Meetings are a common event in business and work environments. It can be a small discussion or a critical strategy meeting. But no matter the size of the meeting, a good meeting agenda is vital to ensuring a successful meeting. It ensures that participants are well-prepared, that the meeting is efficient and accurate, and ultimately that the meeting's goals are achieved.
In this blog, we'll give you the ultimate guide to writing a meeting agenda, help you create one with a clear and defined purpose, and provide you with a sample agenda.
What is a Meeting Agenda?
A meeting agenda is a document that outlines the topics, issues, and tasks to be discussed or accomplished during a meeting. It serves as a roadmap for the meeting, helping to keep the discussion focused and on track. A typical meeting agenda includes the meeting's purpose, the time and location of the meeting, a list of the topics to be covered, and the expected outcomes or decisions that need to be made. Meeting agendas can be used for various types of meetings, such as business meetings, team meetings, board meetings, etc.
The Importance of Meeting Agenda
A meeting agenda is essential because it guides the participants to know what topics will be discussed and what goals should be achieved during the meeting. It helps to keep the discussion on track, avoid irrelevant or time-consuming topics, and ensure that everyone is aware of the purpose of the meeting. A clear and concise agenda can also help to set expectations, allocate time effectively, and promote active participation and engagement from all attendees.
According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, 71% of senior managers view meetings as unproductive and inefficient. A well-designed agenda can help to make meetings more focused, productive, and meaningful. Meetings without agendas are twice as likely to run over their allotted time, compared to meetings with agendas. This can be frustrating for participants, leading to a lack of engagement and decreased productivity. Also, a survey conducted by the online scheduling software company Doodle found that 72% of respondents felt that meeting agendas are important for productive meetings. 70% of respondents also said that agendas help to ensure that meetings stay on track and don't deviate from their intended purpose.
Ultimately, having a well-planned agenda can lead to a more productive and efficient meeting, saving time and resources for all involved.
What Should be Included in the Meeting Agenda
A good meeting agenda should include the following:
1. Meeting name and time
The meeting name and time should be clearly stated at the top of the agenda. This helps participants to know the purpose of the meeting and when it is scheduled to take place. If the meeting has a specific theme, this should also be mentioned.
For instance, "Meeting name and time: Weekly Marketing Team Meeting - 10:00 AM, Tuesday, September 28th"
2. Participant's name and title
The next section of the agenda should include a list of participants, including their names and titles. This helps everyone know who will attend the meeting and their role in the discussion. Such as:
- John Doe, Chief Marketing Officer
- Jane Smith, Marketing Manager
- Sarah Lee, Social Media Manager
- Joe Black, Graphic Designer
3. Meeting goals and topics
The meeting goals and topics should be listed in the agenda. This section should clearly state what the meeting aims to achieve and the topics that will be discussed. This helps participants to know what to expect and prepare accordingly. Including:
- Review monthly marketing performance
- Discuss new campaign strategy
- Brainstorm ideas for an upcoming event
- Address any outstanding issues
4. Detailed description and discussion time for each topic
Each topic should have a detailed description outlining what will be discussed. The time allocated for each topic should also be mentioned. This helps to ensure that there is enough time for each topic to be discussed thoroughly. For example:
- Review monthly marketing performance (30 minutes): analyze our current marketing data and discuss ways to improve our marketing efforts
- Discuss new campaign strategy (45 minutes): brainstorm and decide on an upcoming marketing campaign
- Brainstorm ideas for an upcoming event (30 minutes): suggest and evaluate ideas for an upcoming event
- Address any outstanding issues (15 minutes): discuss any unresolved issues from previous meetings
5. Estimated length of discussion time
The estimated length of discussion time for each topic should be included in the agenda. This helps participants to know how long each topic will take, and if there are any time constraints, they can be addressed in advance.
- Review monthly marketing performance (30 minutes)
- Discuss new campaign strategy (45 minutes)
- Brainstorm ideas for upcoming event (30 minutes)
- Address any outstanding issues (15 minutes)
6. Links or folder locations to related materials
If any materials are related to the meeting, such as reports, documents, or presentations, links or folder locations should be included in the agenda. This ensures that all participants have access to the relevant materials and can review them before the meeting. I.e.:
- Google Drive Folder: Monthly Marketing Reports
- Google Slides Presentation: New Campaign Proposal
7. Additional Notes or Instructions
Finally, the agenda should include any additional notes or instructions that participants need to know. This could include things like meeting etiquette, expectations for participation, or any specific requirements for the meeting. For instance,
- Please come prepared with ideas and suggestions
- Please limit any distractions during the meeting
- Respectfully acknowledge each other's opinions
How to Write a Meeting Agenda
Here are some steps for writing a meeting agenda:
1. Determine the type of meeting: first, determine the kind of meeting. Is it a group meeting, a team meeting or an all-hands meeting? This will help you understand who is at the meeting, when and the importance of the topic.
2. List meeting topics: After you understand the type of meeting, list all topics and discussion points. If you need more clarification, ask an attendee or organizer. Then rank them to determine each topic's priority and order of discussion.
3. Allocate time for each topic: Set a discussion time and deadline for each topic. This will ensure that the meeting ends within the allotted time and allows participants to prepare adequately.
4. Add other details: In addition to the information above, you can add additional details such as names of participants, time and location, etc.
5. Send meeting agenda: When you have completed your meeting agenda, send them to attendees so they can fully prepare and participate in the meeting.
Meeting Agenda Example
1. Formal Meeting Agenda Template
Download: Word Template | PDF Example
2. Board Meeting Agenda Template
Download: Word Template | PDF Example
The purpose of a meeting agenda is to provide an organized and structured outline of the topics that will be discussed during a meeting. It helps to ensure that the meeting stays focused, on track, and achieves its intended purpose. Here are some specific purposes of a meeting agenda:
- Clarify objectives: By listing the objectives and goals of a meeting on the agenda, everyone who attends the meeting will be aware of the purpose of the meeting and what is expected of them.
- Help participants prepare: A well-designed agenda provides participants with the opportunity to prepare for the meeting in advance. They can review the agenda, think about the topics to be discussed, and gather any necessary information.
- Prioritize important topics: The agenda helps to prioritize the most important topics to be discussed first, so that everyone has enough time to address them without rushing through the meeting.
- Avoid wasting time: An agenda can help to ensure that meetings start on time, stay on schedule, and end on time. This is important in order to avoid wasting time, which can be frustrating and counterproductive.
- Encourage participation: A clear and concise agenda can help to encourage participation and engagement from all participants. Knowing what topics will be covered in advance can help to ensure that everyone has a chance to speak and share their ideas.
A well-planned meeting agenda is essential for a successful meeting. It helps to keep everyone focused, ensures that all necessary topics are covered, and provides participants with the information they need to prepare for the meeting. By including the items listed above, you can create a compelling meeting agenda to help you achieve your goals and make the most of your time.