5 Tips on Creating the Perfect Agenda


You are given the task of running an important meeting and need to ensure that you do not waste anyone’s time.  You want to make your meeting as productive as possible.  Here are 5 tips to help you create a perfect agenda:

List team members from each organization at the top of the agenda.

This will help everyone remember not only names, but how each player fits into the big picture.  This can also help you remember who attended the meeting as you distribute the notes.

List the objective, date, time, and place of the meeting.

Stating the objective of your meeting helps everyone focus on what needs to be accomplished.  It keeps your meeting on track, and can cut meeting times significantly by reducing the tendency to wander off topic.  The time is especially important with conference calls in case someone prints out the agenda but forgets when the meeting starts.  If a team member is traveling and cannot get into their calendar, they can hopefully open up the agenda and check the details there.  For conference calls, make sure to list the phone number in place of a location.  Team members can check the agenda and still get in to the conference line if the calendar invitation has a typo on the phone number.

Review first.

Start with a review of all pertinent information.  This will ensure that your team is up to speed on anything they might have missed and provides some background information for anyone who is just joining the conversation.

Be intentional.

Be intentional about the flow of the agenda.  Do you have a low priority topic that will spark a lot of conversation?  Put that toward the end so it does not monopolize your entire meeting.  Is there one crucial item that has to be decided on as quickly as possible?  Place that at the top of the agenda so you can get it out of the way.  Are there items that hinge on one decision?  Get the decision finalized at the beginning of the meeting so you can discuss the follow up items afterward.  Rehearse the flow of the meeting to make sure it makes sense.  Let each team member know what you would like them to cover and where they are on the agenda so they can prepare.

Establish next steps at the end of the agenda.

Is your next step a follow up meeting in one week?  List some potential dates and times so you can get it on the schedule before everyone leaves.  If your next steps involve waiting on a team member for a deliverable, list the item toward the end and put “(deliverable) expected completion date” to get a commitment.  Always establish a deadline so you can keep your project moving in the right direction.


Now that you have a winning agenda, ask your internal team to review it ahead of time and distribute it at least 24 hours before your meeting so everyone can prepare!  For more tips on how to make your meeting successful, click here or subscribe.

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