Introduction: Creating a Concise Meeting Agenda
Very few things are more frustrating than walking into a meeting with no clear objective and that ends up being a monumental waste of time! A popular saying emphasizes the point - "Failure to plan is a plan to fail (Author Unknown)." Taking the time to outline what your objectives and purposes are for gathering keeps people focused and creates an environment for productivity. Meeting agendas that are concise and direct help us achieve this goal. Time to plan!
DISCLAIMER: I am not aware of any potential harmful effects in performing this task. This is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Statements expressed are those of the creator. The video provided within this demonstration is linked from the public video forum, YouTube. I do not endorse any of the software used.
You will need the follow items:
- Computer / laptop
- Microsoft Office (or similar software with document creating capabilities)
- Copier paper (*optional)
- Printer / scanner
Step 1: OPEN a NEW DOCUMENT
Click on the new document icon to open up the page. Consider this your blank canvas!
Step 2: CREATE YOUR HEADING
Your agenda heading should include the meeting date, time, location and attendees. You want the details of the meeting to be easily located and highlighted. I always think it's a good idea to list the attendees for the meeting, when possible (unless you have an exceptionally large group of people). This allows everyone to see who will be in the room.
Step 3: OUTLINE YOUR MEETING TOPICS / OBJECTIVES
This is where you want to make sure you've taken the time to think about what you want to focus on and for how long. I find that when you set time limits on the discussion topics, you create the framework to stay on task. If you find that a particular subject will need additional time, you can always revisit the matter during another meeting. However, your goal should be to maximize the time allotted.
Step 4: FORMAT YOUR DOCUMENT
This is where you can utilize some creativity, but you definitely want to keep in mind that less is more. You don't want the information and outline to get lost in a litany of colors and busy designs, yet you want to express your professionalism and ability to draw attention to the tasks at hand.
- Use a font that's easy to read
- Stay away from colors unless you need to highlight something important; in that instance, I suggest red and/or blue (these colors tend to be good contrast to a typical black font)
- Use bold, underlining or italics sparingly and only when absolutely necessary
- Use the KISS method (Keep It Super Simple)
- MAKE SURE YOU SAVE YOUR DOCUMENT!
Step 5: PRINT AND/OR SCAN DOCUMENT
I personally recommend being prepared to do both. Finalize your document, save it and create a scannable pdf file. Once your document is scanned, email the agenda to the attendees before the meeting. I suggest no later than one day before, but three would be ideal. Giving the attendees the opportunity to see what will be discussed enables all involved to be prepared. I would also be prepared to have hard copies of the agenda on hand the day of the meeting. I find that a hard copy creates a place for note taking and in the event someone is not prepared electronically, they can still have the objectives in front of them.
Step 6: SOME QUICK TIPS
Step 7: EXAMPLE AGENDA
TAHDAH! That is how simple it is to construct an effective and concise meeting agenda. This simple step in preparation for your meeting will prove to be beneficial and will help you be more productive and focused.