused and increase the productivity of every participant and the group.

Define the objectives of each item on the agenda. By defining what the purpose of each item, attendees know what they can expect from the meeting and modify their participation accordingly. Clarity in the meeting’s objectives assists in ensuring that the meeting does not depart from its initial purpose and is thus more likely to be a success.

For each goal, explain clearly how the desired result will be achieved. This could include stating whether the goal is to exchange information, gather input or make a decision. It could also include describing the process that will be employed to accomplish the goal, such as seeking consensus or a vote.

Provide an estimated time of each agenda item. By providing an estimated time, attendees can prepare for the discussion. They can also alter their participation according to the time. Leaders can also decide whether more time is needed or if they can accomplish the goal in less time.

Include “parking lots” items on your agenda. Parking lot is used to record important discussions such as ideas, discussions, and thoughts that are related to the meeting topic but do not need to be discussed. This technique keeps meetings from being interrupted by unrelated conversation and can be particularly useful for virtual meetings.

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