How to Design an Agenda for an Effective Meeting

by Roger Schwarz

An effective agenda sets clear expectations for what needs to occur before and during a meeting. It helps team members prepare and allocate time wisely, quickly gets everyone focused on the same topic, and makes it clear when the discussion is complete. If problems occur during the meeting, a well-designed agenda promotes the team’s ability to address them right away.

Here are some tips for designing an effective agenda for your next meeting. You’ll find sample agendas and a blank template in appendix B. These suggestions will be helpful whether your meeting lasts one hour or three days or whether you’re meeting with a group of five people or forty.

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