In a popular business publication, “Sell Like Crazy”, Dejoria cut out meetings and emails to focus on revenue-building activities that made him the self-made billionaire he is today.
For the rest of us, however, this move isn’t practical as team meetings are a chance to keep everyone on the same page. We have a similar problem, though. The average executive spends 23 hours in meetings every week, making focused and productive work difficult. Sometimes, these meetings go on forever due to a lack of structure or could have easily been an email.
To remedy this problem, our meeting professionals have created this guide to help write a perfect team meeting agenda that helps you run effective meetings with a clear structure and goal.
Let’s get started.
<Short on time? Download templates here.>
A team meeting agenda is a document that contains the specific details of a meeting. It serves as a roadmap to ensure that all the relevant topics are covered during a team meeting and helps to keep the meeting focused and on track. Below are its major benefits.
Have a cohesive discussion without wasting time
Simply put, a weekly team meeting agenda helps you make the best of your time. Now that we’re working remotely or in a hybrid environment, on the rare occasions you get everyone together, a meeting agenda ensures you talk about what’s critical instead of drifting off into side conversations.
Allow your team to prep ahead of time
A staff meeting agenda shared in advance also helps team members prepare for meetings by giving them an overview of the topics to be discussed. This can allow team members to come prepared with questions or ideas, making the meeting more productive.
To make it more effective, you can collaboratively develop a meeting agenda with team members using a tool like Airgram (my team uses it for weekly meetings, with everyone inputting their weekly progress). This saves time and starts the collaboration process even before you get on a call.
Give everyone a sense of control
Sometimes it feels like only managers and supervisors control the agenda and duration of a meeting. A team meeting agenda that is shared before the start of a session can give everyone a sense of control as they will know what will be discussed, thus creating an inclusive environment.
While the specific items included will vary depending on the team and the project, there are a few essential elements that should always be included.
Team updates: Work completed so far, new members or project status.
Any challenges or obstacles that need to be addressed. Discussing the problems we face will help the team identify potential solutions and ensure everyone is aware of any risks.
Clear objectives for the meeting. Knowing the objective gives participants insight into what will be discussed and accomplished.
Discussion items and allotted time for every topic. List the topics and set a time duration to keep the meeting moving faster and prevent anyone from monopolizing the conversation.
Action items. Assign the tasks to your team members. Be as specific as possible to avoid confusion and ensure that the task can be completed.
We have a team meeting agenda template for every kind of meeting in our library. We’ve listed 3 templates to help you with the most common team meetings. Click here for the complete list.
The beginning of a project means a large influx of new information for your team members. Structure that information and make it easy to discuss everything important with our project kickoff template.
For any business to be successful, sales and marketing must work together towards a common goal. Sales teams need a clear understanding of the product or service being offered, and marketing teams need to know what sales are trying to achieve.
With so many people working on different projects, it can be hard to keep everyone on the same page. All-hands meetings are a chance for the entire team to get together and hear about what's happening. They're also an opportunity for employees to ask questions and give feedback.
You can also create a staff meeting agenda that specifically meets your requirement. Here are 6 tips for writing the perfect meeting agenda template, let’s take a closer look.
Have you ever thought about the purpose of a meeting before organizing it? To share information? To come up with a solution? To analyze data and set goals? Having a clear objective ensures that all attendees are on the same page and that the meeting stays focused.
Make sure that the objective is:
Aligned with the overall goals of the organization
For example, the meeting’s objective can be “Decide the priority work for the next quarter to increase sales”.
The fact is, if you can’t even recognize the purpose of the meeting, this meeting might just be an email.
A great meeting agenda covers all the essential topics. When creating an agenda, items can be classified into three main categories: information, discussion, and action items.
Information items are those that need to be shared with the group, such as announcements or updates.
Discussion items are those that require input from everyone in the group, such as brainstorming ideas or making decisions.
Action items are tasks assigned to specific individuals that should complete after the meeting.
When listing the items, we should also be specific and let attendees follow along easily. Using verbs instead of noun phrases will better inspire action.
What’s more, an interesting discovery finds that “items that are put first receive more attention”, therefore we should always organize the agenda items by priority.
Assigning a topic leader for each item on the agenda will ensure that each topic is covered thoroughly. Having a designated topic leader also allows for more efficient use of time, as each team member will be responsible for preparing for their assigned topic in advance.
Lisa Richards, CEO of the Candida Diet, says, “One of the most important things you can do to create a successful team meeting agenda is to make sure that you have a clear understanding of what each team member's responsibilities are during this meeting and to communicate the same to each member. When people know what is expected of them during meetings, they are more likely to come prepared and ready to contribute and collaborate effectively.”
To choose a topic leader, simply identify who in the group is most knowledgeable about or interested in the subject matter. Then, provide them with an overview of what you would like covered during the meeting.
Admit it, we have prolonged meetings, and participants tend to get frustrated when the meeting lasts longer than expected. That’s why you need to give an estimated duration of the meeting and keep it within the time frame, and the best way to do so is to give an allotted time for each agenda topic.
There are two different ways to estimate the time for each topic.
One approach is to base the estimate on the importance of the topic. For example, a vital topic will require a lot of discussions and may take up to 30 minutes, while a less important issue may only need 5-10 minutes.
Another approach is to base the estimate on the length of the presentation. For example, if a presentation is 15 minutes long, you may want to allow for 30 minutes of discussion time.
You can have better control over what is discussed and avoid unnecessary delays by estimating the time for each agenda item.
Colin Toh, founder & CEO of Headphonesty, says, “Having a quick recap at the end of the meeting helps to ensure that everything is covered and nothing important was missed. It can also be valuable to people who joined the meeting late and might have missed something in the beginning.”
As any good meeting planner knows, it is always important to end by outlining the next steps. This ensures that no one forgets what needs to be done and creates a sense of urgency.
Outlining the next steps also help to create accountability and ensure that everyone is following through on their commitments.
By asking team members if they think anything needs to be added to the agenda, you can identify missing topics and any areas of confusion or disagreement. Asking for input also gives people a chance to think about any questions they might have.
This behavior shows that you value everyone's input and are committed to making the meeting as productive and efficient as possible.
Finally, don’t forget to review the meeting agenda at the end of the meeting and discuss what could be improved. As questions like “Do we include the necessary agenda topics?” or “Is the meeting’s objective clear?” This will help you build a more effective discussion next time.
Learning how to run meetings that produce results is essential to being an effective team leader. Our guide can help you do just that by giving you a structure for your meeting agenda and templates.
If you or your team members find it difficult to take notes and keep up with the meeting, we have a solution for you. Record and live transcribe your meetings with Airgram so that you can participate in your meetings without having to worry about anything else. Taking notes from a recording is easier and gives you the power of hindsight to optimize your future meetings.
Ranee is the Head of Growth of Airgram and has rich experience in the SaaS field. She developed a passion for writing as a young girl and believed the written word could unlock doors as well as the imagination.