A Meeting Agenda is a breakdown of activities and topics that attendees must perform or discuss at a particular time or during the meeting. A Meeting Agenda Template, on the other hand, is a pre-made document that is just needed to be filled by you and thus serves the same purpose as hand-typed meeting agenda.
Meeting agendas play a large part in enabling organizations to accomplish all-important subjects at a given meeting. It ensures meetings are productive. However, achieving productivity requires adequate planning of activities and topics to be discussed. Writing a meeting agenda can help ensure a meeting runs efficiently and achieve its desired goals.
Attendees are provided with prior notice of different agenda topics that must be covered during the meeting. The agenda topics set out in the meeting can be informational where updates and presentations are made, discussion topics hold conversations on issues and make decisions on them, and action items where updates are provided and discussions are held on the status of assigned tasks.
Importance of Having a Meeting Agenda
A meeting agenda plays an essential role in helping an attendee discern whether or not he is needed in the meeting. Attendees can decide based on what will be discussed and whether the discussion topics are essential to their work. Attendees that feel their contribution to the meeting would be crucial but cannot attend can plan to have a colleague covey their points even in their absentia.
A meeting agenda also helps attendees adequately prepare for the meeting. Attendees can gather necessary documentation for the meeting or prepare any presentations that the agenda states must be made. It also enables attendees to think about the issues to be discussed in the meeting.
A meeting agenda ensures that the meeting is well structured for the individual set to chair it. This helps ease the chair’s ability to keep the meeting on track and within the outlined topics. Finally, a meeting agenda helps the chair and attendees judge if the meeting is a success by assessing whether the goals have been achieved. It also helps determine whether future meetings are necessary.
A meeting agenda can be used to set up different types of meetings.
The following are types of meetings that can be organized with the help of a meeting agenda:
A simple meeting is a small meeting with basic replicable requirements. It is used when there are a few items to discuss or decide on. Simple meetings are often short; therefore, the meeting agenda set is usually straightforward and contains very few discussion topics.
A team meeting is a type of meeting where members of a team come together to discuss a particular topic or a list of topics. It helps build healthy communication amount members of the team. A team meeting agenda template can be used in a team meeting to tackle important issues affecting the team or its work while also helping to keep members engaged in the discussions by ensuring that the organizer is not the only person stating points throughout the meeting.
A business meeting is a formal meeting where two or more people come together to discuss company objectives and operations. Business meetings are often conducted in an office setting; however, video conferencing has made it possible for business meeting participants to join from anywhere. A meeting agenda helps structure a business meeting, ensuring that it runs according to a well-laid-out procedure.
Weekly leadership meeting
A weekly leadership meeting is a type of meeting conducted at a dedicated/designated time where leaders of every major function in an organization come together to discuss, bring up issues, and solve problems in their departments. Weekly leadership meetings help department heads gain insight into the work conducted by other departments and help them link issues that may affect the organization’s overall output. In addition, a meeting agenda can help ensure that issues affecting the day-to-day operation of an organization are discussed.
Formal meeting minutes
Formal meeting minutes are official topics that are discussed in a formal meeting. Formal meeting minutes are often written during or after the meeting takes place. The minutes are often highly detailed to ensure that the items discussed and decisions made in the meeting are conveyed. In addition, a meeting agenda helps highlight the items to be written in the formal meeting minutes upon the conclusion of the meeting.
A board meeting is a type of formal meeting attended by the board of directors of an organization. This type of meeting is held at definite intervals or required to review the organization’s performance, consider policy issues, discuss major problems and perform the board’s legal business. A meeting agenda template helps ensure that all board members are well prepared for the meeting to run efficiently.
Items To be Included in Meeting Agenda
The items included in a meeting agenda template should help ensure relevant topics are discussed. Therefore, a meeting organizer must know which elements to include in his meeting agenda.
The following are the basic elements/items that should be included in a meeting agenda template:
Meeting agenda title
The title plays an important role in helping the attendee identify its kind of meeting. Therefore, the title of a meeting agenda should be written at the top of the template, and it should be center-aligned to ensure that it can easily be spotted.
A description of the purpose of the meeting
Information on the purpose of the meeting should be provided in the meeting agenda template. This will provide attendees with an indication of what the meeting is all about.
The objectives of the meeting
A meeting agenda should contain the meeting objectives. The objectives will explain what the organizer hopes to achieve by having the meeting.
Meeting date and time
The date and time when the meeting will be held should be provided to help ensure that attendees are aware of when the meeting organizer will expect them.
The meeting location
The meeting organizer should indicate where the meeting will be held in the meeting agenda. This will ensure attendees are aware of where to go for the meeting.
This section of the meeting agenda template should indicate the type of meeting that will take place. The organizer will indicate if it is brainstorming, assessment, or discussion meeting. This will ensure that attendees come prepared.
The run time of the meeting
The meeting agenda should contain the start and end times of the meeting. This will ensure that attendees know what time they can expect the meeting to begin and end. Organizers may indicate this as the duration of the meeting in the meeting agenda.
Full list of attendees
The number of people expected in the meeting and their names should be indicated in the template for the meeting agenda. This will ensure that an attendee is informed of whether or not he/she is expected in the meeting.
Notes on preparation
The meeting agenda should contain instructions to be followed by attendees, things they should bring, and action items, including last action and new action and their due dates. This will ensure attendees are well informed on what preparations they should make for the meeting.
Other instructions/information that attendees must be aware of should be provided in the meeting agenda.
Note: There is no standard duration for a meeting; therefore, it can either be long/short. A long meeting can last a day or more. This is especially common for formal meetings that are known to have away days. This, therefore, makes it important to indicate breaks in the meeting agenda. Short meetings may also have broken; however, these breaks are often provided to allow attendees to discuss points made in the meeting among themselves.
Samples for Help
Following are a few meeting agenda templates and samples that may help you understand the structure of the meeting agenda:
Outline a Meeting Agenda
Outlining a meeting agenda can help create an order for tackling each topic, ensuring that none is neglected. A meeting organizer should begin his outline before the meeting starts to help ensure that several agenda drafts are made and sent to attendees.
When writing an outline, the organizer should ensure the following:
- All meeting topics are written
- Attendees are consulted to provide their input
- Topics are organized by priority/importance
- All important meeting information is provided
How to Fill a Meeting Agenda Template
A well-written meeting agenda is drafted using a well-laid out step-by-step process. Meeting organizers must be aware of this process while creating a meeting agenda.
The following is the step-by-step process used to fill a meeting agenda template:
Define the goal(s) of the meeting
When filling a meeting agenda template, the first step an organizer should take is to define the goal(s). The goal of having the meeting will influence the topics to be discussed or activities that will take place in the meeting.
A meeting should have achievable goals like discussing a particular topic such as the inflated company budget or sharing information such as progress reports. This helps ensure that the meeting is focused on important issues.
Take input from the participants
The second step an organizer should take when writing in a meeting agenda template is to consult his team about issues that need to be addressed. This will help keep the meeting attendees engaged as they will feel that their needs are being considered.
Meeting organizers can ask for suggestions, questions, or items team members would like included in the agenda. A list should then be formulated to help ease the item selection process. Finally, the selected items in the list should be included in the meeting agenda template.
Enlist problem(s) you want to resolve
Thirdly the meeting organizer should enlist problems that must be tackled and resolved in the meeting. The problems can be phrased as questions to help encourage attendees to engage in discussions that help them come up with collectively agreed-on solutions.
If the purpose of the meeting is ‘Marketing and Advertising a New Product,’ the organizer could write ‘What affordable advertising methods can we engage in?’, ‘How do we improve the effectiveness of our adverts?’ or ‘What new marketing mechanisms can we embrace?’
Purpose identification of each task
The fourth step a meeting organizer should take is to identify the purpose of each task written in the meeting agenda template.
The purpose stated by the organizer may be to share information, obtain attendees’ opinions on a matter, or decide on an issue.
This will help attendees discern when their input is needed or when they must decide on an issue.
Calculate time duration
Next, an estimated time for each topic to be tackled should be allocated in the meeting agenda template. This will ensure attendees have enough time to cover all the issues. It will also help attendees ensure that their contributions /points are made within the time allocated.
Therefore, the entire meeting is not spent tackling only one topic, yet several issues must be discussed. Priority topics should be tacked first, or topics that are likely to take longer should be allocated more time. This will ensure that they are adequately dealt with to the satisfaction of all attendees.
Elucidate leader of each topic
The meeting organizer should then establish who will lead the discussion of each topic. This will help ensure that the people capable of leading the discussions are not caught by surprise during the meeting, enabling them to be well prepared.
Conclude meeting with a review
Finally, the meeting organizer should allocate time for attendees to review the decisions and issues discussed in the meeting. This will help remind attendees of the tasks they should undertake after the meeting. The time allocated can also be used to evaluate the successes of the meeting and identify aspects that should be improved in future meetings.
Meeting Agenda Template
Meeting Agenda Title:
Date: Time: Location:
Start time-End time: Title of the first topic
• Point A
• Point B
• Point C
Start time-End time: Title of Topic two
• Discussion point A
• Discussion point B
• Discussion point C
Start time-End time: Title of topic three
• Discussion point A
• Discussion point B
• Discussion point C
Start time-End time: Title of topic four
• Discussion point A
• Discussion point B
• Discussion point C
• Action item 1
• Action item 2
Following are some free downloadable templates for you:
Preparing a meeting begins with creating a meeting agenda. A meeting agenda template helps to facilitate a productive meeting. It also helps ensure that the meeting has a clear goal, enabling attendees to focus on what is discussed or the decisions made. Therefore, meeting organizers should always ensure that a meeting agenda is part of their management and facilitation practice.