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What is a meeting agenda

Definition: A meeting agenda is a document that outlines topics to be discussed during a meeting. It should include time allocated for each topic/subject, and the person responsible for discussing it. 

Elements of a meeting agenda

Meeting agendas include several key elements to help ensure the meeting runs smoothly and achieves its goals. 

These elements can include:

- Meeting purpose: Clearly stated up front to help participants understand the meeting's objectives and focus. It should also provide them with enough context to gain familiarity before taking their seats at the meeting.

- Time allotment for each topic: The meeting agenda can list the amount of time that will be allocated for each topic or discussion point. This will help keep the meeting on track and prevent unnecessary delays or distractions.

- List of meeting attendees: Meeting agendas typically include a list of meeting attendees, along with any necessary contact information and project roles. This ensures everyone has broad context for the meeting, whether they are attending in person or remotely.

- Discussion points or action items: In addition to time allotments, meeting agendas often include discussion points or action items to be addressed during the meeting. These meeting minutes include questions for attendees to discuss, tasks that need to be completed, topics to brainstorm, and other relevant information.

How to write a meeting agenda?

A meeting agenda includes key meeting objectives, discussion topics, and any required materials or information. 

Start by identifying the meeting's purpose and desired outcomes, then brainstorm possible discussion topics that are relevant to those goals. 

When you have a list of potential discussion points, prioritize them based on their importance or relevance to meeting objectives.

Clarify open questions or unclear topics ahead of time, and consider assigning roles or responsibilities to participants in advance. This keeps the meeting on track and ensures that everyone has an opportunity to contribute. 

Once you have a draft, share it with all meeting participants in advance, so that they can come prepared with any necessary materials or information. 

Example of a meeting agenda

Example of a Meeting Agenda in Mindmesh

December 5th Content Strategy Meeting Agenda

Project Name: Content Marketing

Purpose: Onboard all the team members and discuss content marketing strategy.

Kickoff date: 5th December

Project manager: Alie Collins

Participants: Eric Sinclair, Miles Archer, Irene Green, Nicol Lessing, and Michael Tomovich

Meeting agenda:

Introduction (3 minutes) – Alie

Strategy presentation (10 minutes) – Alie and Eric

  • Goals and KPIs

Project plan presentation (5 minutes) – Eric

  • Timeline
  • Deliverables
  • Reports

Scope overview (5 minutes) – Eric

  • Budget
  • Action items
  • Deliverables

Analytics and tracking (3 minutes) – Michael

Roles and responsibilities (5 minutes) – Alie

Q&A (15 minutes)

Attached files:

  • Strategy presentation
  • Project plan
  • Campaign brief

The level of detail will depend on the meeting type, organization structure, and complexity of the matter discussed. I.e., the agenda for the one-on-one daily meeting will be different from the weekly team meeting agenda.

Regardless of the meeting type, the agenda should be concise and straightforward, with enough time for effective discussion and brainstorming.

Advantages of using meeting agendas

Meeting agendas are an essential part of effective project management, and can help ensure that meetings are productive and efficient.

There are several key advantages to using meeting agendas:

  • Clearly defining meeting objectives and goals, enabling more focused discussion and decision-making.
  • Establishing meeting rules and expectations upfront, reducing the risk of disruptions or distractions during the meeting.
  • Providing a roadmap for meeting participants, so everyone is on the same page, and contributing to meeting discussions in a productive manner.
  • Offering a framework for meeting notes and action items, making it easier to follow up on meeting outcomes and track progress.

Disadvantages of using meeting agendas

Besides numerous benefits, meeting agendas may be too rigid or structured, which can hinder the discussion process and make it difficult to adapt to changing circumstances. 

They often focus on meeting timeframes and outcomes, and as a result, may not allow adequate time for brainstorming or more creative thinking.

To overcome these disadvantages, meeting participants should:

  1. Be flexible and adaptable when using meeting agendas.
  2. Focusing on meeting objectives rather than meeting timeframes or outcomes.
  3. Provide adequate time for exploration and brainstorming. 

Organizations and teams can better leverage the benefits of meeting agendas while avoiding these pitfalls.

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Article FAQs

Who owns the meeting agenda?
The meeting organizer or facilitator typically owns the meeting agenda. In some cases, another individual, such as a subject matter expert or a representative from an external organization, may have ownership.
What format should meeting agendas be in?
There is no definitive answer to this question. Agendas can be created in Google docs, spreadsheets, PDFs, or dedicated project management software.
What are the 3 most important parts of every meeting agenda?
Meeting goals and objectives; Participants and their responsibilities; Dedicated time for Q&A.
What is the main meaning of the agenda?
According to the dictionary, the word agenda means “a list or outline of things to be considered or done.”
Can some meetings go without a meeting agenda?
Quick meetings resolving smaller current issues don’t need a strict agenda. For example: A writer reaches out to a content manager for help with a certain issue. The content manager replies with a meeting link to discuss the issue in depth. There’s no need for agenda in these situations.
Is it okay to ask for a meeting agenda?
Asking what will be discussed in a meeting beforehand is completely okay and understandable. It shows that you want to be prepared for the meeting and that you believe in your co-worker's leadership skills.

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