Meetings are one of the pillars of team cohesion, collaboration, and efficiency but it can also be a monumental waste of time. There are executives that define meetings as a brainstorming conference. There are other companies that define it as a paid break while good food with the boss. There is a huge gap between a productive meeting and free food with the boss and It is dependent on the agenda, preparation, and discipline. Preparations will not happen without an organized agenda. Writing a perfect agenda is the first step between a productive session and wasting time. Here are the key points in writing an excellent agenda.
An Agenda is an invitation to an activity.
An agenda is an order of business. It is also an invitation. Break it down into three parts
Header – This should contain the who, what, where, and why.
– The Subject Matter of the Meeting
– The Objective of the meeting
– Date, Time, Place
– List of participants
It should be direct, concise, and complete. If the list of participants is too long, write down the important presenters and decision makers.
Body – It is an outline form of the talking points. It should be broken down into a narrative. Oldest business first. More on this later.
Addendum – This part contains several necessary information
– Contact information of the person in charge of the arrangements
– List of documentation to be reviewed
– List of documentation that needs to be presented
– List of collaborating data on new information regarding old topics related to this meeting.
Imagine the flow of conversation
List all the topics that need to be addressed. Reorganize them into an outline form to create a logical and natural flow. All important talking points should be listed on the agenda.
Estimate and write down the time it would take to discuss each topic. Subdivide if necessary or combine related topics. If possible, specify who is responsible for presenting each talking point.
Rewrite the outline to keep it short and direct to the point. This will be the body section of your agenda.
Important Points to consider when writing your agenda
- Plan, prepare and disseminate the agenda ahead of time.
- Confirm receipt from attendees at least 3 business days prior to the meeting date.
- Include all the necessary information on your agenda.
- Follow a standard agenda format for your company.
- Be very concise.
- Do not use unfamiliar technical terms.
Double check and Polish
Here is a list of items to double check before sending the agenda to all those concerned.
- Time, Date, Place
- Attendee names
- Correct topic
- Well structured flow of conversation
- Realistic expectation of the minutes
- Resources required
- Follows established corporate format
- A superior approval
Meetings are a necessary process for any organization. It moves the company forward as a team and encourages collaboration. The agenda should be respected. It ensures that attendees arrive prepared with the expected flow of conversation. It also ensures that they have the data necessary to answer any questions that may arise.