Career Development

How To Write a Meeting Agenda: Tips, Template and Sample

March 16, 2021

When leading a business meeting, you might be responsible for managing a large number of people and tasks. An effective meeting agenda can help you make sure you discuss all the necessary material, keep the meeting on topic and ensure that your group uses time efficiently. In this article, we’ll cover how to create a meeting agenda that will help you effectively lead any meeting.

What is a meeting agenda?

A meeting agenda is a list of topics or activities you want to cover during your meeting. The main purpose of the agenda is to give participants a clear outline of what should happen in the meeting, who will lead each task and how long each step should take. Having this information before and during the meeting should ensure that it proceeds efficiently and productively.

How to write a meeting agenda

Whether you have a short, one-hour meeting or one that lasts a full day, you can use these steps to help you write an agenda: 

  1. Identify the meeting’s goals.
  2. Ask participants for input.
  3. List the questions you want to address.
  4. Identify the purpose of each task.
  5. Estimate the amount of time to spend on each topic.
  6. Identify who leads each topic.
  7. End each meeting with a review.

1. Identify the meeting’s goal

When you start with your goal, you can make sure the purpose of the meeting is clear and every task you want to cover is related to your objective. Make sure to set an achievable goal to keep your meeting as focused as possible. For example, a meeting goal to approve the company’s monthly advertising budget is more attainable than a goal to improve spending overall. 

2. Ask participants for input

If you want to keep your participants engaged during the meeting, ask for their input beforehand so you can be sure the meeting fulfills their needs. You can ask them to suggest what topics they would like covered or what questions they have. Once you have a list of ideas from the participants, you can review them and decide which items you’ll ultimately include.

Related: 6 Qualities That Make a Great Team Player

3. List the questions you want to address

Once you know your meeting’s objective and have some ideas about the topics you want to cover, list the questions you need to answer during the meeting. Some meeting agendas simply list a topic as a phrase, for example: “rental equipment.” However, you can clarify each agenda item’s purpose by phrasing discussion points as questions. For example, you could write, “Under what conditions should we consider renting equipment instead of buying it?” These prompts can ensure you are inviting discussion and gathering all of the information you need for each agenda topic.

4. Identify the purpose of each task

Every task you complete during your meeting should have a purpose. Typically, the three main purposes are to share information, seek input or make a decision. As you’re going through your agenda, make note of the purpose of each task. This step will help meeting participants know when you want their input and when it’s time to make a decision.

5. Estimate the amount of time to spend on each topic

Next, estimate how much time you plan to spend on each task. This part of the agenda ensures you have enough time to cover all of the topics you have planned for your meeting. It also helps participants adjust their comments and questions to fit within the timeframe.

You can optimize your timeframe by giving more time to items you anticipate taking longer to discuss or scheduling items of higher importance earlier in the discussion to ensure vital topics are covered. If you have many people coming to your meeting, you may even limit time on certain topics to streamline the conversation, encourage a quick decision if needed and keep the meeting on schedule.

Read more: Time Management Skills: Definition and Examples

6. Identify who leads each topic

Occasionally, someone other than the meeting leader will lead the discussion on the topic. If you plan on having other people mediate topics during your meeting, you can identify them under their respective topic. This step helps keep the meeting running smoothly and ensures that everyone is prepared for their responsibilities.

7. End each meeting with a review

Leaving time to end each meeting with a review can help participants better understand what decisions they made and what information they discussed so they can take any necessary steps after the meeting. During this review, you and your meeting participants should also consider what went well during the meeting and what needs improvement. By taking a few minutes to consider these questions, you can make sure your next meeting is even more effective.

Related: Employee Surveys: Your Modern Day Suggestion Box

Meeting agenda template

Here’s an outline that you can tailor to nearly any type of meeting:

MEETING AGENDA

Date:
Time:
Location:

AGENDA DETAILS

Goals:

1. Agenda item one description

Time:
Purpose:
Leader:

a. Remarks
b. Remarks
c. Remarks

2. Agenda item two description

Time:
Purpose:
Leader:

a. Remarks
b. Remarks
c. Remarks

3. Agenda item three description

Time:
Purpose:
Leader:

a. Remarks
i. Additional remarks
ii. Additional remarks
b. Remarks
c. Remarks

4. Agenda item four description

Time:
Purpose:
Leader:

a. Remarks
b. Remarks
c. Remarks

5. Agenda item five description

Time:
Purpose:
Leader:

a. Remarks
i. Additional remarks
ii. Additional remarks
iii. Additional remarks
b. Remarks
c. Remarks

6. End of meeting review

Time:
Purpose:
Leader:

a. What did we do well in this meeting?
b. What should we do differently next meeting?

Meeting agenda example

You can use the following sample meeting schedule when crafting your own agenda:

MEETING AGENDA

Date: Aug. 1, 2019
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Conference Room A

AGENDA DETAILS

*Goals: Review the marketing campaigns from last year, identify seasonal slumps in product demand, brainstorm ways to increase demand during these slumps and make sure we’re prepared for the next marketing campaign.*

1. Review marketing campaigns from last year.

Time: 15 minutes
Purpose: Share information
Leader: Jamal Adams

a. Present the marketing campaigns from last year.
b. Review the sales numbers after each campaign.
c. Identify which campaigns seemed to have the biggest impact.

2. How do we best manage the fluctuating demand for our product?

Time: 30 minutes
Purpose: Decision
Leader: Blair Hanline

a. Review sales numbers from the last four quarters.
b. Identify any trends in sales numbers.
c. Brainstorm ideas on how to increase sales during those slumps.

3. Preparing for the next marketing campaign

Time: 15 minutes
Purpose: Decision
Leader: Blair Hanline

a. What do we need to prepare for the next marketing campaign?
i. Review the attached marketing campaign materials.
ii. Identify tasks for each team member.
b. How will we track the effectiveness of this campaign?
c. Review sales goals for this campaign.

4. End of meeting review

Time: 5 minutes
Purpose: Decision

Leader: Jamal Adams
a. What did we do well in this meeting?
b. What should we do differently next meeting?

Related

View More 

How To Read a P&L Report in 7 Steps (And Why It's Important)

Learn how to analyze a P&L statement, what a P&L statement includes, why it's important and how to understand it as a measure of a company's success.

How To Calculate and Improve Your Video Completion Rate

Learn about video completion rate, how to calculate it, the importance of measuring it and learn seven tips for increasing the completion rate on your videos.