A meeting agenda outlines the purpose of each meeting.
It guides attendees through important topics, keeps everyone focused on priorities, and improves the flow of communication. A meeting without an agenda is like building a house without a blueprint. There’s no vision.
Here’s what happens when you don’t have a clear agenda:
- Meeting participants aren’t prepared to contribute to the conversation.
- People easily get distracted, veer off on tangents, and waste time.
- Attendees leave the meeting feeling unproductive and unclear about their next steps.
To avoid this from happening, we recommend creating a simple meeting agenda template.
Creating a template will save you time and energy. You can use the same framework for each meeting, updating the topics and information depending on the event type—office hours, strategy sessions, team meetings, or any other meeting purpose. And it'll ensure every conversation is productive, focused, and engaging.
In this article, we'll share what to include in your meeting agenda template. And as a bonus, we'll show you how to add this template to your virtual meetings using Undock.
What To Include In A Meeting Agenda
Each meeting has a different purpose.
But there are best practices you can follow when creating an agenda template. Here are key sections to include:
- Agenda Overview
- Key Talking Points
- Final Q&As
- Next steps
Let's take a closer look at each one.
Introduction: Set The Tone
Establish a positive atmosphere when you begin every meeting.
Attendees start entering the room. Some may have lower energy as they sip their morning brews. Others may be nervous or shy. Within the first few minutes, you have an opportunity to set a positive tone and create a safe meeting environment. This sets the stage for free-flowing communication, a willingness to contribute, and creativity.
Start the conversation on a positive note and watch how the meeting flourishes.
Agenda Overview: Communicate Clear Intent
As the meeting starts, everyone’s thinking: “Why am I here?”
Attendees feel reassured when they understand the meeting's purpose. No one wants to waste time. And communicating clear intent will motivate attendees to pay attention and contribute.
Giving a brief overview of the agenda accomplishes this. Simply summarize the key talking points, and why they matter.
The agenda overview helps you manage expectations from the start.
Key Talking Points: Share Important Topics
Once you’ve given your overview, start with your first talking point.
Meeting agenda items will vary depending on your unique goals and situation. But we can place most of them into three categories:
- Action Items
Updates. The purpose of updates is to share key information and ideas with meeting participants. For goals and objectives to be accomplished, everyone needs to be on the same page and share meaningful information. For instance, a software engineer may need to update the marketing team on product features and timelines.
Feedback. Providing feedback improves work quality, and it gives meeting attendees clarity on how to complete tasks. For instance, maybe your marketing team wants to run a few campaigns. Giving them feedback will result in higher-quality ideas and a clearer direction.
Action items. An action item is a task that must be completed outside of the meeting. There will be bottlenecks and incomplete tasks that will slow progress. You'll want to address each roadblock and create action items for overcoming them. This allows you to manage expectations about what needs to be completed, who’s responsible, and when it’s due.
Be open to thoughts, questions, or concerns as you share each topic. This encourages open dialogue and collaboration.
Final Q&As: Remove Any Confusion
Open the floor to questions after covering key talking points.
This helps meeting participants remove any confusion. If there are lots of questions, set a limit so you can end the meeting on time. This also encourages attendees to focus on the most pressing questions.
If there are no questions, take a quick poll. Ask if anything is unclear or if there are any concerns.
Next Steps: Clarify Action Plan
You've discussed a lot. Now don’t let it go to waste—clarify the next steps.
Go around the virtual room, and have your meeting attendees share what they’re going to work on. If there are multiple tasks, encourage them to prioritize them in order of importance. Clarifying an action plan does three things:
- It gets everyone in sync before leaving the meeting.
- Articulating the “next steps” helps everyone clarify their tasks and priorities.
- It keeps attendees accountable for their actions and provides a timeline for following up.
A clear understanding of the "next steps" will allow you to end the meeting on a productive note.
How To Add Templates To Your Meetings
Let's be real: A meeting agenda is one of the first things to be forgotten or pushed back.
It's time-consuming. And if you're in a rush, you might forget to include important topics. And as we know, this leads to unproductive meetings with no clear goals.
That’s where Undock's Agenda Templates can help: It helps save time and keeps everyone on track.
We give you a simple way to add agendas to your meeting invitations. You can quickly create and customize agenda templates for specific meeting events. With a few clicks, you can add an agenda to any meeting invite and it'll automatically send to all attendees.
Here's how it works:
- Go to Undock and head over to your Account Settings. If you're not a member, sign up for free.
- Click "Schedules." A schedule is a unique meeting event with customized availability and scheduling preferences (e.g. Mentorship Calls, Office Hours, Strategy Sessions, etc.).
- Choose or create a schedule where you'll be adding a meeting agenda template.
- Click "Agenda Template." Now you can add relevant information to your agenda—the event title, a description of the agenda's purpose, and the topics you want to cover.
That's it! Now, whenever someone schedules a meeting through your calendar link, the agenda you created is attached to each calendar event.
Next Steps: Save Time and Stay Organized
Imagine leading a whole meeting without any agenda planned. You’ll spend 10-20 minutes rambling, or veering off on a tangent that leads down endless rabbit holes. Not only will you waste everyone's time, but you'll also suffer the opportunity cost of what your team could’ve accomplished.
An agenda is a vital tool for any meeting, big or small. By following the tips in this article, you can create an effective agenda that will help you run productive meetings. And using Undock, you can automatically send out agendas to save time and stay organized.
Sign up for a free Undock account and get started!