We’ve all gone to meetings and wondered why am I here or what’s the point of this? It’s undeniable that meeting people face to face can be valuable, but more often than not meetings without a clear objective are a waste of everyone’s time.

In fact, over 40% of employers think that meetings are the biggest time wasters, but there’s a simple way to make a meeting concise and productive. All you need is a meeting agenda – simple. Not sure where to start?

What to include in a meeting agenda

Who’ll be at the meeting?

Ask yourself what’s the purpose of each person? If you can’t think of a valid reason for them to be there then don’t invite them. The more people at a meeting the more complex and lengthy it will be, so be ruthless for the most effective results. Include the list of attendees on your agenda so everyone can prepare accordingly.

Who will be taking minutes.

Have you ever finished a meeting and wondered who said what? Or if it was X you had to do and Y you absolutely had to avoid?Ask someone to be responsible for taking minutes to avoid this.

Minutes should include:

  • What was discussed
  • What actions are to be taken
  • Deadlines for actions and who is responsible for each action

If you don’t specifically assign this simple task to someone, it won’t get done and vital details will be overlooked once the meeting ends.

The goal of the meeting

Your meeting should have one core goal from the outset. By including it in your agenda you are focusing the meeting and making sure everyone’s on the same page.

By the end of the meeting aim for an outcome or next move to be decided in relation to your goal. Try not to move on to a different topic until this is done.

Key topics that need to be covered

One reason meetings run over time is because new topics are introduced and the meeting is spent thinking rather than talking.

Outline other key topics you’d like to talk about in your agenda so people can think before the meeting and arrive with developed ideas. The topics you give will also give your meeting structure, resulting in a short and productive meeting.

What & where

Who needs to bring what to the meeting? And where will the meeting be? Always include:

  • Your meeting location
  • Meeting time
  • Length of meeting (no more than 45 minutes)
  • Anything members need to bring – research on specific issues (try and keep this specific e.g 3 ideas on how to solve poor Facebook engagement), laptop, figures or other applicable work

Finish your meeting on time and by defining what needs to be done next, by who and the deadline by which it needs to be done. Then send your minutes and actions to everyone who was at the meeting.

A meeting is defined as an assembly of people for a purpose, especially for formal discussion – so stay true to this and only call a meeting when you have a specific need, and when you have a meeting agenda prepped for your attendees.

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