people in business attire in room with high ceilings smiling gathered around a table having a meeting.
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How to create a meeting agenda that actually works

30 Aug 2019

Do your meetings tend to go off the rails? If so, you may need to consider creating a meeting agenda.

As many as 71pc of senior managers across a range of industries have said that meetings are “inefficient and unproductive”, according to research reported in Harvard Business Review. Almost two-thirds (65pc) said meetings kept them from completing their own work and 64pc said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking.

Evidently, there is a bit of a crisis happening with meetings. In an ideal world, having your team come together should be a time of productive collaboration. Yet they can, as shown above, elicit dread.

Nevertheless, meetings aren’t going anywhere. Research from the MIT Sloan Management Review seems to indicate that the length of time executives spend in meetings is increasing.

So if the practice cannot be reduced, what can be done? Well, perhaps meetings can be more streamlined with the implementation of a meeting agenda.

A good meeting agenda will help keep everyone in the meeting on task and make sure items to be dealt with in the meeting are resolved in order of priority.

A necessary step to creating a good agenda is ensuring that realistic times are given to each issue. There’s no point being wildly ambitious in your estimations, as this will just mean that the agenda doesn’t reflect reality and, as a result, important topics can get sidetracked. Think critically about how complex the issue is and how many people are involved in the discussion, and use these considerations to arrive at a reasonable allotment of time.

Send your agenda out in advance of the meeting and ensure that it can be quickly and easily scanned. If it’s quick to read, it is more likely that participants will give it a once-over, which will increase the likelihood that people will remain focused and on-task.

For more tips on how to form an effective meeting agenda, check out the infographic below, brought to you by Business Backer.

meeting agenda infographic

Infographic: Business Backer

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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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