There is not much worse than having meeting after meeting without a clear objective or agenda.
So, what this “clear objective”? Well, it’s quite simple. When scheduling a meeting, you need to ask yourself two fundamental questions:
- what are we talking about?;
- what is the objective of this meeting?
Without knowing answers those questions, it’s better to scrap the meeting and crack on with the day.
What should be the answers to those questions? Well, without knowing the points for discussion, a meeting is pointless. There’s no reason to have it at all. The topics should be the ones for which you need the input from other Team members to help map out the next steps.
The objective needs to be something meaningful for continuing your work and moving forward. The aim may be a decision that needs resolution, a plan for next steps or just a Teamwide project update. In either case, you must leave that meeting knowing something more than you did before it began. You can help achieve clarity with the meeting agenda by providing it before the meeting.
What is a meeting agenda?
A meeting agenda refers to the activities and items that need to be discussed during the time allocated for the meeting and the things that need to be achieved during it.
It helps to create a clear understanding of the meeting’s purpose and its goals. Ideally, it should provide clarification on why each meeting participant is there, and where is their input expected. With a clear plan, provided in advance, everyone will have a chance to prepare for the discussions, making it even more successful.
What to include on the meeting agenda?
Before writing it down, please discuss with your Team about the specific topic you’d like to cover and whether there is anything else that may not have been considered.
So how do you write a meeting agenda? Here is how:
- Start with the title. A title is more important than it seems. It’s what sets each meeting apart from the others.
- Include an attendees list and a location. A Who, when, where and why section. This section comes immediately after the title. It is almost like a brief overview of what the meeting is going to be about. This can be summed it up in a few words and is the purpose of getting your attendees together.
- Outline the topics. Do so in the order of importance, to ensure people are focused on the most critical items first. For each of the agenda points, list what they are about. Then list what the discussion outcomes are. This way, the agenda will easily tie-up with the meeting minutes.
- Make sure to include an agenda item called “other” or “general business” This will make it clear from the outset that anything that may be missing from the specific points above can be discussed in the end. It will also prevent the meeting from becoming derailed and people from jumping into a completely different position or discussion as soon as they can connect it to the agenda point (you’re welcome).
- At Precision, we use Asana, a perfect cloud-based tool that allows for easy agenda setting and Team collaboration.
Send it out!
Don’t forget about this stage. Let everyone know in advance what the meeting is about and prepare points and questions. An easy way to do this is to attach it to the invite you’re sending out via calendar.
If you would like to discuss how your meetings can be improved don’t hesitate to Join the conversation…