Does EVERY Meeting Need an Agenda?

Posted by Kristin Arnold on October 4, 2023

Does EVERY Meeting Need an Agenda?

One of my fellow Board members has a wonderful saying that resonates with me and most (if not all!) of my clients:

No Agenda; No Attenda!

But what does that really mean?  Does EVERY meeting need to have an agenda?

My answer is “yes” – even a VERY short meeting!  It doesn’t have to be a long, written agenda, but there should be some kind of way to set the table for a constructive conversation.

A typical team agenda has the following key elements:

  • Time.  An estimate of the amount of time each section will take.  Try not to keep it too global, nor too specific.  Remember, the timekeeper will be holding the team accountable for these times, so estimate wisely!
  • Topic/Task.  A list of the topic(s) and/or task(s) the team wants to cover.
  • Leader.  The team member who will lead the team through that particular topic.  The presenter may (or may not) be the team leader.  Extraordinary teams share the wealth and allow all team members to lead the team through different topics.
  • Deliverable. The tangible takeaway you intend to walk away with as a result of your discussion.
  • Process.  This last one is optional but extremely helpful for formal meetings: A best guess at the process the team will use to achieve the task.  Most teams go through a typical process of generating ideas, organizing those ideas, selecting or making a decision, and then taking action.

For short meetings, simply stating a brief agenda is fine:  “Let’s take ten minutes to discuss the status of our project as well as our next steps for this week.”  For longer meetings, you’ll expand the details as needed.

You may even want to use this agenda template to structure your next formal meeting agenda!


Related Articles:

How to Build a Meeting Agenda from Scratch

Start at the Beginning When Organizing Your Agenda

Manage Time During a Meeting with a Timekeeper

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.

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