Agenda Meeting: How to Make Every Meetup a Success

If you're like most people, you've probably been to a lot of meetings that didn't seem to accomplish anything. Maybe the event went off-topic, or maybe it was just a waste of time. Either way, it's frustrating. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to make sure your get-togethers are productive and valuable. One of the crucial ones is setting a meeting agenda. In this blog post, we'll share the five essential things it should include to ensure your team is always moving forward and making progress. What's more, we'll also share with you some handy templates that will help you get started feeling a little more prepared. Ready to dig in?

Agenda Meeting: How to Make Every Meetup a Success

Introduction: what's on the agenda?

If you're new here, then you may be wondering what an agenda is and why to create separate versions of it for different types of business meetings. An agenda is simply a list of topics that will be discussed during an event. Having it outlined helps to keep sessions organized and focused, so that every guest knows what topics will be covered, can prepare for the occasion accordingly, and take good notes to review after the meetup. And since business events differ in their goals, objectives, duration, and number of participants, it's better to have an agenda template created in advance for each meeting, which will save you a lot of time in preparation.

Meaning: why you should always have a meeting agenda

Did you know that 67% of all meetings conducted in the world are considered a complete waste of time? As much as we don't want to believe it, these numbers are real. This is the data that The Muse reported in its study. Considering that 11 million meetings are held every day all across the globe, these results are terrifying. But is there a way to prevent an unsuccessful outcome?

If you've ever been to an offline or virtual meet via any of the popular video conferencing services - Whoosh, Google Meet, or Webex - that felt like it was meandering and going nowhere, you know how distressing it can be. But chances are, that the meeting could have been saved with one simple thing - the agenda.

Having a meeting agenda ensures all event participants are kept in the loop and know what needs to be accomplished. An agenda can be called a roadmap for the event that will help you hit all the important points without getting sidetracked. And if you're the one leading the appointment, it can help you keep control of the conversation and make sure everyone gets a chance to speak.

The benefits of following meeting agendas

When it comes to running productive meetings, agendas are key. They provide a framework for the event and keep everyone on the same page. It allows hosts to plan ahead and ensure all discussion topics are covered.

There are many other benefits, of course. Here they are:

Keep the meeting focused

When you have a meeting agenda, you have a guide for the discussion. This helps ensure the appointment stays focused and on schedule. Also, it lets your guests know what topics will be discussed and when. This can help them prepare ahead of time and be ready to contribute to the conversation.

As for the attendees, the agenda allows them to stay focused during the meeting as well. If someone starts to drift off-topic, you can simply refer to the agenda and bring the conversation back to the specified topic. This keeps meetups running efficiently and prevents them from getting bogged down.

Allow all meeting participants to contribute

It doesn't matter whether you arrange a brainstorming session or a problem-solving get-together, you want your guests to share their thoughts and ideas. With a set agenda, this can be accomplished with ease. When people know in advance what topics will be covered, they can prepare their thoughts and ideas in advance. They will even have time to come up with something brilliant, something that is just the right solution to your problem.

Track progress

By setting an agenda for a formal meeting in advance and then following it during the event, the entire team can more effectively track the progress of the meeting. It also allows for more specific and focused questions and more efficient use of time. The agenda becomes a record of what was accomplished and what needs to be done next. When team meetings are run without it, they tend to meander and can generally be less productive.

Make meetings shorter

Did you know that one of the main reasons meetings drag on is that people don't follow the meeting agenda?

Yep, it's true. When people don't have a specified agenda to follow, they tend to ramble, and the meetup ends up going off on a tangent. This can be a huge waste of time - and it's something that can easily be avoided. A recent study showed that if you follow the set agenda, you can cut meeting time by 80%! What is that if not an obvious benefit?

Prepare for the next meeting

Plenty has been said about the perks of following meeting agendas. After all, it can help the meetup run more smoothly, with every team member staying engaged and concentrating on the discussion topics.

But did you know that agenda can help you prepare for the next appointment? By taking a few minutes to review the outline of the previous meeting, you'll remember what topics have already been covered and what else needs to be discussed. This will help keep everyone oriented and make sure that any unfinished business is addressed. By the way, if you have the sample minutes from the last appointment, it will double your success at the next meetup.

In short, following a team meeting agenda can help to improve the efficiency and productivity of meetings. If you want your get-togethers to be more successful, start using agendas and see the difference they make.

What your agenda should look like

Another shocking fact: about $37 billion is wasted on ineffective meetings. So how can we reduce this appalling number?

Easy! If you take some time to create a meeting agenda, you can ensure all your arrangements are productive and move your team members closer to your goals.

So, what does a typical meeting agenda look like?

5 essential things a meeting agenda should include:

Timeframe

The first is a start time and end time. This may seem obvious, but it's important to set a timeframe for your meeting so that everyone knows how long they need to allocate for the discussion.

Specific purpose or goal

Without a clear purpose, meetings can quickly become unorganized and inefficient. By including a goal on the agenda, you can help to ensure your meeting is productive and successful.

The desired outcomes

If you want your meetup to be fruitful, it's important to start with a clear agenda that includes the desired outcomes. This will help everyone in the meeting stay focused on the task at hand and avoid veering off into unrelated issues.

A list of discussion topics

If you're not sure what topics to include in the agenda, start by brainstorming all the issues and concerns that need to be addressed. Once you have a list of potential topics, you can then prioritize them based on importance and relevance. Including a list of discussion points in the agenda will also help ensure your meeting is productive and successful.

A list of action items

This is a key part of any productive meeting - make sure to devote some time to discuss all the actions that need to be taken as a result of the meeting. This way, you can avoid the dreaded post-meeting email where people have to ask what they should be working on.

An action item is simply a task that needs to be completed, and it should be assigned to a specific person. Action items can be as small as sending a follow-up email or as large as starting a new project. Regardless of the size, every item should be realistic and have a due date.

Other possible components:

  • A list of attendees and their roles
  • Timings for each item
  • A list of any materials or resources that will be needed
  • Assignments for each participant
  • A plan for follow-up actions

It all may seem a bit complicated, but actually, it is pretty simple. Here's just one of the possible scenarios:

- Opening: introduction and ice-breakers

- Project updates: a high-level overview of the project

- Open discussion: questions and concerns from team members

- Closing: next steps and action items

More meeting agenda examples we'll cover later in the article.

Tips for making your agendas more effective

No doubt you have attended one or two team meetings that seemed like a waste of time. Maybe the agenda wasn't well planned, or maybe the discussion just seemed to go in circles.

There's no magic formula for putting together a great meeting agenda, but there are a few things you can do to make yours more effective. What are they?

1. Start with the end in mind

This golden rule means that before you even start creating your agenda, you should first think about the desired outcome of the meeting. What is the major goal of this gathering? What do you hope to accomplish? Once you have a clear meeting objective, you can start to work backward and figure out what needs to be done to get there.

2. Keep the agenda focused

Don't try to cover all the topics. Trying to cram too many items into the agenda can cause the meeting to lose focus and lead to confusion and frustration. Instead, concentrate on a few key points that are crucial to cover.

It can be helpful to start by creating a list of all the topics you want to discuss. Then, prioritize the list and focus on the most important items. Once you have a focused agenda, it's important to stick to it and not get sidetracked by other topics.

3. Make sure there's time for discussion

All too often, meeting agendas are packed with items that need to be addressed, leaving little room for open discussion. If everyone is just presenting their ideas one after the other, you're likely to lose people's attention. But if you allow for some discussion and debate, you'll keep people engaged and more likely to come up with creative solutions.

4. Be flexible

Just because you made a plan doesn't mean you have to stick to it rigidly. Allow for some flexibility in the agenda so that you can adjust based on how the conversation is going. Try to create a general outline of topics that need to be discussed, but be flexible and allow for deviations from the agenda if necessary. Thus, you'll be able to add any new information that may come up during the meeting.

Just as every get-together is different, so is every agenda. If something doesn't work, don't be afraid to change it on the fly.

7 sample meeting agenda templates

One of the easiest ways to make your meetings more productive, efficient, and relevant is to use a prepared in advance meeting agenda template.

We've prepared 7 templates that you can start using immediately. each of them is designed for a certain type of gathering, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs. From weekly team meetings to one-on-one check-ins, we've got you covered.

  1. Basic meeting

 

Meeting Agenda

Date:

Time:

Place:

 

Topic 1: 

Title

Points to cover:

  • Point 1
  • Point 2
  • Point 3

Topic 2: 

Title

Points to cover:

  • Point 1
  • Point 2
  • Point 3

Topic 3: 

Title

Points to cover:

  • Point 1
  • Point 2
  • Point 3

Notes and action items:




 

2. Agenda with specified timing

 

Meeting Name

Date:

 

Start Time:

 

End Time:

 

Place:

 

 

 

Meeting Objectives:

  • A
  • B
  • C

Please, prepare the following:

  • A
  • B
  • C

Time 

Minutes

Topic

Speaker

12:00 PM

5

Introduction

 

12:05 PM

10

Information Items

 

12:15 PM

5

Action Item 1

 

12:20 PM

5

Action Item 2

 

12:25 PM

15

Discussion Item 1

 

12:40 PM

15

Discussion Item 2

 

12:55 PM

5

Next Steps

 

1:00 PM

5

Review

 

1:05 PM

5

Next Meeting Purpose

 
       

1:10 PM

70 min

End of Meeting

 

 

3. Problem-solving meeting

 

Date:

Time:

What’s working:

  • Item 1
  • Item 2
  • Item 3

The problems:

  • Problem 1
  • Problem 2
  • Problem 3

Suggestions:

Assignee:

  • Option 1
 
  • Option 2
 
  • Option 3
 

 

4. Brainstorming meeting

 

Date:

 

 

Time:

 

 

Host:

 

 

 

Activity

Duration (min)

Brief description

Icebreakers

5

 

Basic rules (meeting duration, time for breaks)

5

 

Brainstorming ideas

20

 

Discussion and voting on ideas

10

 

Task assignment

10

 

 

Action item

Assignee

  • Item 1
 
  • Item 2
 
  • Item 3
 

 

5. Project update meeting

 

Date:

Time:

Participants:

   


 

Topic

Description/

Subtopics

Speaker

Time

  1. Instructions
   

8:00-8:15

  1. Review Project Dashboard
   

8:15-9:30

  1. Project Review 
   

9:30-11:30

  1. Project Schedule
   

11:30-12:00

 

6. First team meeting

 

Date:

Time:

 

Topic:

Action Items:

Getting to know each other

  • A
  • B
  • C

Manager Introduction

  • A
  • B
  • C

Feedback

  • A
  • B
  • C

Expectations

  • A
  • B
  • C

Questions

  • A
  • B
  • C

Future plans

  • A
  • B
  • C

 

Bonus: other types of meetings [templates included]

  • Board 
  • Sales
  • Team 
  • Staff 
  • In-person 
  • Planning 

Final thoughts

Every successful meetup starts with a good agenda. With a clear purpose for the meetup, you can keep everyone on track and focused. This will help you make the most of your time together and achieve all your goals. So next time you have an appointment, don't forget the agenda. It'll make a world of difference in the quality and productivity of the meeting.

Subscribe to our newsletter