It’s too easy for meetings to run off-topic and out of control without an effective meeting agenda. Having a casual agenda or no agenda at all wastes both time and money. It also makes participants less inclined to attend and contribute to your meetings. A good meeting or corporate event agenda not only streamlines the proceedings and keeps everyone focused on the work at hand, but also serves as a reference document that participants can use to plan for the meeting and to refer to after the event is over. A good event agenda design should be clear and concise and let attendees, both internal and external, know exactly what to expect at the event.
Anyone can learn how to write an event agenda. It’s a skill like any other business task. At Docket, we recommend you make this process even easier by making use of the variety of free agenda templates available today, including those for conferences, business meetings, leadership meetings, casual meetings and corporate events. These meeting templates allow you to create high-quality agendas without having to recreate the documents from scratch.
How to Use an Agenda Template to Help Before, During, and After a Meeting
A good event agenda template is useful in all three phases of a meeting–before, during and after. If you are unsure as to how to write an event agenda, we have a few tips. Before the meeting, your agenda template or editable conference agenda template Google docs helps you get your thoughts together and arrange them in a way that is most interesting and beneficial to your attendees. Your well-constructed simple meeting agenda also helps those attending the meeting to prepare for the event, to gather their thoughts and to jot down any questions they may want to ask. During the meeting, the effective meeting agenda serves and a flow chart and helps the chairperson keep the meeting flowing smoothly and on topic. It also provides a good place for attendees to take notes and write down action items. After the meeting, those who attended the meeting can use the agenda as a memory tool to share the information from the meeting with other staff members and to staff on task with any agreed-upon action items from the meeting.
If you’ve been hesitant to use a free team meeting agenda template and other meeting templates, it’s time to reconsider these time-saving tools. Some of the best meeting agenda templates can be found on common sites like Google Sheets templates, Microsoft’s Office 365, and Docket, a meeting intelligence platform. All sources have agenda tools such as for leadership meeting agenda templates, conference agenda templates, event schedule templates, formal meeting agenda templates, casual meeting agenda templates and weekly team meeting agenda templates, just to name a few. They also have several sample meeting agenda documents to give you ideas for your own meetings.
Best Practices for Using Free Meeting Agenda Templates
1. Make it your own.
After you find the general meeting template that best matches the type of meeting you’re planning, you’ll want to modify it slightly to reflect your own particular meeting. Each company and organization has their own, slightly different way of holding meetings and you’ll want to add those elements into your agenda. For example, maybe you are planning a church leadership council meeting and you always begin and end the meeting with prayer. You’ll want to add those elements into a standard conference agenda template doc. As another example, perhaps you are chairing an orientation meeting for new employees. You should add a section to your event agenda template doc where each new employee can introduce him or herself and give a brief bio.
2. Prepare the agenda in advance.
Another essential tip for preparing a good meeting agenda is to make sure that you prepare the document and distribute it to attendees well in advance of the meeting rather than simply handing the agenda out at the beginning of the event. This gives participants time to think about the topics and prepare thoughtful questions and comments.
3. Designate the amount of time allotted and a person to lead each topic.
“Harvard Business Review” recommends naming a person to lead the discussion on each topic and putting that on the agenda as well as giving an estimate of how much time will be given to each topic. That allows attendees to see how long the meeting is expected to last and also to adapt their comments and questions to fit within the stated time parameters.
Help prepare you and your guests for meetings with a good meeting agenda with help from free and easy to use agenda templates and make them your own so any effort you put into to creating them can be reused and repurposed from meeting to meeting!