Get More Done With a Good Meeting Agenda
Effective meetings start with a good preparation. Which in its turn starts with a clear goal and meeting agenda. Just setting the time, location and participants is a good start but doesn't quite cut it nowadays, or to be fair, any day.
Set a Clear Goal
A well-prepared meeting has a goal. We don’t mean “team meeting Tuesday” (just named after a topic) but what you want to achieve with the meeting. Do you want input from others, decisions or simply to share something with your colleagues? Ask yourself if a meeting is even really necessary. An update of a status can be given via email or between other businesses.
Set Clear Topics
If the goal is clear, it is important to set transparent agenda points.
A good practice is to divide the main goal of the meeting into smaller sub-goals. Yes, these are your topics. Doing this right will get everybody on the right track. Ever had a meeting with a ton of miscommunication? Having a good laid-out agenda and sticking to it makes the difference.
Here we have an example to show you what we are talking about:
Let team members hand in suggestions, it leads to more participation. Ask the ones that submit an agenda point how much time it will need. Don’t be scared to reject topics that don’t add value to the overall meeting. The same accounts for points that don’t concern all of the participants. It can be unpleasant to reject a colleague's idea but it is worse to keep others two hours away from their work.
Make it possible that participants can keep track of the agenda points. Describe which part is concerned and what exactly has been discussed. Start with the main agenda point and don’t plan too much. A little game can be really nice and usually, people prefer to finish earlier than later.
Inform on Time
Try to have a fixed agenda at least one day before the actual meeting is and send it out to the participants and ask them to confirm their attendance. It is rather annoying if you rented out the master boardroom just to find out that only three of the planned 20 participants showed up.
If there are documents that participants need to go through beforehand, distribute them even if half of the attendees are not going to read them. It is so nice for everybody to have the same and the newest version of any documents. And don’t forget: instead of printed version, there is the possibility of digital copies.
Don’t forget about sticking to the agenda. May seem like a dead giveaway but it is too easy to drift off into a new version during the meeting. Keep a close eye on your meeting goal and an even closer eye on the time.