Everyone loves meetings, right?
If I’m being honest, I actually do! Whether it’s in person meetings in the office, or remote meetings on Zoom or Google Meet, I get so much from speaking directly to my team members in an official capacity. Not only does it help me keep track of overall progress of tasks and projects, it helps me connect with how my team members feel about their work in real-time. This gives me a chance to offer the support they need to continue progressing toward our goals!
To make sure my team and I get everything we need from our meetings, I always go in with a plan. I find having an agenda helps me run effective team meetings each and every time. The templates below can help you create effective meeting agendas that help you and your team cover important topics of discussion and leave with a clear plan of action.
What are the elements of an effective meeting?
Meetings require your team to spend time away from their work. This makes ineffective meetings a waste of time and can potentially reduce your team’s productivity. So, when scheduling a meeting, it’s important to make it count. I’ve created this checklist of important meeting elements to help me understand whether I’ve made effective use of my team’s time:
“If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you get there?”
The most effective meetings have clear and specific objectives. Those objectives will depend on what type of meeting you’re holding. Do you need to make sure your team understands a new or current goal? Are you interested in checking in on a project’s progress? Maybe you need to introduce a new workplace policy or process.
A meeting can have multiple objectives, as long as you’re clear about what they are!
Stories, songs, plays—structure helps ensure important information gets shared clearly and efficiently. This is true of meetings as well. I like to compare it to a curtain rod: even a simple one lets you hang any kind of curtain you’d like. A strong structure gives you a good base on which you can build an effective meeting. All you need to figure out are the details!
One of the most important aspects of an effective meeting is how things stand once it’s over. By the end of the meeting, each team member should understand why the meeting was important and the specific actions expected of them based on the topics discussed. Offering time at the end of the meeting for questions (or following individual topics, if you prefer) can give your team members the opportunity to ask for clarity on their next steps.
Meeting minutes serve as a good barometer for how effective your meetings have been. By noting important decisions and action items, you can compare expectations with results. This gives you an understanding of how effective previous decisions were, whether there are new decisions to make, and what adjustments might need to be made. Reviewing previous minutes at the top of a meeting can open these topics up for further discussion if needed.
It’s important to keep firm control over your meetings. That doesn’t mean you’re the only one talking with your team there to listen, though. Effective meetings give everyone a voice—but that can often devolve into tangets, distraction, and debate. If this ever happens, stay in control and guide discussion back to the topics at hand. This keeps your meetings orderly, goal-oriented, and short (hopefully)!
Why are meeting agendas important?
If you can’t already tell, I think the most effective meetings are guided by structure and order. That’s why I think meeting agendas are so important: they keep everything on track. But agendas have even more benefits—and these benefits can help create even more effective meetings! Using an agenda helps you:
Cover important topics
Because effective meetings have clear objectives, it’s helpful to have a list of discussion topics. By creating a list, you can make sure you don’t forget anything important. This takes the pressure off from having to remember each topic during the meeting—you can simply refer to the agenda! It also prevents you from needing to send after-meeting memos to give your team the information they need. Or, even worse—needing to schedule a new meeting to discuss topics left out of the first one!
“Oh, I should’ve said that!”—Me after a meeting
There’s nothing worse than going into a meeting unprepared. That’s as true for your team as it is for you. If you prepare an agenda ahead of time, you can distribute it to your team. Then, they have an idea of the topics up for discussion and other agenda items. This gives them time to prepare their thoughts or make notes ahead of time. I know for myself, it sometimes takes time for ideas to bounce around before I know how I actually feel about them. If this is true for your team, the extra time can help them bring important points up during the meeting, rather than waiting for a one on one or the next meeting’s minutes review.
Effective meetings are productive meetings. Team meeting agendas help you make good use of your time. It lets you cover all of your important topics quickly and efficiently. It helps you make sure your team understands expectations before moving onto their next tasks. And, most importantly, it ensures you’re not wasting your team’s (or your company’s) time.
Take accurate notes
As I mentioned above, meeting notes have many benefits. An agenda can give you the structure you need to take accurate minutes. It helps whoever’s taking notes follow discussions more easily and understand why specific topics, thoughts, and actions are important to document. And, because agendas help you control the meeting, it ensures tangents and distractions don’t affect the notes taken.
Do you see how everything works together so nicely?
Sample meeting agenda templates
The specific agenda you create for your meetings will depend on the meeting type and objectives. Referring to templates for various types of agendas can help you decide how to create an agenda that meets your needs. Here, I’ve provided some meeting agenda templates, including:
Level 10 meeting agenda
Note: Revolutionize Your Work is not affiliated with EOS®. This section reviews how to use EOS’s Level 10 meeting agenda to provide guidance on effective ways to run leadership meetings.
Level 10 meetings are long (90 minutes) – but impactful! Intended for leadership teams, the goal is to open the meeting with a few minutes briefly discussing progress of metrics and projects. The majority of the meeting (60 minutes) is then spent taking deep dives into a few major issues your company faces. Agendas can help you accomplish that! A Level 10 meeting consists of seven segments, each with its own goals. In agenda form, it looks like this:
SEGUE/CHECK-IN (5 minutes)
- Team members recent good news/”wins”
SCORECARD REVIEW (5 minutes)
- Brief discussions of KPI/metric status (“on/off track,” specific numbers), such as:
- Conversion goals/numbers
ROCK REVIEW (5 minutes)
- Team members report on the status of current big projects/priorities (“on/off track”)
CUSTOMER/CLIENT/EMPLOYEE HEADLINES (5 minutes)
- One-sentence descriptions of customer/employee reviews
- Simply state whether it was “positive” or “negative”
WEEKLY PRIORITY REVIEWS (5 minutes)
- Brief discussions of current action items/task
- Are they done?
- When will they be done?
IDS: IDENTIFY/DISCUSS/RESOLVE (60 minutes)
- Deep dives into the most important issues, and how the leadership team intends to solve them.
CONCLUSION (5 minutes)
- Review the new, updated to-do list
- Review bullet points on how to complete new action items
- Rate the meeting (1-10)
1:1 meeting agenda
One-on-one (1:1) meetings give you face time with individual team members. This helps you discuss their progress, help them with any issues they might have, and give them time to air any grievances they might have in private. It helps your team members feel heard, seen, and valued. Agendas for 1:1 meetings can often take the form of a simple list of questions or discussion topics. These might differ depending on the specific team member or how long they’ve been with the company. In general, a 1:1 meeting agenda might look like this:
- How have you been? How’s the family? Any personal accomplishments?
- Have you had any work highlights since our last meeting?
- Have you had any work struggles since our last meeting?
- Is there anything I can do to help support you better?
- Do you feel on track to finish your projects/meet your goals?
- What do you need to accomplish those goals?
- What goals do you have for the next week/month?
- Is there anything specific you’d like feedback on?
- Is there any feedback you have for me?
- Are there any issues you need me to be aware of?
Formal meeting agenda
In general, formal meetings help business partners discuss the current status of the company, its projects, and it’s goals. These executive meetings and are highly structured, controlled, and follow the rules of order. It helps convey a lot of important information in a formal, understandable, and orderly way.
CALL TO ORDER
- An opening call-to-order phrase is announced or an opening ceremony performed
- An official taking of attendance
READING OF MINUTES
- Review and approval of the minutes from the previous meeting
- Officers, boards, and committees reporting of current numbers and metrics
- Previously unfinished tasks/projects
- Updated status/plans
- New topics that need discussion, such as:
- Status on bringing in new clients
- New projects that clients want
- Plans for new products/campaigns
- Team members can bring up new topics during the meeting
- Any announcements or updates important to the organization
- Set date/time for next meeting
- The chairperson officially closes the meeting
Board meeting agenda
“Boards” are typically governmental in nature. School boards can govern over a school district’s education system. A board of directors can govern over a company. Because of this, these meetings are also highly ordered and can typically use the template for the formal meeting above. If you’d like a slightly different take on a board meeting agenda, I’m including a modified template below that includes the option for public grievances :
- Greeting board members and public, if given acces
- Introducing board members and roles to public
CALL TO ORDER
- Meeting is called to order/opening ceremony observed
- The specific objectives of or reasons for this meeting are announced by the chairperson
- The chair person announces a main topic for discussion
- The board discusses said topic
- The next topic is announced
- And so on
PUBLIC INTERACTION (OPTIONAL)
- Any members of the public allowed to view the meeting can introduce grievances
- The next member of the public makes their own points
- And so on
- The board can directly address these grievances if they choose
- The board discusses next steps for addressing grievances and resolving main topics
- Sets date/time for next meeting
- The chairperson announces the conclusion of the meeting