How to Create an Effective Meeting Agenda

A well-crafted meeting agenda is essential for any type of gathering, from a conversation with a coworker or a large group of people to discuss organizational goals and issues. An effective meeting agenda keeps everyone engaged in a constructive and focused manner, while also improving the efficiency of each participant and the entire group.

Determine the purpose of each agenda item. By defining the goal of each item participants will know what they can expect and will be able to adapt their participation accordingly. Setting clear goals for meetings helps ensure that the meeting does not go off track, and is more likely to be successful.

For each goal specify what the desired outcome is expected to be realized. This could include stating if the goal is to share information, collect input, or make a choice. It can also include describing the process that will be used to achieve the goal including seeking consensus or the possibility of a vote.

Provide 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 additional time is required, or if the objective can be achieved in less time.

Include “parking lots” items on your agenda. Parking lot is used to record important topics thoughts, ideas, and discussions that are related to the subject of the meeting, but do not need to be discussed. This method can be particularly beneficial for virtual meetings since it can prevent meetings from being disrupted by unrelated conversations.

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