If you are setting up a causal golfing get together, or a social gathering then this tip may not apply to you.
However, if your objective is to get some business done... then for goodness sakes use a tool that will help you stay focused and productive. Be sure all attendees have the agenda as well, so that they can be prepared to discuss the topics at hand... and always end your meeting with a clear CTA (call-to-action) for any future activities.
Despite all that’s been written on how to make meetings more effective, we continue to be amazed at the number of otherwise competent executives who ad-lib when it comes to organizing their business meetings.
A simple meeting agenda, distributed in advance, is perhaps the most important tool in ensuring a successful productive meeting, even when the meeting is between only you and one other person. Here’s why:
Agendas Set The Right Tone: Meeting agendas let participants know that there’s a legitimate business purpose for meeting, with specific issues to be discussed and outcomes to be achieved. It conveys your interest in getting down to business and not wasting time.
Agendas Identify Topics For Discussion: Agendas let attendees know what issues are going to be discussed, and keep them from placing other issues on the table. They also eliminate guesswork as to whether or not a particular issue is going to be discussed.
Agendas Keep Everyone Focused: Meeting agendas can focus participants in ways that verbal guidance cannot. Participants have a written reminder of what needs to be accomplished during the meeting, allowing them to help drive each discussion toward conclusion.
Agendas Eliminate Excuses: Agendas eliminate excuses that participants aren’t ready to discuss a subject because they didn’t know it was going to be brought up. Participants are put on notice of exactly what they need to prepare, saving time and eliminating embarrassment.
If you can’t personally create a meeting agenda for the meetings you convene, at least delegate that responsibility to one of the participants (that way, you’ll get all of the benefits of having an agenda without having to do the work!).