Planning Business Meeting Agendas That Get Results
Planning business meeting agendas is not typically at
the top of every business leader's list of “can’t wait to-do’s”. However, it's important to avoid
the natural tendency to simply show up and "wing-it". You owe it to your team to make good use of everyone's time.
Despite the tedious nature of "planning ahead" to ensure a highly productive business
meeting, the benefits of investing time up front,
will definitely pay off and it far outweighs the costs of not making the effort.
Planning business meeting agendas well in advance ensures a clearly
defined objectives of the meeting. A good leader will, in effect,
pre-determine the outcome of the meeting through proper planning.
For example, let's say you want the outcome of your Monday morning meeting to be that all team members will complete at least 5 outbound in-person sales calls by the end of the week, equivalent to one sales call per day.
With your outcome clearly defined, you can quickly plan an agenda that helps team members determine what they need to do successfully achieve the goal. The agenda may include discussion around how they may need to rearrange their schedule to free up time for calling. You might want to allow time in the agenda to make a list of any barriers or obstacles that could get in the way of meeting the goal and then work as a team to provide answers on how to overcome each objective.
“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”
- Winston Churchill
While it's true that it does require some extra time to thoughtfully plan a meeting, the benefits to your team and to the business can be enormous. To ensure consistency, schedule time on your calendar for meeting planning. The time required for planning will lessen over time once you get into the habit of doing it.
Next, we'll discuss the many benefits of planning business meeting agendas, and how your efforts will earn you added credibility as a leader.
Benefits of Planning Business Meeting Agendas
The many benefits of effectively planning business meeting activities include:
- Sets clear expectations for the day’s activities
– by sharing the agenda in advance of the meeting, you provide notice as to what will be expected,
encouraging attendees to come prepared to learn and participate.
- Keeps meeting moving along to stay on track - clearly
defining start and stop times provides boundaries for guest speakers and
activities. Always make sure someone is watching the clock and letting
the speaker know when their time is coming to a close.
Typically a 5 minute reminder to the speaker will allow enough time
for the speaker to wrap up their thought and close their section of the
- Provides written record of key objectives and areas of focus
- allocating specific time to a key subject communicates to the audience that
this topic is important to you, important to the business, and
therefore worthy of their time and attention.
- Creates a tool for timely follow-up - taking notes to
include the expectations set and commitments made by each participant
during the meeting is very useful in follow-up discussions.
Your business meeting agenda, complete with your meeting notes, is a great way for leaders to hold team members accountable and
keep the entire team focused on what everyone agreed to accomplish.
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”
- Alan Lakein, author
Additional Opportunities for Team Members
In addition to the above benefits to planning business meeting
agendas, leaders who properly plan ahead also provide team members with
outstanding opportunities to:
- Build rapport with co-workers during breaks and other social settings.
- Brainstorm and identify solutions to common barriers.
- Share best practices for increased professional development by establishing a mutual exchange of ideas and personal experience.
- Increase job satisfaction. Networking is the first step
toward building lasting professional relationships within the
So it's important to think through each section of your agenda to ensure you are making the best use of everyone's time. When you respect everyone's time by making certain each meeting provides value to the attendees, your team will look forward to your meetings.
There are many free business meeting agenda templates, which are
available on the Internet. A quick Google search of the keyword 'free meeting
agenda template' will provide you with many solid choices. Microsoft Office also provides a library of Meeting Agenda Templates.
We encourage you to take time to identify your most important,
high-leverage, activities that your team needs to be managed on. Make
these items "standard" agenda topics, and build your business meeting
around these topics for enhanced focus and improved performance.
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