How to Create an Effective Meeting Agenda

A well-crafted meeting agenda is essential for every type of gathering, ranging from a discussion with a friend to a large group gathering to discuss organizational goals and issues. A well-crafted agenda will keep everyone on track and focused and improve the efficiency of each participant and the group.

Define the objectives of each agenda item. By defining the goals of each item, participants will know what to expect and can alter their participation in accordance with the objectives. Having clear meeting objectives also helps ensure that the meeting does not go off-track, which makes it more likely to be successful.

For each objective, clearly state how the desired outcome will be attained. This can include stating whether the goal is to exchange information, gather input or take a decision. It may also specify the method used to accomplish the goal, such as seeking an agreement or a vote.

Give an estimated time for every item on the agenda. By providing an estimated time, attendees can prepare for the discussion. They can also adjust their participation accordingly. It also lets leaders determine if more time is needed, or if the goal can be achieved in less time.

Include “parking lots” items on your agenda. Parking lots are a place to record important thoughts, conversations, or topics that are relevant to the subject at hand but are not required to be discussed during this meeting. This is especially useful for virtual meetings, because it stops meetings from getting interrupted by conversations that are not related to the topic.

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