How to Create an Effective Meeting Agenda

Every kind of meeting, from a private discussion with a teammate to an all-hands conference to discuss organizational goals and major issues, requires a well-crafted agenda. A well-crafted agenda will keep everyone involved and focused, while increasing productivity for each participant and the group.

Define the objectives of each item on the agenda. By defining each item’s objective participants will know what they can expect and be able to adapt their participation in accordance with the objectives. Meeting objectives that are clear helps ensure that the meeting does not go off-track, making it more likely to be successful.

For each objective, state clearly how the desired outcome will be realized. It is possible to state whether the goal is to gather information or to make a decision or share information. It can also include describing the method employed to accomplish the goal including seeking consensus or an election.

Provide an estimated time for each agenda item. In addition, providing an estimated time helps participants to prepare for the discussion and alter their participation accordingly. Leaders can also determine the need for more time or if they are able to achieve the goal with less time.

Include “parking lots” items on your agenda. Parking lots are an ideal place to record important ideas or conversations that are related to the topic at hand but are not required to be discussed during this meeting. This method is particularly beneficial for virtual meetings since it can prevent meetings from being interrupted by conversations that are not related to the topic.