Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Agenda: the anchor that keeps your meeting from drifting aimlessly

A good agenda will help keep the meeting from drifting aimlessly. When a thorough agenda is sent out ahead of time participants will be more likely to come prepared, you'll receive more buy-in, and a greater sense of inclusiveness will develop. Be sure your agenda includes the basics:

  • Meeting date, time and place
  • Purpose of meetingwrite at the top of the agenda
  • Meeting protocol—may be on agenda and/or posted
  • Leader or facilitator, Participants—name, department. Be sure stakeholders are in the meeting if their area or department is involved.
  • Write each agenda item as a goal or action. Rather than: Discuss budget, write it as a specific task that needs doing: Define budget categories and develop tentative amounts in each category.
  • Identify the nature of each item: 1) Discussion 2) Brainstorm for ideas 3) Decision 4) Information
  • Provide background information with the item
  • Assign a participant responsible for each item
  • Indicate time allocated for each item

And write the purpose of the meeting on a board or chart paper.  Then, when someone strays from the purpose, you can point at it!  Have post-its on the table and a Parking Lot posted.  If someone brings up an off-the-subject item, ask them to post it on the Parking Lot.  Be sure to follow up with them after the meeting.

Everyone appreciates a meeting that is led effectively and stays on time.  A good agenda will help you accomplish this!