The agenda is the key to a successful meeting – it is the roadmap, the guide, the plan. Studies have shown that up to 70% of meetings either have no agenda or have a poor agenda which is not helpful. In this article, you will see that there are some steps which you can take to make sure your agenda will contribute to making your meeting more productive. There are also hidden advantages. If the agenda is well constructed, you will also spend less time in the meeting and more time actually doing the things the meeting determines need to be done!Remember the key – the more detailed the agenda, the more focussed and generally, the shorter the meeting will be.You cannot expect intelligent decisions if people do not have time to think through the issues before the meeting. Therefore, agendas need to be sent out in advance, not given out at the meeting. People who have genuine desire to reach the best decision, and people who are organised, always have their agendas distributed in time for people to give thought to the issues. collaborative remote team meeting
Adopt the strict policy that if an item is not on the agenda, it will not be discussed at the meeting. Do not allow items to be raised without notice. Allow only true emergency items to be exempt and allow no other exceptions. Organised people have no difficulty with this. It is only disorganised or “slack” people who object to this because they cannot get their act together. Research shows, that if an item is raised without notice, the meeting will spend time talking about it, but then defer the decision until the next meeting anyway when there is notice given. It just wastes time. Have a “cut-off” time for agenda items and make sure everyone knows the cut-off time and then also “publish” the distribution time for the agenda. So, for example, it would work like this: The minute taker would let everyone know that items for the agenda must be with the minute taker by, say, noon on Wednesday, the agendas will be sent out (by the minute taker) at say, 4.00pm Wednesday (allowing time for the pre-meeting meeting with the chair) and the meeting will be held at 3.00pm Thursday. Everyone would know the timetable for every meeting and then no-one has any excuse not to follow the timetable.