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Craft a smart agenda

Make meetings more valuable

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by on
in Leaders & Managers,Office Management,Workplace Communication

In many meetings, everyone gets an agenda ahead of time, reads it and ignores it. Attendees may veer offtopic or a VIP can burst into the room and redirect the group.

While it’s sometimes useful to disregard an agenda, you should still put considerable care into writing it. Participants will respond better if they know what to expect and what issues you intend to cover. Some tips:

List attendees. Employees may want to know who’s invited. Including this information removes the mystery and helps them compare notes ahead of time with the right colleagues.

Prioritize ruthlessly. Realize that no matter how tight your agenda, odds are you’ll run out of time. So never leave vital issues for the end.

Attach names to topics. Rather than just outline subjects you plan to discuss, assign an individual to “chair” each section of the meeting. That way, everyone knows his role. They’ll also take more responsibility for their topic if they see their name “in lights” on the agenda.

Keep it general. Use broad headings for each agenda item. Don’t over-explain each entry unless you’re intent on narrowing the scope. It’s usually wise not to define the agenda too specifically, or you’ll muzzle discussion.

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