How to write a successful Meeting Agenda

Meetings that work well, and reach decisions are those that have a carefully constructed and worded agenda that is strictly adhered to. Meeting agendas provide the framework for discussions and also decision-making.

Step 1: Getting started

The best place to start your meeting agendas are to read through any minutes from the previous meetings. Minutes are a useful point of reference as it marks the limits of where decisions had been made, and those decisions have to be made at the next meeting. The minutes should state if any business needed to be carried forward, and that needs to be included in the agendas. The remaining business should be placed in the agendas in order of importance, and to fit around any new information, or discussions that senior management need to have included.

Step 2: Provisional Drafts and Management Consulted

Agendas should always clearly state where, and when the meetings are to be held, those people that are due to attend. It should also state if there are any advanced notices of people not been able to attend plus if they are sending somebody else to take their place. To make sure everything runs smoothly the time for each topic should be set,

Agendas are best written after consulting with senior managers; ideally word everything that they require to be included in the way that they state it to you. It is best to use their rankings of importance so that they will be content in the knowledge that the priority issues will be dealt with first, and allotted more time than the less important ones.

Step 3: Contacting Others Going To the Meetings

Then it is sensible to discuss with other people that will be attending the meetings to verify if they would like any other issues, or topics to be added to the agendas. Generally these topics will be ranked as being of lesser importance than what senior managers have asked to be put on the agendas. Such suggestions can be listed separately depending on their potential impact on the organization, or they can lumped together right at the end of the list in the Any Other business section. An estimate of how time will be needed should be noted on the agendas.

Step 4: Sending the Agendas Out

Before sending out the meeting agendas have the draft read through by senior managers to agree to them, or to change things if needed, or if management need to change items for discussion and their order of priority, and how much time can spared for each one.

After discussing all the draft agendas with everybody that is due to attend then they can be emailed to all the parties that are going to the meetings, and provide a sound indication of how long each meeting will last for.