Meetings are an essential component of all organizations, serving as a platform for collaboration, decision-making, and information sharing. It doesn’t matter if your meeting is virtual, hybrid, or in person, a meeting without a well-structured agenda from the start can quickly become unproductive, time-consuming, and very expensive. A meeting with a content-driven agenda is the key to ensuring that meetings stay focused, efficient, and achieve their intended objectives.
In this blog, Bucom will explore the importance we place on content-driven agendas for meetings and provide a step-by-step guide on creating them from the inception of the meeting planning process.
A content-driven agenda sets clear expectations for the meeting. It outlines the topics to be discussed, the goals to be achieved, and the desired outcomes. This clarity helps the meeting planning team, speakers, and the participants prepare in advance, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Continuity of message starts from day 1.
Meetings with well-defined agendas from the start tend to be more compact, efficient, and budget friendly. The exact number of meeting days, hotel room nights, meeting space, audio visual requirements, food and beverage events, off-site events, etc can be sourced properly from the start to avoid excess meeting spend. Participants can also allocate their time effectively, leaving less time away from the field, their desk, and their families.
When participants know the agenda, they can contribute meaningfully earlier in the meeting on-boarding process. This leads to increased engagement and participation, making the meeting more productive.
As researched extensively by Steve Robelberg, a professor on leadership, teams, meetings, and engagement and the author of The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance, “Compelling agendas set the stage for inclusion”
An agenda assigns responsibility for various agenda items. This helps distribute the workload and ensures that key issues are addressed by the appropriate individuals throughout the entire meeting planning process.
We start by identifying the main objectives of the meeting. What do you hope to achieve by the end of it? These objectives will guide the content of your agenda as well as the duration of your meeting, meeting space needed, and audio-visual requirements.
Create a list of topics or agenda items that need to be discussed. Be specific and concise in your descriptions.
Not all topics are of equal importance. Prioritize agenda items based on their relevance and urgency. This helps ensure that essential issues are addressed. It is also important to ask your attendees what topics are most important to them to ensure their voices are being heard and they feel involved in the planning of the meeting.
Assign a realistic time frame to each agenda item. This allows for better time management from the very onset of the meeting planning process. Think of your agenda as a block of hours and minutes, rather days. For example, if your meeting goes from 8AM – 5PM, then you have 9 active hours of agenda time to fill. Subtract 1 hour for lunch and two 30-minute breaks, and you still have 7 hours of content! That’s a lot of content!
Determine who will lead the discussion for each agenda item. Assigning presenters ensures that someone is responsible for content from the start. This also streamlines the presentation development process leading up to the meeting, as more time can be dedicated to valuable content.
During the Bucom planning process, we stay focused on the agenda items. Ensure presentations and materials are being developed in a timely fashion to ensure quality and continuity of the meeting messaging and goals.