How to Create an Effective Meeting Agenda

Each kind of gathering, from a single conversation with a teammate, to an all-hands conference to address organizational goals and issues, requires a well-planned agenda. A well-planned agenda will keep everyone engaged in a constructive, purposeful way while increasing the productivity of each participant as well as the entire group.

Define the goals of each agenda item. By defining the goal of each item, participants will know what they can expect and be able to adjust their involvement accordingly. Clarity about the goals of meetings will ensure that the meeting does not alter its purpose, and is therefore more likely to be a success.

For each objective be clear about what the desired outcome is expected to be accomplished. This can include stating whether the goal is to exchange information, gather input, or to make a decision. It can also include describing the process used to accomplish the goal for example, 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 accordingly. Leaders can also determine if more time is required or if they could achieve the goal with less time.

Include “parking lots” items on your agenda. Parking lots are a place to record important thoughts or conversations that are relevant to the topic at hand, but not necessary to be discussed in this meeting. This is especially beneficial for virtual meetings, because it helps to avoid meetings being diverted by unrelated conversations.

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