High Performance Meetings

The importance of setting a meeting agenda

The importance of setting a meeting agenda

Keep your meetings on track by setting an agenda

I understand. Sometimes it’s easier to just jump into a quick, off-the-cuff meeting to solve a problem. “We will figure it out as we go” is an attitude that is often taken towards organising meetings. I’m not saying every meeting needs to be extremely formal, professional and official, but I guarantee you will find you can benefit from taking five minutes to jot down what you want to accomplish beforehand.

The agenda indicates what will be discussed, makes sure that a meeting stays on track and that everyone knows what is going to happen next. Without an agenda in place, meetings can easily go off track and in some cases, can become chaotic. As a result, important business may not be completed. Have you ever left a meeting feeling it was a waste of precious time?

According to a survey by Harvard Business Review in 2018, “71% of senior managers said meetings are unproductive and inefficient”. Issues such as trying to get too much done and going off track are some of the most common mistakes. 

Building an agenda prior to the meeting should only take five minutes and it will guarantee some direction to ensure it is a productive experience. Answering questions such as “What’s the purpose of this meeting? What are the five key things you want to figure out? What outcome do you expect? Who needs to attend?" can lead to a very efficient meeting and it will also be a less time-consuming part of your working day.

The effective use of an agenda will clarify the purpose to everyone involved. As a result, everyone knows what success means, and you’ll be more likely to have parties involved happy with the outcome. 

Creating and distributing an agenda that outlines the topics to be discussed and can have several important benefits; 

  • Meeting Direction: As previously mentioned, creating an agenda can give direction, meetings that have no agenda are likely to have less direction and be less productive than more structured meetings with a pre-set list of discussion topics. This can lead to going off-topic and can have a negative effect on getting the results you want. Most importantly, participants may become disengaged if it strays from relevant topics, which can set a poor precedent for future meetings. An Agenda ensures that you respect everyone’s time!

  • Preparation is key: Another important aspect of creating an agenda is to allow the participants to prepare questions/answers for the meeting. This may improve productivity and increase engagement levels; people will contribute more as they will have prepared. The quality of your meeting will improve. Additionally, if participants know that important, relevant topics are going to be covered, they will be more likely to attend.

  • Feedback / Changes: Creating an agenda allows participants to give the meeting planner feedback about the direction and to make changes to the agenda as necessary to include topics of special concern. Making changes prior to the meeting ensures that the relevant topics will be discussed. E.g. If a manager wants to discuss the new pricing plans to be launched on the business’ website and he does not see it up for discussion on the original agenda, he can request the agenda to be edited and ensure the meeting will address his concerns. Editing an agenda to include the topics participants want to discuss can encourage attendance. An action orientated agenda will outline the goal of each part of the meeting as an action - it is important an agenda is not just a procedural list.

At QuickMinutes.com, once you create a meeting you can launch the Agenda Builder to set the discussion for your meeting.

  1. Meeting details will be automatically populated (Date/Time/Location).
  2.  A copy of your last agenda items will be loaded to serve a draft (we understand that agendas can contain lots of standing items).
  3. The minutes from your last meeting (if existing) will automatically be attached.

You can then use our interactive Agenda Builder to outline the various discussion points, prepare in advance, make any relevant changes and ensure your meeting stays on track! 

This article was published by QuickMinutes.com, stay tuned for more articles in the coming weeks on various aspects of meeting management. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us at info@quickminutes.com or check out our website QuickMinutes.com to find out how we can help provide structure and efficiency to your organisation's meetings. 

QuickMinutes is a specialised meeting management application for enterprise that streamlines the administrative process in running a meeting. QuickMinutes exploits a niche sub-segment and employs a Software as a Service (Saas) business model. Currently scaling with strong prospect.