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How to Prepare a Business Meeting Agenda

A properly formatted agenda is important toward running a smooth and successful business meeting. An agenda helps all parties involved in the meeting to stay on track with the issues that need to be addressed. There are general guidelines that can be followed which will assist in the development of an agenda template that can be utilised for future meetings. This article will discuss how to prepare a business meeting agenda.

Making the Process More Effective

Whether it’s in your job description or you have been tasked with creating the next meeting agenda, there is a process toward making the agenda more effective. Having an effective agenda means having a productive meeting—of course as long as the following is complied with.

1. Coordinate the Details

You may need to coordinate with colleagues regarding details to be discussed in the meeting. Be certain to ask the appropriate people for their information several days before the meeting so that you have enough time to prepare the agenda. Make it clear to the participants that if they have another topic to be added, that there is a deadline to get you their requests.

2. Send Meeting Invitations

Send out an invitation to all those invited, stating the date, time and location as well as the general reason or goal for the meeting. You can utilise MS Outlook or Google Calendar and the invitees can accept or decline the invitation. In your invitation state that once they accept, attendees are expected to attend the meeting.

3. Email Agenda to Attendees

For an effective process, it is important to email the agenda to all the attendees prior to the meeting. This way everyone can review the agenda beforehand so that they can come prepared to properly discuss the issues. When you email the presenters, make sure that they are in agreement with the allotted discussion times for their specific topic.

4. Follow the Agenda

Designate someone to be tasked with keeping the meeting on track with the agenda guidelines.    

Simple Steps to Create the Agenda Format

In addition to the ways to make the process more effective, there are specific steps that can be taken to create an agenda format. The simple steps are listed below.

Step # 1

Open a file in MS Word or whatever other word processing system you use. There are agenda templates that can be downloaded. The second option is to create your own document for the agenda and it can be a template for future agendas.

Step # 2

All agendas should have the meeting details, such as date, start time and end time listed at the top or upper corner.

Step # 3

There will be various issues addressed in the meeting and each topic should be listed as a header in bold face. There are general topics such as: attendance, call to order, approving minutes, old business, new business, questions and answers, and adjournment. Remember that you also should not cram too many topics into the agenda.

Step # 4

Each topic will have specific sub-headers. Underneath the sub-section, basic details will be listed. However, it should be general information and not too much text. In order to run a proper meeting schedule, you should list the allotted time for discussion per topic. Keep the meeting time frame in mind when you divide up the time allotted for each presenter. Also, you should list the individuals who are slated to speak about each issue under the topic heading.

Step # 5

The final step is to proofread the agenda and make any necessary changes. Bring copies with you to the meeting for distribution and email any copies ahead to the appropriate colleagues.

Resources for Preparing Meeting Agendas

There are a variety of online resources for assisting with preparing meeting agendas for the workplace. The following is a listing of those resources.

  • ASAE or The Center for Association Leadership has resources available on their website which help with creating agendas specific to board meetings.
  • offers 9 different meeting agenda templates. These types range from the following: basic, informational, formal, conference call, public, community, seminar, and board and team meetings.

Creating an agenda is important to running a structured meeting. Having a business meeting that goes off track is a complete waste of time. Such a meeting serves no useful purpose. In order for decisions to be made and plans organised, a business meeting needs to flow smoothly. In creating a structured agenda, and sticking to it, all attendees will be better able to accomplish goals and succeed in the workplace.


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