Meeting Agenda or the absence thereof, is the single most important determinant of the effectiveness of a meeting. The following are suggested guidelines regarding meeting agendas:
- To improve the probability of accomplishing the purpose of a meeting, as a minimum, a printed agenda should be available to all attendees at the meeting.
- A draft agenda should be routed to expected attendees for their input before the meeting. By so doing, the sense of ownership for the meeting outcome for all attendees is increased.
- Input from other attendees helps the meeting organizer to be better prepared for otherwise unexpected topics that can come up during the meeting.
- The finalized agenda should be sent to all attendees prior to the meeting so that they can also be prepared for the meeting.
- The agenda lets the attendees know the order in which the items are to be covered so that the organizer’s desired flow of the meeting is not interrupted by attendees unknowingly bringing up topics that are scheduled for later in the meeting.
- In general, the agenda should be followed during the meeting; however, rigid adherence to the agenda is rarely necessary. Deviation from the agenda frequently occurs and can even be beneficial. However, if the meeting is getting out of control, the organizer can use the agenda to refocus the meeting.