One of the trials of the work world is unproductive meetings. How many times have you felt like you were sitting in a meeting, wasting time that would be better spend elsewhere? AND, how many times have you been a part of a scheduled meeting that seems to lack purpose and focus? Instead of scheduling meetings just to MEET, consider how important a focused agenda is to the overall function and productivity of meeting time.
Meeting agendas are a must'”whether it is created and distributed in advance or whether it is simply put on a whiteboard for the actual meeting, it is very important to have a definite tool for the keeping the meeting on target. Some of the most efficient meetings actually have a specific amount of time assigned (and printed) for each topic and the facilitator adheres to the time schedule as well as the topic menu.
Having an agenda is not enough, however, as it is equally important that the agenda be purposeful and focused. Make sure the participants know why they are meeting and also have a good understanding of what the expectation is for the GOAL and purpose of the gathering. This means that the agenda needs to NOT have superfluous topics or allow for too much free-wheeling. If something arises at the meeting that will de-rail the purpose, schedule another meeting to address it or make a decision about how best to handle it, without straying off topic and off agenda.
If there is going to be a presenter or some other outside influence on the meeting, schedule that at the very beginning'”before delving into the focus of the gathering. This way, there won’t be interruptions in the flow of the scheduled agenda and you won’t run the risk of having to cut off important discussion or decision-making to allow for a presenter.
Stay on track, stay on topic and make sure the agenda is as focused as the intended content of the scheduled meeting.