The Secret Meeting Trick Used by Winning Teams

Meeting agendas will change your meeting productivity

The Secret Meeting Trick Used by Winning Teams

Have you ever wondered why most meetings are a waste of time? Hours and hours of talk, and nothing is achieved?

This is because most teams aren’t aware of a secret meeting trick used by winning teams:

The meeting agenda.

Yes, you read it right. And yes, you have heard of meeting agendas before, and you know what they are. No secret here.

But do you really know how to create an effective meeting agenda? One that will make people look forward to your meeting? This is what we are going to tell you below.

What is included in a meeting agenda?

A meeting agenda is a well-known document. But it’s always good to recap what should be included in it, so you don’t miss anything.

  • At the top, you will write the name of the meeting – something linked to the topic or type of meeting or both.

  • Next, it comes date, time (start and end), place, and name of the facilitator (the person in charge of the meeting)

  • The following section shows the names of the participants and their respective departments or job positions (if necessary).

  • Finally, you will create a timetable listing the topics to be discussed, along with the name of who will present them.

Depending on the type of meeting, you might add pre-meeting instructions, such as what participants need to bring to the event. You might also need to create time for deliberations, Q&A, and intervals.

It’s advisable to add a section explaining the purpose of the meeting, and another explaining the expected outcomes. This is crucial for your team to understand the importance of your event.

How to prepare the best meeting agenda

To prepare the best meeting agenda, you need to follow some steps:

1 – Check the notes of previous meetings so you can use them to create your agenda – this is especially important if this meeting is a consequence of another.

2 – Talk to the meeting facilitator (if it’s not you) to find out what will be discussed; how much time they need to present the topics; who should be invited; and how the participants should prepare for the meeting.

3 – Create a timetable, allocating time for each topic and possible breaks, warm-ups, and Q&A.

4 – Define the time, place, and date of the meeting, which should be approved by the meeting facilitator.

5 – Share your meeting agenda with the facilitator to see if it needs adjustments

6 – Send the final document to the participants

You can distribute the agenda in many formats, such as a PDF or Word Document. Or you can use a meeting application like RemoteWorkly and share it online. An online application has the advantage that it can be updated and made available in real-time in case changes are required after distribution.

In any case, get it done way before your meeting. The minimum required is 24h, but it should be longer - especially when the meeting interferes in the usual schedule of the participants.

Different Agendas for Different Meetings

Before creating your agenda, take into consideration the type of meeting you are dealing with. Why? Because it will influence its content and format.

First, figure out how often this type of meeting happens:

  • Recurrent and frequent meetings - They happen regularly with short periods between them, and your team expects them.

  • Recurrent but occasional meetings - They happen regularly, but maybe just once per year, and your team isn’t sure about date or format.

  • Occasional meetings – They happen only when necessary, but your team will be informed in fair advance.

  • Last-minute meetings – They are called in emergencies only, and everyone (including you) has very little time to prepare, if any.

You probably can already tell why it’s essential to consider the above while creating the agenda of your meeting. For instance, recurrent meetings have happened before, so you might have past notes to guide you. Last-minute meetings will have a concise schedule, possibly with only one topic and plenty of time for deliberations and planning.

RemoteWorkly Similar Meetings Search

Next, consider the goal of your meeting. Some possibilities are below, along with examples of their application:

  • Briefing meetings – Project or product launching

  • General Information Sharing Meetings – New policies and procedures or administrative topics

  • Sales meetings – Forecasts, evaluation, data analysis

  • Status Update meetings – Follow-up of ongoing projects

  • Team Building meetings – Learning & development, new employee onboarding, motivational meetings

  • Problem Solving meeting – Brainstorming of a specific issue

Again, you can tell that each type of meeting above has a particular format based on what will be discussed. Sales meetings usually come with visual aids, such as graphs and charts. Team Building meetings are more relaxed, giving you the chance to think outside the box. And so on.

Finally, consider the number of participants and their departments. The bigger and more diverse your audience is, the larger is the space you need, and the harder it becomes to keep their attention. Consider, for instance, allocating extra breaks or breaking the group into smaller ones.

All-hands meetings are particularly challenging, so spare as much time as possible to define their agendas. Discuss your ideas with the departments involved and ensure the timetable will be adequate for all employees.

Do and Don’t of Meeting Agendas

While each meeting agendas is different, you should avoid some common mistakes:

  • Have clear goals – The agenda should clearly state the intent of the meeting so that the participants can prepare their questions and contributions in advance.

  • Prioritize the correct topics – An agenda isn’t just a list of subjects. Allocate more time to what is more relevant or to a topic you know might become controversial.

  • Use visual aids to improve readability – Bullet points, font colors, tables, and other visual resources can make your meeting agenda more effective.

  • Create a file people can bring with them – Many people like to follow the progress of a meeting through its agenda. Distribute yours in a format people can check online or print a copy

  • Make it hard to understand – No matter how formal your meeting is, you shouldn’t make an agenda hard to understand. People will ignore it if it’s complicated to follow it, turning your work into waste.

  • Add more topics than your audience can handle – While allocating time per topic, think if they all can be discussed in the same meeting. Complex subjects require more time and attention, so you might need to organize more than one session to go through everything. Or create intervals to give people time to unwind.

  • Be too flexible – You will receive many suggestions when you submit the meeting agenda for evaluation. But take onboard only what makes sense and improves the quality of the meeting.

  • Ignore the participants – On the other hand, don’t ignore the wishes of the participants. Unless you have been asked to keep it confidential, they have as much right as you to know what is going to happen and make suggestions.

The best way to avoid falling into the don’ts above is by creating templates from your successful meetings. Later, you can reuse them when a similar event happens.

Let an online application help you

Creating an effective agenda for your meetings can mean a lot of time or resources – something you probably don’t have in abundance. So, take advantage of anything that can help you with this task.

As mentioned above, an online application can keep all your meeting notes and agendas together, easily accessible whenever you need to consult them. It can prepare and store templates to cut down the time you spend creating new agendas.

Learn how Remote Workly can help you with your meeting agendas. You only need to talk to us, and we will guide you through within a few minutes.

Vaibhav Namburi

I'm the Founder of RemoteWorkly. I've helped build multiple multi-million dollar companies and I love approaching Start Ups through product-lead growth

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