Posted by: Bill von Achen | February 19, 2010

Why Meeting Agendas Are Important

Despite all that’s been written on how to make meetings more effective, we continue to be amazed at the number of otherwise competent executives who ad-lib when it comes to organizing their business meetings. 

A simple meeting agenda, distributed in advance, is perhaps the most important tool in ensuring a successful productive meeting, even when the meeting is between only you and one other person.  Here’s why:

Agendas Set The Right Tone:  Meeting agendas let participants know that there’s a legitimate business purpose for meeting, with specific issues to be discussed and outcomes to be achieved.  It conveys your interest in getting down to business and not wasting time.     

Agendas Identify Topics For Discussion:  Agendas let attendees know what issues are going to be discussed, and keep them from placing other issues on the table.  They also eliminate guesswork as to whether or not a particular issue is going to be discussed.

Agendas Keep Everyone Focused:  Meeting agendas can focus participants in ways that verbal guidance cannot.  Participants have a written reminder of what needs to be accomplished during the meeting, allowing them to help drive each discussion toward conclusion.    

Agendas Eliminate Excuses:  Agendas eliminate excuses that participants aren’t ready to discuss a subject because they didn’t know it was going to be brought up.  Participants are put on notice of exactly what they need to prepare, saving time and eliminating embarrassment.    

If you can’t personally create a meeting agenda for the meetings you convene, at least delegate that responsibility to one of the participants (that way, you’ll get all of the benefits of having an agenda without having to do the work!).


Responses

  1. I’m a huge fan of agendas, and usually the last item on each of my agenda’s is: Next meeting

  2. Tim, an excellent contribution, since we often fail to prescribe exactly how we plan to follow up with the rest of the items on the meeting agenda. Thanks!

  3. […] Read the full article from Best Practices for Business […]

  4. Great article. Agendas help participants come prepared. I have found that if participants know that a topic on the agenda is there for discussion or that a decision is being made about a topic helps with the meeting dynamics.


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