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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Bullock

Why every meeting needs an agenda

Each meeting you lead requires an agenda. Meetings without agendas are unfocused, easily hijacked or targeting the wrong audience.

I never run a meeting without an agenda, and for good reason. Let's look at the value of this crucial, but often overlooked gameplan.

Agendas create engagement

Not all your team members, particularly those who are more introverted, are likely to engage on their own. Providing these people with an agenda in advance gives them time to consider their thoughts and opinions, so they are therefore more likely to contribute to the meeting.

Ideas that go unsaid in a meeting could be money walking out the door.

Agendas allow participants to be prepared

Giving people an agenda in advance allows them time to prepare for the meeting. More importantly, however, is to include information about the meeting style in the agenda.

The three main meeting styles are: information sharing, creative discussion and consensus decision. Notifying your team of the meeting style in advance allows them to prepare for the type of discussion and manage their expectations of what decisions will or will not be made.

Agendas optimise meeting time

Your agenda should not only include a list of topics but also allocate time to each of those topics.

Managing the meeting time in this way allows you to track how the meeting is progressing and limits the chances of agenda items being skipped due to lack of time.

Agendas ensure the right people attend

By formalising an agenda and creating a list of topics, it is much easier to determine who the right people are to attend.

There is nothing worse than getting halfway through a meeting before realising that someone else should have been included in the discussion.

Agendas give people the option to attend

People’s calendars can become full of meetings, limiting their opportunity to do productive work and deliver outputs.

Agendas allow your employees to learn an important skill: determining whether they can provide value to a meeting. Empowering people to opt out of a meeting, or part of it, will help to drive your team's productivity.

TAKEAWAY: Good leaders never hold a meeting without an agenda. This important document helps you to stay on track, finish on time and be more productive with the right attendees talking about the right things.


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