Business documents should always be written professionally, no matter the industry. This is true whether you’re writing an official company email or a meeting agenda. By keeping meeting agendas professional and following specific guidelines, you are better able to convey a positive image of your company to all meeting attendees.
Meeting agendas are designed to provide information specifically related to a meeting to help keep things on track and to provide a basic schedule to be followed.
What is a meeting agenda?
A meeting agenda is a basic document that tells the topics that will be covered during a meeting. The agenda may also list any keynote speakers or activities that are scheduled to be performed. Meetings agendas vary in length based on the type of meeting you’re having. They can be as simple or as detailed as you want based on your company and the way you prefer to do things. Meeting agendas can be helpful for brief meetings, especially if you’re in a time crunch, because they can help you stay focused on the most important topics. But meeting agendas are also very useful in lengthy meetings as they help ensure that you don’t forget to cover everything that you wanted to talk about.
Meeting Agenda Templates (Word | PDF)
How to write a meeting agenda
There are some basic points that should be covered in any meeting agenda. Once you have these points listed, you can add as much or as little detail as you need. It’s important to note that formal meetings may have stricter timelines with set times to cover each point. Meetings in a casual atmosphere allow for meeting agendas that give some freedom when it comes to time devoted to each point on the agenda. The following are some of the basic points that should be covered in the agenda.
- provide information on the meeting’s goals
- list questions to be addressed
- ask for input from meeting participants
- list the purpose of each task on the agenda
- give an estimate on how much time each task or discussion will take to complete
- identify who will be speaking on each key point
- provide time for a review or additional questions
This brief list can provide a guide to follow when creating a meeting agenda. These general points are applicable to formal and casual meetings and can easily be modified based on your time allowed and your specific goals. At the top of your meeting agenda, you should include the time, date, names of participants or keynote speakers, and the location of the meeting. Many people find that having a copy for each individual in the meeting is helpful to provide information on what’s coming next and to keep the meeting on task.
Tips for a good meeting agenda
Your meeting agenda should give a clear and concise goal statement that lets everyone know the main goal of the meeting. When writing a meeting agenda, be sure to include time for engagement from everyone in the meeting. Some people prefer to allow questions after each key point while others find it more constructive timewise to leave questions and input until the end of the meeting. Consider the following tips when writing your meeting agenda to be sure you include all relevant information.
1. Use time estimates
It’s important to estimate the time each task or point will require. This not only helps you stay on task but also provides all meeting attendees with an idea of how much time they have to formulate and ask questions.
2. Identify speakers
Be sure to include the names of the speakers for each part of the meeting. If you have a keynote speaker come in who isn’t part of the company, you can include a very brief intro for them next to their name to explain who they are.
3. List questions to be addressed
By providing an upfront list of questions to be addressed during the meeting, you give attendees the opportunity to think of other questions that may not already be on the agenda.
4. End with a review
Each meeting should end with a brief review of what was covered. Be sure to allow time to address questions or comments. You can even discuss the specifics of the meeting to decide on changes that need to be made for future meetings to help them run more smoothly.
A meeting agenda can be as concise or as detailed as you prefer. There are specific items to include on your meeting agenda, which can help your meeting go more smoothly and prepare all attendees for the meeting before you begin. Your meeting agenda is the first impression provided to meeting attendees, and that can set the tone for the entire meeting. That’s why it’s essential to include pertinent information to ensure you’re able to reach your meeting goals.