A meeting agenda can completely transform the way your meetings operate, from clumsy all-over-the-place gatherings to organized production powerhouses. Agendas come in many shapes and sizes, but the best agendas are simple and concise. If you’re heading up a web design team, you’re likely going to be part of many meetings; from concept meetings to budgeting meetings. Here’s how to leverage your meeting agendas to create better overall designs.
1. Start With An Objective
One key point meetings often miss is a clear objective (or multiple objectives). It’s important to be very clear and accurate when you’re setting an objective and to relay it to the rest of the team in attendance so everyone is on the same page.
Be sure your objective is clearly defined and that it’s achievable. Remember that it’s only a meeting, and there are limits to what can be accomplished. Once you’ve reached your objective, be sure to hold your team accountable for whatever course of action was agreed upon to either initiate changes or maintain a certain standard.
Setting an objective is simple if you use an agenda template. These excellent tools provide a blueprint for your agenda, so instead of trying to start from scratch, you’ll have a pre-made template from which to work on your agenda.
2. Does John Really Need To Be There?
If you’ve ever been to an overcrowded meeting, you’ll understand the frustration of ten different people attempting to speak on the same point at once, or someone bringing up something completely out of the left field that’s nowhere near relevant to the subject matter.
Excess bodies at a meeting can not only make the room uncomfortable and noisy but are extremely distracting and disruptive. When you’re planning your meeting’s agenda, the guest list is probably the most important part.
Only invite those colleagues that have specialized knowledge in or are directly impacted by the information you’ll be presenting in the meeting. If John from human resources knows nothing about web design, he probably doesn’t need to be at your design meetings.
Narrowing down your guest list will also help save money by keeping those colleagues that don’t belong there productive outside of the meeting. When you’ve got a person who doesn’t need to be at the meeting present, they aren’t technically working, and the company is losing money since they’re on the clock.
3. Templates Make For Better Organization
When it comes to meetings, good organization is the key to a successful one. An unorganized meeting quickly descends into chaos, and everyone is left wondering what exactly they were meeting for in the first place.
When you’re using a template, your meeting is going to be more organized. It’s that simple. Just as an architect will use a blueprint for bridge design, so should you use a template for your meeting agendas.
Luckily, there are thousands of templates available, from word documents and excel sheets to graphic templates you can download from the web. With so many options to choose from, you’re certain to find the right template for your agenda. You can even find job sector-specific template designs!
4. Use Your Agenda To Set Time Constraints
What’s more frustrating than an unproductive, unorganized meeting? One that lasts for hours. We’ve all been there; the content is mind-numbing, the speaker is monotone, and the clock simply will not move.
Setting a time limit for each objective as well as the meeting as a whole will ensure that everyone remains focused on the content and doesn’t begin to doze off after a half hour. Keep the meeting moving along, and remind speakers of their time limit.
Divide objectives into time slots, and include extra time for any presentations relevant to those objectives. Also, leave a small time slot at the end of the meeting for any questions or comments on the material.
5. Share The Agenda Ahead of Time!
You’ve created the perfect agenda with your awesome design template, now what? You must share the agenda with all of the meeting’s attendees at least a few days to a week in advance. This will give everyone adequate time to prepare, especially if one or more attendees will need to give a presentation.
A good way to upset everyone at the meeting is to not share the agenda until the last minute. Have you ever gotten a last-minute request from someone and you couldn’t deliver on it? It can be very frustrating and leave you feeling as though you failed in some way.
Share your agenda with the team in advance, and make sure to answer any questions about it quickly. Ask for feedback as well, as the team may have concerns that aren’t on the agenda but will need to be discussed at the meeting regardless.
Check in with the team after you’ve shared the agenda, and be sure that everyone received a copy. There’s always one team member who missed the email or forgot to look, and that will be the one who is lost during the meeting.
A template is a powerful tool that can help polarize your agendas and massively improve the effectiveness of your meetings. Be sure to set objectives, time constraints, and create a very specific guest list so as to maximize everyone’s participation. Remember that long meetings can be boring and cause team members to disengage, so keep objectives simple and presentations concise.