When a project or an issue involves a lot of people, the best way to find a solution to the problems is through meetings. By holding a meeting, all the concerned people can be gathered under one roof and connect and brainstorm to come up with the required results or solutions. However, many times when a meeting addresses a lot of issues, it is advisable to have a proper meeting agenda. This ensures that all the issues are covered and nothing is missed out. This also helps in assigning a time frame for each issue, thereby ensuring that the meeting is not extended beyond the specified limit. A sample meeting agenda can be used to design it. The sample meeting agenda helps to give the user an idea of the format that needs to be followed when designing such an agenda. The sample agenda also includes the sections that will help to make the document systematic and clear.
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What is a Meeting Agenda?
A meeting agenda is a document that arranges the activities of a meeting in an organized manner according to their urgency and importance. It also assigns a dedicated time frame for each activity, in order to ensure that the meeting does not stretch for too long. A meeting agenda starts with a call to order and is concluded with an adjournment. An agenda plays a very important role in organizing a meeting and ensuring that it does not deviate from the issues that need to be addressed. With a meeting agenda in place, the people attending the meeting would have a prior idea of what the meeting is about.
How to Write an Agenda for a Meeting?
When a lot of issues are to be addressed in a meeting, it is always a great idea to write a meeting agenda in advance. Believe it or not, a meeting agenda works wonders for a meeting ensuring better and efficient results. Wondering how to write a meeting agenda? Take a look below.
It is always a good idea to prepare a meeting agenda at least 3 days prior to the meeting. This will give you enough time to review it and send it to the people who would be attending the discussion. The agenda should begin with some basic details of the meeting like the time at which the meeting will begin, the information about the people who will be attending the meeting and venue.This should be followed by the reason and objective for the meeting. This is what will get the people interested in attending it in the first place.
Once the goal and objective of the meeting are made clear, list down the topics of discussion. Make sure to list them on the basis of their priority, starting from the one which is most important and proceeding accordingly. Next, each topic should be assigned with a time limit. This will ensure that the meeting can commence and conclude at the predestined time. According to experts, a meeting agenda should not comprise of more than five topics. Too many topics would extend the meeting and make it boring. Make sure to add other details like the person who will note the minutes of the meeting, any data that the participants should be aware of before attending the meeting etc.
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Guidelines for a Successful Meeting
Organising a successful and effective meeting is no child’s play. It requires a lot of planning and efforts. Here are some important guidelines that will help in organising a successful meeting. Select the participants based on the topics that would be discussed in the meeting. People who can constructively contribute to the discussion and help in coming up with perfect solutions should be the ones to be invited. Design a meeting agenda that takes into account the objective of the meeting and then decides on the topics to be discussed. Make sure that it helps in prioritising the issues, thus ensuring that nothing crucial is missed out.
It is very important that the meeting commences at the predestined time. Make sure to lay down some ground rules for the meeting before you begin the discussions. This should be done when you welcome all the participants. Even if you have mentioned the rules in the meeting agenda, a gentle reminder would do no harm. Keep the track of time and ask others too to do the same. This will ensure that the topics are discussed well within the stipulated time and hence prevent delays. Every few hours, make sure to evaluate the discussion to give the participants an idea of the issues that have been settled. This surely acts as an encouragement. Close the meeting in the decided time frame. At the end, review the overall meeting and make sure to close it on a positive note.
Types of Agenda for Productive Meetings
Depending upon the reason and objective behind a meeting, there are different types of meeting agendas.
Formal and Informal
A formal meeting agenda is mainly used by business organizations where the topics should be discussed thoroughly and wrapped up quickly. However, when there is really no hurry to close a meeting, an informal meeting agenda is used, which is more flexible in nature.
Report and Information Oriented
When a meeting is held to discuss certain data or figures, it is apparent that the participants should be well versed with these before they set out for the meetings. In such cases, a report oriented agenda or an information-oriented agenda is designed.
Decision Making and Problem Solving
Many times, meetings are held to address certain issues and to come up with the needed solutions. The meeting agenda for such meetings lists the issues and the various parameters to be considered. This is known as a decision-making or problem-solving agenda.
Training and Team Building
Sometimes organizations hold meetings as a team building exercise or to offer training to the participants. In such cases, a training or team building meeting agenda is used. The agenda helps to give the participants an idea of the activities that would be carried out during the session.
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How long should the meeting extend?
The duration of the meeting mainly depends on the topics to be discussed or the issues to be solved. However, experts believe that the meetings should not extend for more than 3 to 4 hours as the attention span of the participants starts dwindling after just an hour. Thus, it is advisable to keep a meeting as short as possible and stick to the duration mentioned in the meeting agenda. Meeting agenda gives your meetings a serious and professional atmosphere, which is why these are highly recommended and used by organizations all across the globe.
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