The Ultimate Guide to Meeting Agendas

by | Apr 11, 2022 | Best Practices, Meeting Performance, Productivity

95% of meetings need agendas, period. The science on this is clear. Unfortunately, too often we see the opposite to be true, namely, that on average, just 5% of meetings have agendas for the average meeting attendee (or organizer).

While disheartening, it’s not necessarily surprising that so few meetings have a clearly defined purpose, goal, or agenda. There are no undergraduate courses on meeting effectiveness. In fact, there are no MBA programs in the United States that teach meeting effectiveness protocols either, which is eerily disconnected from the other part of the financial ledger of human performance, namely that meetings consume $0.35 – $0.45 of every payroll dollar. Fortunately, there are some newly emerging glimmers of hope from academia such as the Center for Meeting Effectiveness at the University of Utah, whose director, Dr. Joseph Allen, is the world’s leading scientific expert (and a MeetingScience advisor) on workplace meetings.

So you’ve got a meeting coming up this afternoon. What can you do? Wing it? NO! In knowledge worker positions, a meeting that involves two or more people most commonly falls into one of nine meeting categories. Correspondingly, we’ve created 32 brief meeting templates that you can cut and paste into your next meeting description. Of course, your meeting cadence, frequency, attendees, and other variables might change the dynamics of the agenda, but don’t create (or attend) a meeting without one. As you’ll see, you can also interchange some agenda items that work best for your situation.

Make it your mission to include an agenda in every one of your meetings…and now you have the spark to achieve this goal. Let’s go!

  1. One-on-One Meeting (1:1)
  2. Team Meeting
  3. Project Meeting
  4. Client Meeting
  5. Debrief Meeting
  6. Interview
  7. Company Meeting
  8. Sales Pitch
  9. Board Meeting

One-on-One Meeting (1:1)

Agenda
– Goals
– Obstacles
– Opportunities
– Decisions

Agenda
– Keep
– Quit
– Start
– Action Items

Agenda
– Individual Update
– Team Update
– Update on Goals and Objectives
– Potential Challenges
– Personal Goals

Agenda
– Challenges from last week
– Rewards from last week
– Goals and Progress
– Issues and Blockers
– Action Items

Team Meeting

Agenda
– Icebreaker
– Big Picture
– Highlights
– Challenges
– Priorities
– Next Steps

Agenda
– Good News
– Key Metrics
– Client or Customer Update
– Problem Solving
– Action Items

Agenda
– Review the last meeting’s action items
– Objectives
– Key Results
– Initiatives
– Focus of Next Meeting

Agenda
– KPI Update
– Last Actions
– Next Steps
– Round Robin

Agenda
1. Successes and wins
2. Pipeline updates
3. Obstacles and roadblocks
4. Prospect, lead, customer feedback
5. Metrics update
6. Housekeeping
7. Competitor updates
8. Pitch round table

Project Meeting

Agenda
– Project Background
– Identify Stakeholders
– Review Project Objectives
– Review Team Member Roles and Responsibilities
– Review Assumptions, Risks
– Identify Next Steps and Timing

Agenda
– Project Updates
– Clarifying Questions
– Collaboration Needs and Questions
– Action Items

Agenda
– Review the last meeting’s action items
– Objectives
– Key Results
– Initiatives
– Focus of Next Meeting

Client Meeting

Agenda
– Introductions
– Discussion of client needs and concerns
– Clarifying Questions
– Discussion of Options and Opportunities (if possible)
– Action Items

Agenda
– Major updates since our last meeting
– Discussion points
– Decisions to be made
– Action Items and Next Steps

Agenda
– Project status
– Budget and scope updates
– Discussion
– Agreement on Next Steps
– Recap

Agenda
– Team Introductions
– SMART Goals
– Plans for Reaching Goals
– Client Challenges
– Project Timeline
– Roles and Responsibilities
– Next Steps and Action Items

Debrief Meeting

Agenda
– Event Overview (non-evaluative)
– What went right?
– What went wrong?
– What almost went VERY wrong?
– What would we do differently under similar circumstances in the future?
– What other insights from this event?
– Action Items

Agenda
1. What was our mission?
2. What went well?
3. What could have gone better?
4. What might we have done differently?
5. Who needs to know?

Interview

Agenda
– Introduction
– What are you most proud of?
– What do you enjoy?
– How have you overcome obstacles?
– How would colleagues describe you?
– Why shouldn’t we hire you?
– Q and A

Agenda
– Introduction
– Candidate History
– Key Competency Questions
– Motivation and Fit Questions
– Open Q and A with Candidate
– Wrap-up

Company Meeting

Agenda
– Values
– Goals
– Strategies
– Initiatives
– Results

Agenda
CEO Update
Company Progress:
1) Re-communicate our mission
2) Update on progress against key company metrics and goals
3) Areas of focus and priority for the coming period

Topic: Sales
Topic: Marketing
Topic: Customer Success
Topic: Engineering and Product
Topic: HR and People
Topic: Finance

For each:
1) Update on progress against key metrics and goals
2) Reasons for exceeding, hitting, or missing goals
3) Plans for the next period
4) Q and A

Agenda
– Opening Statement
– Key areas for discussion and feedback
– Clarifying Questions
– Interactive Sharing [for a large company]
– Action Items (individual, team, company)

Sales Pitch

Agenda
– Introduction of your company
– Learn and Present about prospect’s company and challenges they face relative to efficiency and growth
– Discuss possible solutions to current challenges and need and timing to address them
– Share relevant case study
– Agreement on Next Steps

Agenda
– Confirmation of Meeting Goals
– Prospect goals and priorities this quarter or year
– Prospect budget allocated for achieving those goals and priorities
– Share the ROI of investing in your product to achieve those goals and priorities
– Action Items and Next Steps

Agenda
– Prospect’s business objectives
– Specifics about their initiatives
– Our customized solution for their needs
– Agenda item for prospect to complete
– Agenda item for prospect to complete
– Agenda item for prospect to complete

Tip: Sending a prospect an agenda ahead of time to ask them for their feedback demonstrates to the prospect that you’re prepared for the meeting. Giving them agenda control with the ability to complete three empty bullet points with what they want to discuss demonstrates shared success and likely a better outcome.

Agenda
– Introductions
– Review Meeting Objective
– Ask the prospect to explain their needs or business goals: why did they take this meeting?
– Presentation of our solution
– Explanation of how our product or service can meet our prospect’s needs
– Q&A
– Prospect Decision Process: Key individuals, timing, logistics
– Agreement on Next Steps and Next Meeting

Agenda
– Define upcoming marketplace challenges for next ## months
– Present the latest solution suite via case study
– Discuss ways to collaborate
– Agreement on Next Steps

Board Meeting

Agenda
I. Call to Order
II. Approval of the Agenda
III. Approval of the Minutes
IV. Reports
– CEO / Executive Director
– CFO / Finance Director
– Nominating Committee
– Governance Committee
– Public Relations Committee
V. Old Business
– Board nominations
– Contract negotiations
VI. New Business
VII. Comments and Announcements
VIII. Adjournment
IX. Next Meeting Date

Agenda
I. Consent Agenda
II. Dashboard Financials
III. Board Succession
IV. Executive Summaries
V. Strategy
VI. Board Development
VII. Feedback

Agenda
I. Declaration by directors present of a conflict of interest with any item on the agenda
II. Minutes from the previous meeting
III. A strategic update including an update on business conditions and progress against objectives
IV. A financial update including key performance indicators, management accounts and financial reporting
V. An operational update from member X including high-level detail on the performance of products or services
VI. Updates on any existing projects and details of upcoming projects
VII. Legal and or regulatory updates, if required
VIII. Risk should be included as a standing item on the agenda so that potential threats to the business are monitored and reviewed regularly and measures are in place to mitigate such risks

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