As consultants we have been in and observed more meetings than we can probably count and can say without hesitation that the best meetings always, always have a good agenda.
The businessperson’s relationship with agenda’s has not been consistent over the years. In the 90’s, many agenda’s went overboard and became dictatorial – they were rigid, tedious and drained all life or spontaneity from meetings. They were born of a zealous need to use those new computer programs to organize meetings to the last breath. Thankfully, most organizations have abandoned those agendas, but too many left a void in their wake.
An agenda when executed thoughtfully is like a good recipe: it pulls together diverse ingredients – in just the right proportions – to create a unique and desired result and leaves everyone asking for more.
What goes into a good agenda? How long should it be? Do you have to take notes? We’ve heard many questions about agenda’s and have come to the realization that there is one lone criterion required before putting an item on an agenda; it should something that you want to accomplish in the meeting.
Yes, it does appear that we are stating the obvious and yet you would be surprised at the number of people who put stuff onto an agenda to fill it up – as if it is a reflection of the importance of the group. RESIST the URGE to fill up an agenda. If you only have 2 things to do, then do those 2 things and adjourn the meeting.