We've all been to unproductive meetings that consume time and money. Meetings aren't always free either because of the wrong people present or a lack of discussion. A well-organized agenda will ensure that you reach the objective of your meeting and get closer toward company goals.
A clear and concise agenda helps everyone understand what will happen during the meeting and helps participants prepare for it. The best method to create an effective agenda for meetings is to include these essential elements:
Define the goal of the meeting, and then list the anticipated outcomes of the discussion. This will help you stay focused on the most important issues, and help avoid unproductive side-bars.
Determine what topics will be discussed for each item. This should include an overview of the subject, who's responsible for addressing it and how much time needs to be allocated to the discussion. It is also beneficial to include the location and time zone of the meeting, especially for remote teams.
In the case of a collaborative team, consider the agenda items as questions that are to be addressed by the group (i.e., "What steps do we need to take to rent top virtual data room software equipment ?"). Making each discussion point a question will stimulate discussion and improve understanding of what's expected during the meeting.
Include a process to define how you'll expect each agenda item to be handled. This is one of the most under-appreciated elements of a meeting and can significantly improve meeting effectiveness. A clear process will allow participants to decide how to approach a particular topic that could lead to off-topic discussions or even a complete derailment of the meeting. By adding a process, attendees can adapt their remarks to are within the time limit or suggest additional time for a particular topic.