Stop Holding Meetings Without Agendas
Have you ever been to a meeting that goes like this: A little talk about last night, a little office gossip, and then, oh yeah, we were here to meet about something. And even once you get down to business, Sue wants to talk about the budget, John didn’t come with his numbers because he didn’t know that would be a topic and Jane brought her budget numbers but forgot the other 2 items she wanted to discuss. (She’s sure it’s on a sticky note somewhere around here)!
We’ve all been to meetings without agendas and we’ve all felt like we had it under control, until we get back to our desk and think about the questions that went unanswered and the suggestions we forgot to mention. An agenda really is the absolute best way to have everyone come prepared, with the proper amount of time allotted so that the important topics don’t get missed.
Here are some great tips if you’re new at making agendas for a meeting:
Whoever called the meeting should set the agenda and the time frame. If topics of discussion are coming from various sources, send out an email with the time and date that also asks if there are items that anyone would like to have added to the agenda.
Once you have all of the agenda topics, put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and be sure it is written down. Look over the list to be sure you don’t have questions on the topics suggested to you and then get a copy to all of the meeting participants as soon as possible. They may need time to gather info, print out spreadsheets, etc. No one likes to feel unprepared for the meeting.
Send out a meeting reminder one or 2 days prior to the meeting confirming time, location and include the agenda again. Someone may have lost it, deleted it or they just need a friendly refresher of the topics.
During the meeting, use the agenda! You may even go so far as to have a time frame for each topic. Ten minutes for greeting and gathering, 15 minutes to discuss budget, 20 minutes on approving advertising pieces, and so on. If a particular topic turns into a longer conversation or heated debate, set a new meeting time and give it the time it deserves.
Lastly be sure to keep the meeting agendas on file. You may need to reference them in the future.
Now go, grab your agenda and have a productive meeting for a change!
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