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How to write a meeting agenda: a simple guide and template

3-minute read

Lauren Hellicar

11 August 2020

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Whatever business you’re in, it’s likely you’ll need to hold a meeting at some point in your working life. Creating a meeting agenda in advance is essential to having the best chance of achieving your aims for the meeting.

What is a meeting agenda?

A meeting agenda is a written communication that you send out before a meeting. Its purpose is to let people attending the meeting know what the meeting is about and what you aim to get out of it.

Your agenda may also include any reading or tasks that need to be completed before the meeting takes place.

These days email is the most likely meeting agenda format. However, for longer meetings or meetings with larger groups, you may want to print a copy for each attendee.

Why do you need a meeting agenda?

As a small business owner, you have enough to fill your time without wasting it on inefficient and ineffective meetings.

Meetings that take place without an agenda can tend to run into issues such as:

  • overrunning
  • not having a clear objective or outcome
  • wasting busy people’s time

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How to create a meeting agenda

There are a few simple rules to follow when writing your agenda. It doesn’t need to be complicated or include lots of detail – a clear outline of the points to be discussed and what needs to be achieved will be adequate.

You can use the following meeting agenda template as a guide, removing any sections you don’t feel are needed for your particular type of meeting.

Details

This section should include the time, date, location, any call/video conferencing details, required reading, and any materials attendees need to bring.

Attendees

This is simply a list of all those attending the meeting.

Old business

If this is a recurring meeting, the old business section should summarise your previous meeting. This is also the place to mark whether previous action points have been completed.

New business

This section is where you should list any new points you need to discuss.

Actions

To make sure your meeting is worth everyone’s time, it’s important to list out the tasks that need to be completed, their respective deadlines, and who is responsible for each item on the list.

Next steps

This is the place to list points that you didn’t get around to discussing in this meeting, and new ones to discuss once people have completed their actions.

During the meeting you can use your agenda to form the basis of your meeting minutes and any notes. Having a record of what was said and by whom helps if you need to revisit any points of discussion at a later date.

It’s important to appoint a chairperson, who’ll be responsible for running the meeting. You’ll also need a timekeeper – this may be (but doesn’t have to be) the same person as the chairperson. This will help make sure all points are covered with enough time and that the meeting doesn’t overrun.

Meeting agenda template and examples

If you’re in need of further inspiration, Asana features a collection of different meeting agenda examples on its site, from team meetings to one-to-one meetings.

You’ll also find a range of different business document templates on the Microsoft website.

Do you use a standard template for your business meeting agendas? Let us know in the comments section if you found this article helpful.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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