We’ve all been trapped in a work meeting where the participants didn’t adequately prepare. People end up talking in circles, and you may feel like you’re on some kind of corporate merry-go-round with no exit in sight!
Ineffective meetings like these can quickly dampen spirits and productivity, and unfortunately, they’re more common than you’d think. In fact, a Harvard Business Review study showed that 71% of senior managers felt that meetings were unproductive and inefficient. When you neglect preparation, ineffective meetings are the end result. This is why drafting agendas is crucial to help better prepare for meetings and ensure no one is wasting their precious time.
What Goes Into a Meeting Agenda?
Agendas are more than just a list of discussion points. They are essential road maps for meetings, outlining the associated topics and updates that team members need to address. Preparing a business meeting agenda can make all the difference between an engaging, productive meeting versus a chaotic one.
No matter whether a meeting is about sharing insights, planning for future tasks, or providing a status update, agendas help attendees stay on track and respect the allotted time frame. Implementing a formal meeting agenda template that sets guidelines for meetings organization-wide can also improve collaboration and productivity on a larger scale.
Let’s take a look at some benefits preparing an agenda can provide.
Agendas Define Meeting Objectives
Organizing a meeting agenda ahead of time provides an opportunity to get all of your ducks in a row by outlining your meeting objectives.
Consider the goal of the meeting. What do you want the outcome to be? What do you want attendees to take away from the meeting? The answers to these questions will likely change depending on whether you’re planning a weekly huddle or a monthly check-in. In other words, agenda topics will vary depending on the meeting’s purpose.
Knowing what information you want to be relayed to meeting attendees can help significantly when breaking down points of discussion on your agenda. If you are unsure about how to ask for — or finalize — agenda items for a meeting, consider a simple email such as the one below:
I am drafting the agenda for our upcoming team meeting next week. As our Marketing Manager, please review the topics below and advise if there are any other items you’d like to cover:
- TOPIC 1 (i.e. email campaigns)
- TOPIC 2 (i.e. Social media performance)
- TOPIC 3 (i.e. Website content refresh)
Of course, you can skip this email-drafting step when you use a meeting intelligence platform like Docket, which allows you to collaborate on agendas in real-time!
Agendas Help Attendees Prepare
If all attendees have access to the agenda prior to the start of a meeting, they can review discussion points and plan ahead for any information, comments, or questions they would like to communicate during the meeting.
Optimally, agendas should be sent out as far in advance as possible to give people ample time to review them, but sending out an agenda even a few hours before a meeting can make attendees more confident. Both simple meeting agendas and agendas that are more complex can be effective. Even if a meeting is casual, knowing what to expect going into it can empower employees and relieve stress.
Agendas Increase Productivity
Agendas are a great way to help maintain attendee engagement. When you distribute an agenda ahead of time, team members are more likely to prepare questions or comments regarding the various agenda items, which means they’re more likely to participate actively.
It’s easier to stay engaged and share input when you already know what input you want to share! As engagement increases, so do productivity, efficiency, and employee satisfaction. According to Gallup, engaged employees are 17% more productive and significantly less likely to quit their job.
Organizing Agendas Lets You Archive Past Meeting Outcomes
Every meeting should start with a review of the agenda items. There should also be an individual assigned to take minutes, or notes, on the discussion. These meeting minutes and digital agendas are very useful, especially if organized in a convenient place.
Compiling all your meeting agendas in one place gives you a library of information that you can refer to as needed. For example, if you are unsure about the last time you discussed a specific project during a meeting, you have your agendas to look back on. You can find templates for your team’s agenda and minutes of meeting samples on Docket’s website, in addition to some guides on how to have awesome meetings!
Agendas are a crucial component of running a meeting. They allow you to map out all of the important items of discussion and make it easy for attendees to stay engaged and follow along. While there are various formats for creating a meeting agenda, a simple team meeting agenda template will consist of at least the meeting title, date and time, discussion topics, and names of those responsible for presenting said topics.
Docket has a wide selection of meeting agenda examples you can review to determine which format would best suit your needs. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Meeting agenda templates can be a helpful starting point, but there’s always room for you to make changes depending on your organization’s needs.