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How many of us have walked into a meeting considering it to be a waste of time, thinking how could we have possibly avoided it. Going into a meeting wondering why we were invited and leaving the meeting not clear about what was that we accomplished is not uncommon.
This lack of interest and lack of productivity is usually not because of what happens in the meeting but because of what never happened before the Meetings started.
A meeting agenda conveys that the meeting has a clear plan, it will be productive and also make sure the team is prepared and that there are no surprises during the meeting.
Here are a few reasons to prepare an agenda.
Prepare for the meeting
One of the best ways to ensure that your meeting is effective is to be sure of what you are trying to accomplish. When agendas are sent out prior to the meeting, attendees are given an opportunity to provide updates on the agenda as well as include any issues that require being addressed. This makes them accountable and encourages them to contribute.
Take control of the meeting
As a person who put together the agenda, you know exactly what’s expected out of the meeting and sending out the agenda to the attendees ensures that they are aware too. This provides you with more control over the flow of discussion, issues covered and clarity over who has to take over the discussion and when. Allotting time for each Agenda Item in the meeting ensures that there are no interruptions and that the meeting does not go off track.
Tip: if some off topic items do come up during the meeting, make sure to stop them before they take over the meeting. Maintain a Parking lot of Agenda Items to pick up in future meetings.
Creating an agenda does not just help to keep the attendees informed and allow them to prepare for the meeting but it is also one of the most effective ways to inform them about what is expected of them after the meeting. One of the ways to set expectations is by creating Action Items during the meeting and assigning them to individuals whose progress on these issues can be reviewed at the next meeting.
Empowering the attendees
How many times have you been in a meeting that felt useful but then went awfully off track and you got lost in your own sweet world? This does not happen due to lack of focus or discipline but because of people’s innate need of wanting to be heard and acknowledged. By creating an effective and compelling agenda and inviting the right people to the meeting you are letting them know that you intend to hear them out and address their concerns as long as they stick to the agenda.
An archive of these agendas is a perfect record to showcase how your company has progressed over the years. It will also help you to assess past decisions which in turn can help formulating feasible goals.