Imagine this: It’s Monday, and you open your email to a calendar invite for a… MEETING! Oh no. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? “I’m too busy for this,” “This could have been an email,” “I hope they don’t make me put my camera on.”
A survey by Salary.com reported that 47% of workers said, “Too many meetings are the #1 time-waster at the office.” YIKES.
Now imagine you’re the one who has to set the meeting (and you don’t want your coworkers to have those mopey reactions). Well, look no further because I’ve scoured the internet to find the best way to halt that kind of thinking. Introducing “How To Build A Great Team Meeting Agenda!”
Follow these tips on how to lead productive, engaging team meetings that will leave your coworkers feeling good about the time they spent. (And convince them it couldn’t have been an email.) The key to everything lies in creating an effective meeting agenda.
What Should be Included in Every Team Meeting Agenda?
- Meeting date, time, and location
- Attendee list
- Meeting objective
- Discussion items and estimated time slot
- Next steps
Why Prepare an Agenda Before Team Meetings
- To have a cohesive discussion without wasting time
- To give everyone a sense of control
- To allow your team to prep ahead of time
7 Tips to Write an Effective Team Meeting Agenda
1. Set a clear meeting objective
What’s your goal with the meeting? It’s important to have a purpose before organizing it. Maybe you want to share information. Or come up with a solution to a problem. Or simply review a project.
The meeting objective is the end goal you want to achieve, and having a clear one ensures the meeting stays focused and stands a higher chance of being productive.
Make sure that the objective is:
- Focused on one thing
- Clear and straightforward
For example, the meeting’s objective can be, “Decide the priority work for the next quarter.” The fact is, if you can’t even recognize the purpose of the meeting, this meeting might just be an email.
2. List and organize agenda items
A great meeting agenda covers all the essential topics. When creating an agenda, items can be classified into three main categories: information, discussion, and action items.
- Information items are those that need to be shared with the group, such as announcements or updates.
- Discussion items are those that require input from everyone in the group, such as brainstorming ideas or making decisions.
- Action items are tasks assigned to specific individuals that should be completed before the meeting, for example, preparing a presentation.
When listing the items, you should also be specific so attendees can follow along easily. Using verbs instead of nouns will better inspire action.
What’s more, an interesting discovery finds that “items that are put first receive more attention.” Therefore, we should always organize the agenda items by priority.
3. Assign a topic leader
Assigning a topic leader for every item on the agenda will ensure that each topic is covered thoroughly. Having a designated topic leader also allows for more efficient use of time, as each team member will be responsible for preparing for their assigned topic in advance.
Lisa Richards, CEO of the Candida Diet, says, “One of the most important things you can do to create a successful team meeting agenda is to make sure that you have a clear understanding of what each team member’s responsibilities are during this meeting and to communicate the same to each member. When people know what is expected of them during meetings, they are more likely to come prepared and ready to contribute and collaborate effectively.”
To choose a topic leader, simply identify who in the group is most knowledgeable about, or interested in, the subject matter. Then, provide them with an overview of what you would like covered during the meeting.
4. Estimate the time for each topic
Admit it, we have prolonged meetings, and participants tend to get frustrated when the meeting lasts longer than expected. That’s why you need to give an estimated duration of the meeting and keep it within the time frame. The best way to do this is to give an allotted time for each agenda topic.
There are two different ways to estimate the time for each topic.
One approach is to base the estimate on the importance of the topic. For example, a vital topic will require a lot of discussion and may take up to 30 minutes, while a less important issue may only need 5-10 minutes.
Another approach is to base the estimate on the length of the presentation. For example, if a presentation is 15 minutes long, you may want to allow for 30 minutes of discussion time.
You can have better control over what is discussed and avoid unnecessary delays by estimating the time for each agenda item.
5. End with the next steps and recap
Colin Toh, Founder & CEO of Headphonesty, says, “Having a quick recap at the end of the meeting helps to ensure that everything is covered and nothing important was missed. It can also be valuable to people who joined the meeting late and might have missed something in the beginning.”
As any good meeting planner knows, it is always important to end by outlining the next steps. Be as specific as possible to avoid confusion and ensure that the task can be completed.
This ensures that no one forgets what needs to be done and creates a sense of urgency.
Outlining the next steps also helps create accountability and ensures that everyone is following through on their commitments.
6. Ask for input from your team
By asking team members if they think anything needs to be added to the agenda, you can identify missing topics and any areas of confusion or disagreement. Asking for input also gives people a chance to think about any questions they might have.
This behavior shows that you value everyone’s input and are committed to making the meeting as productive and efficient as possible.
Finally, don’t forget to review the meeting agenda at the end of the meeting and discuss what could be improved. Ask questions like, “Do we include the necessary agenda topics?” or “Is the meeting’s objective clear?” This will help you build a more effective discussion next time.
7. Utilize a meeting agenda template
There are various types of team meetings, and creating an agenda from scratch every time may rack your brain. In this case, a meeting agenda template can be a great help.
The Airgram team has done detailed research and offered 30+ agenda templates for different meetings, including weekly team meetings, all-hands meetings, OKR planning, and more. You can simply apply the agenda and customize it to your needs. Read more tips from Airgram here!