How many meetings do you agree to (or host) in a week that don’t have an agenda? If it’s even one, it’s too many. If time is the new money, then meetings are currently your biggest hidden tax. Agendas are the key to gaining compound interest.
We define a meeting as an event between two or more people with a purpose to: decide, discuss, or take action on specific high priorities.
The cost of not using meeting agendas is clear: How many meetings have you attended that could have been covered in an email? How many meetings have you left confused, frustrated and feeling you’re your valuable time was wasted? How hard do you have to work to get partners to show up regularly, prepared and ready to be productive?
10 Signs that your meetings don’t have agendas:
- Partners don’t show up
- Partners consistently show up late
- People show up unprepared
- The wrong people show up
- People are confused about the meetings purpose
- Discussion without decision or action
- People easily derail the meeting discussion
- No roles are assigned
- Actions are not assigned timeframes
- People leave early
Leaders can solve most of the symptoms they are experiencing related to low partner engagement during meetings by having a solid agenda distributed in advance.
What do the best meeting agenda’s include?
- Logistics: Date, time, location, length
- People: attendees who can directly inform decisions, discussions or actions
- Roles: Chair, Secretary
- High Priority Objectives: No more than three per meeting; relevant to the majority; timely
- Agenda Items: Discussion, decision, action
- Timing: Allocation of time per objective
- Questions: Guiding, clarifying, curious, courageous, possibility-oriented
- Value: Personally, professionally, partnership-specific
- Evaluation: Assess the effectiveness of the meeting
Meetings that include information only (FYI) or progress updates are typically ineffective, and these conversations are best saved for less formal networking or relationship development opportunities (e.g., water cooler talk, or coffee breaks). If the update is important, your partners can get the same value from reading a document or an email.
Sending information or an update in advance allows people to think of clarifying questions, saves valuable time during the meeting, and increases attention and engagement during the meeting. During meetings, focus on discussion that moves you toward a decision or an action, and leave FYI updates as part of the meeting preparation.
What do the best meetings result in? If your meetings are effective, your participants will be engaged and you’ll end up with:
- Assigned roles/tasks, with timeframes
Actions you can take right now:
- Adopt a ‘No agenda No attenda’ philosophy
- Create your own meeting agenda template
And remember, managing an agenda is a better investment of your time than managing the symptoms of not having one!
- Posted by Enette Pauzé
- On August 29, 2016