Unfortunately, we have all attended meetings that go off topic or over the established meeting time. Worse, we’ve all been in meetings that weren’t needed. Sitting through those can be a painful reminder of how meetings often develop a reputation for being a waste of time. These meeting agenda examples can fix that by bringing structure to your meetings.
Meetings can be a helpful tool and a great asset. But when they waste time or don’t accomplish their goals, they can be a drain on your team’s valuable resources.
Why do we need meeting agendas?
Meeting agendas provide the structure that’s essential to a well-run meeting. An agenda is a thoughtful framework for the meeting to help you focus on the problems and conversations that need tackling. Meeting agendas also force you to think critically about what should be discussed.
If you find yourself without much to include in a meeting’s agenda, you can cancel it. By sharing an agenda with your team members in advance, you enable them to prepare for the meeting. Agendas also help ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Because they provide structure, agendas reduce meeting time by giving everyone a guide to how the meeting will go. This eliminates opportunities for distractions or tangents.
In addition to other useful things to include, like check-in questions for meetings, agendas help you make the most of the time you’ve set aside. Whether your meeting is virtual, hybrid, or in person, agendas provide a framework that helps keep your meetings on track, on topic, and on time. They empower you to be effective and organized.
Let’s take a closer look at a few meeting agenda examples.
One-on-one meeting templates
Depending on the goal of your meeting, the structure of your meeting agenda will change. For one-on-one meetings—such as an employee review, for example—your agenda doesn’t have to be exhaustive.
Outline a few simple points that you want to cover and share it with your team member. For a review, a meeting agenda sample template might include topics like their performance, key metrics, and future career goals. You should also leave some time for open questions towards the end to address any topics they want to discuss.
That way, they can be ready for the discussion and come prepared to answer your questions or ask questions of their own.
Team meeting agenda template
For team meeting agendas, be thoughtful about the document format and the use of your team’s time. For example, reach out to different stakeholders in advance to determine if there is anything they need your support on or want discussed at the meeting.
While your team is likely familiar with projects’ progress, your external partners won’t be as up-to-date. Include project details in these meeting agendas so everyone can prepare in advance.
Don’t overshare, but adding as much information as possible ahead of time is helpful. That way, meeting attendees can be ready for the discussion and come prepared to answer your questions, or ask questions of their own.
Town Halls and all-hands meeting agenda format
Meeting agendas can also be incredibly valuable as a resource for large all-hands style meetings.
For example, quarterly town hall meetings are a good opportunity to level-set with your company, department, or team. You will have the chance to share important information about events, changes, and answer questions. In these scenarios, agendas will help keep structure.
Town hall meeting agendas ensure that essential topics are discussed. They also let everyone know what you plan on talking about during the meeting. Agendas also provide a useful perspective for how time will be used, workers may look forward to a Q&A section at the end of these types of meetings.
To optimize meeting time, your agenda can include a link where workers can submit their questions ahead of time. Managers can review questions ahead of time and ensure that relevant questions are selected. It also provides managers with more time to prepare the an well-researched and complete answer.
An agenda is a to-do list
Now that we’ve reviewed meeting agenda examples for one-on-one, team, and town hall discussions, we can further explore the purpose of an agenda.
Meeting agendas set a framework for the meeting, so attendees know what to expect and goals are clearly outlined. Including an agenda on your invite lets attendees know what will be discussed in advance. This allows them to prepare, so they can offer answers or thoughtful contributions. By sharing an agenda before a meeting, you also give attendees the chance to contribute
By outlining topics for discussion, the meeting agenda helps keep everyone focused. To save time, you can create meeting agenda templates that you can tweak for each meeting, as needed.
If you have recurring meetings, using the same meeting agenda template ensures that you are always gathering the same information at each meeting. Your time is valuable—agendas ensure that your time is being used wisely and effectively.
Know what you need
Figuring out how to write a meeting agenda can be tricky. Be clear about your objectives and goals and communicate them effectively. Ask yourself: What do I need to get out of the meeting?
Once you keep your goals in mind, you’ll be able to structure the meeting around achieving them. You can also review meeting agenda samples online or check out meeting agenda examples from colleagues and mentors to get an understanding of what a good meeting agenda template looks like.
When you are building out your agenda, consider the best meeting agenda format. Some helpful things to include are:
- Action items. These represent outstanding tasks that need to be completed or issues that need to be resolved. They may be addressed in the meeting but you can also assign action items to a team member. That team member will complete the action item before the next meeting or a separate deadline. Larger action items may take longer, so the team member can provide updates at future meetings.
- Informational updates. This component of agendas is intended to share information with the team. Alternatively, you may ask an attendee to give an update or offer information about something they are responsible for. This provides an opportunity to align with the team.
- Discussion topics are topics that need to be talked about at the meeting. This can be to get a better understanding or to work through a complex problem.
- Relevant files: Attach documents to a note or use a cloud storage provider to directly link information relevant to the meeting.
Don’t be afraid to cancel
If you don’t have many items that need resolution or if you’re still waiting on more information, cancel the meeting. You can always reschedule the meeting when you are prepared. This format of meeting agendas forces you to think critically about how time is used during meetings. This way you can anticipate when a meeting isn’t needed.
This will free up time for everyone involved, so they don’t need to sit through a pointless meeting. The saying, “This could have been an email” is so popular for a reason. You can often share information through other communication channels if it doesn’t merit a meeting.
Budget the right amount of time
We all wish that we could speed through topics and end meetings early but that’s wishful thinking. Be realistic with how much time each topic needs. In business, minutes matter—and any time wasted is not time well spent. By planning effectively, you can stay focused on the purpose behind the meeting.
Some items require more discussion before they are fully addressed. If you’re knee-deep in conversation and use up the allotted meeting time for that topic, make a note to follow up on the discussion and move on to the next item on the agenda. It’s important to get through your whole agenda, even if that means cutting off good contributions from your team. Your unresolved discussion can become an action item or a continuing conversation outside of the meeting.
Invite the right people
You never want to waste someone’s time by asking them to attend a meeting that’s not relevant to their work—think carefully before expanding your list of invitees. Know your topics and goals for the meeting and thoughtfully invite coworkers and stakeholders accordingly.
Depending on the context of your meeting, you may want to dedicate time for a welcome and introductions. These can be helpful to include for more formal meetings or meetings at the start of a new project, when stakeholders and collaborators may not be familiar with each other. Introductions will help clarify everyone’s roles and responsibilities, which will streamline future meetings.
Use a tool that can do it all
When you create a meeting agenda, you will need a tool that enables you to draft, store, and share your agenda. Rock offers a variety of tools that you can use for every step of meeting agendas, including storing them where you can find them in the future.
When you need a meeting agenda
With Rock, you can draft your meeting agendas in the Notes mini-app and save versions of a sample meeting agenda for future use. In addition to including it on meeting invites, you can store the agenda in a shared space with meeting attendees so everyone has the opportunity to review it. Anyone in the space can contribute to the content of the agenda. This provides helpful context while still providing you with enough authority to decide on what is included on the agenda.
Notes on Rock also integrate with Cloud storage providers such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Figma. This means that relevant folders are easily accessible from each respective meeting agenda.
Your team won’t have to shuffle through different or outdated versions of your agenda. Everyone will be on the same page, with the same agenda. A dedicated comment section under every note also enables people to easily record new questions, updates or add questions, as needed.
Agenda management is made easy with your meeting agendas (and meeting notes) in one centralized place. You can quickly search for and find agendas from past meetings. If you have a question or want to follow up on something from last month’s meeting, you can easily pull up that agenda to reference and add comments.
When you don’t need a meeting
Assign tasks to the appropriate team member to complete work without a meeting beforehand. This ensures accountability for action items. Continue the conversation on the task level instead of scheduling a dedicated meeting for them.
Using task management is a great way to get asynchronous work done. This is especially true for remote teams who have to navigate the time differences and various work schedules that can make scheduling a meeting difficult.
Rock offers a task board feature in every space so your action items are easy to share and complete. Replace unnecessary meetings with tasks. This makes your team more effective and productive.
In Rock, you and your team members can collaborate via built-in messaging. People can catch up on the latest information, details or updates by just checking the chat or overall space. With mini-apps like topics and files, your team will have 24/7 access to information.
Work on new projects, tasks or priorities without waiting for anyone. Save meetings for brainstorming and value-adding discussions. For everything else, communicate with tasks, notes and messages on Rock.