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By Copy5 on December 29, 2021

5 Reasons Why Meeting Agendas Work

Have you ever come out of a meeting you conducted wondering how things got so off track? Or maybe someone else hijacked the meeting or you forgot to discuss something important?  Would things have gone more smoothly if you’d only had an agenda? Having a meeting agenda would solve all of this. 

 

               Preparation

The first thing is to prepare the agenda based on what you want to accomplish during the meeting. Is the meeting just informative or are you expecting input and/or outcomes during the meeting. These questions, as well as who will be presenting and the timeframe, are important in preparing for an orderly and efficient meeting. The more you prepare, the more successful your meeting will be.  

If someone else is assisting with or responsible for a part of the meeting, get their input as to what topics need to be covered and the amount of time they need. Sharing the agenda with attendees prior to the meeting gives them an opportunity to come prepared to share the information that produces the outcomes you seek. It also allows for more communication and collaboration when everyone has had a chance to think about the topic and/or prepare responses ahead of time. 

                Why have an agenda

An agenda helps keep a meeting organized, on topic, and on time. The meeting can operate in an orderly fashion and produce greater efficiency when conducted within the scope and time allotted. Here are 5 reasons why meeting agendas work:

      1. It keeps the meeting on track. You have more control over the direction of the meeting with an agenda. Other people have their own priorities that may not align with yours or with the purpose of the meeting. Having a defined agenda helps you to pull the focus back where you need it. You can say a particular topic is discussed below or suggest another meeting if the conversation is completely off-topic. It also helps you move along when too much time is being spent on a particular topic by pointing out how much still needs to be covered.

      2. It is a more efficient use of time. Everyone knows when the meeting starts and ends and can plan their schedules accordingly.  If someone has to leave early, then they’ll be able to determine if they need to follow up with you on what they missed. If they see the agenda ahead of time they can determine if they need to push back other appointments.  An agenda with times shows others that you value their time, so they’re more likely to give you their full attention during that time. Attendees also know that the discussion needs to move along so that everything is covered.  

      3. Important topics aren’t left out.  How many times have you returned to your office after a meeting and realized you forgot to mention something you had written on your notepad.  Topics can get heated or tossed around and things quickly get forgotten during the chaos. If it’s on the agenda, it’ll get covered.  

      4. You’re more likely to receive the information you require during the meeting. An agenda prior to the meeting allows others the opportunity to be prepared to respond during the meeting. At least notify team members in advance of the topic and any data you want them to present during the meeting. This way they’ll be prepared when the time comes and a follow-up meeting won’t be necessary.  

      5. It creates more open communication.  People feel more comfortable speaking up and sharing their thoughts and ideas when they’ve had a chance to think about it. Not many people want to speak up when they’ve been blindsided. They will open up, however, when they’ve had time to prepare and they feel more respected and included.  

                  Additional reasons for having a meeting agenda

There are many benefits of having a meeting agenda.  These five reasons listed above are strong points in favor of having a meeting agenda, but certainly not all-encompassing.  Here are some other reasons why you should have an agenda for your meetings:

        1. It is a great way to document the meeting
        2. It creates participation with other team members as they feel valued
        3. It satisfies the attendees when all of the topics are covered and progress has been made
        4. You can specify time at the beginning of the meeting for follow-up from previous meetings (when applicable) to show progress
        5. You can allot time for comments, which increases engagement through participation
        6. It clarifies roles and responsibilities

One final tip…while the main purpose of a meeting agenda is to stay on track, try to be flexible wherever possible. Don’t be so hard on time and topic that you’re moving on without accomplishing your goals. Be aware of the necessity to converse and work out details with opposing sides or conflicting tasks. Be realistic enough to know when you may need to split a meeting into two or more meetings. The objective of a meeting is to accomplish goals and outcomes, not push through an agenda. Now, take these 5 reasons why meeting agendas work and plan your next successful meeting!

Published by Copy5 December 29, 2021
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