The Agenda: A Leader’s Guide
To a Great Meeting
To demonstrate how to create a useful agenda
To identify the value of creating and using agendas
To practice creating an agenda
Any number of participants, divided into groups of 5
Handout 40.1: Sample Agenda
Equipment and Supplies
Flipcharts (one per small group)
Space for a table, chairs, and flipchart for each small group
It is important to develop and distribute an agenda before a scheduled meeting,
because it gives people time to gather information about important issues. It also
ensures that the most-important topics will be discussed at the meeting.
For more on other facilitation techniques, read Faultless Facilitation—A Resource
Guide, by Lois B. Hart (HRD Press).
50 Activities for Developing Leaders
Trainer’s Notes for Activity 40
Step 1: Introduce the topic with these remarks:
“If we look back at meetings we’ve attended or conducted that
have not been too successful, we are likely to conclude that not
having an agenda or having only a poorly planned one was a major
reason why the meeting was a flop. The focus of this next activity
is on how to prepare a good agenda.
In this activity, we will also review why it’s important to have an
agenda. You will have an opportunity to work in small groups to
prepare one agenda together.”
Step 2: Discuss the importance of having an agenda for every scheduled
meeting. List participants’ ideas on the flipchart. Make sure they
realize that agendas:
Clarify which tasks and issues need discussion.
Put items into an order for discussion.
Help to identify how much time will be needed for a meeting.
Provide a way to measure the accomplishment of tasks.
Provide an outline for writing a report after the meeting.
State how to prepare an agenda. Discuss and record on the flipchart
the pros and cons of preparing the agenda before the meeting:
It saves time in the meeting.
Items can be put in logical order.
Group members can prepare and bring resource materials to
support items on the agenda.
It reduces spontaneity.
Participants cannot decide whether or not all of the items are
important for a particular meeting.
Step 3: Tell participants that the next 45 minutes will be spent putting
together a sample agenda. Then present the challenge: To set up an
agenda for a two-hour problem-solving session. Here’s the sce-
“You work in a manufacturing setting. It has come to your attention
from several sources that the sales department makes promises
to customers that cannot be kept under the current production
schedule. You are calling a meeting with key people from sales,
production, shipping, information technology, and sales support
The Agenda: A Leader’s Guide To a Great Meeting
departments. Your goal is to solve the problem of scheduling so
your company can keep its promises to customers.”
Distribute Handout 40.1, and go over the parts of an agenda:
Date and time of meeting
Names of those serving as team leader, facilitator, and recorder
Goals and objectives for the meeting
Topics, issues, and or activities
Processes to be used
Name of person responsible for each part of the agenda
Time allotted for each item on the agenda
Step 4: Divide participants into teams of three, and give each trio one large
sheet of chart paper and a pad of 3" × 3" sticky notes. At the top,
they must write the goal of the meeting, as well as starting and end-
Demonstrate how to use the chart paper to sketch out the agenda’s
skeleton. Use one sticky note for each component of the agenda.
Start with the normal items included in an agenda, such as
Each team should use the sticky notes for these items, and place
them on the paper. Show them on the flipchart how this is done:
Each team should first brainstorm all of the parts of this two-hour
meeting. For each topic or issue, they should prepare a separate
sticky note, which is physically placed on the large agenda sheet
they are designing. Encourage people to move items around until
they get a flow that makes sense and that provides some variety to
the agenda, while still accomplishing their goal. Tell them that
agenda items are commonly listed down the left of the page, in one
Step 5: When all the teams finish, post the agendas where everyone can see
and discuss each design. You are likely to see different designs that
can achieve the same goal. Praise creativity and variety of methods
used in the design.
50 Activities for Developing Leaders