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Nine steps to creating a kick-ass meeting agenda

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Meetings are an integral – if not always desirable – part of daily business life. At best, they’re an ideal time to foster teamwork, get away from one’s desk and share ideas; at worst, they’re unproductive and take up huge chunks of the working day. One way to ensure you never have a failed meeting again is to have a solid meeting plan in place. Tick these nine points off your checklist before your next meeting:

1) Set a theme for the meeting 

Before planning a meeting you need establish an overall goal. Is this going to be an information gathering council, a decision making process or a project evaluation, for example. After setting an overall objective, you can create a more detailed agenda.

2) Devise a detailed meeting plan

Break the meeting down into clear and concise discussion points that need to be covered, with a time limit set on each point. Try stating them as questions, which will help focus and guide the meeting. Instead of “client overview”, how about “how can we improve the service we give to out clients?”

3) Decide who needs to be there

Only those who need to attend should attend – too many cooks really do spoil the broth, especially when it comes to meetings. The more people there are, the harder it is to communicate and allow everyone to be heard. The people who end up not speaking will feel uninvolved and quickly lose interest.

4) Send the meeting agenda out ahead of time

Once a detailed meeting agenda has been made, send it out to everyone who needs to attend so that they know how to prepare and what is expected of them. Less time will be wasted at the start of the meeting figuring out what’s going on.

5) Come prepared and full of ideas 

The best ideas come to you when you least expect them – when you’re sitting in traffic or brushing your teeth. Trying to come up with ideas when on the spot in a meeting room is tough, so bring ideas with you that can be expanded upon. 

6) If possible, ditch the laptops

Having a laptop in front of you in a meeting is a tempting distraction, especially for those who don’t feel like they are fully engaged. Leave the laptops and tablets outside and go back to basics with a notepad and pen. Your eyes will appreciate a break from the screen.

7) Make sure everyone is aware of their role 

Take a minute or two at the start of the meeting to make sure everyone is aware of where they fit into the meeting agenda, which topics they will be leading and the overall action plan. This will ensure everyone feels included and part of the team: they’ll feel more motivated to contribute if they know their opinion will be heard.

8) Nominate a chairperson 

Assign someone the task of chairperson who will make sure the meeting agenda is being stuck to and that time does not over run for each topic. They can keep conversations on topic and make sure people don’t speak out of turn leading to an unbalanced contribution from members at the meeting.

9) Take minutes

Minutes must be taken during the meeting – perhaps by the chairperson – to record what has gone on as well as to provide a point of reference for the next meeting. Anyone who has missed the meeting can refer to these. They should also be sent out to all who attended the meeting as a recap.

What are the key parts of your meeting agenda? OfficeBox can help you plan better meetings by equipping you with the right tools to do so. Contact us today to find out more.

 

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David Adams
12 July 2017
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