The 7 Benefits of an Effective Meeting Agenda

Check out the ten benefits of having a solid agenda for your meetings.

September 20, 2022
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Have you ever attended a meeting without structure? Or sat in a 15-minute meeting that lasted for two hours? Can you remember how tedious and unproductive it was?

A survey of about 182 senior managers in various industries showed interesting statistics. 65% said meetings keep them from completing their work, and 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 

One way to prevent or reduce these statistics? Meeting agendas.

A meeting agenda template creates structure and consistency for your meetings, allowing them to run smoothly and more efficiently.

In our fast-paced business world, most managers don't know enough about an effective agenda's importance. Meetings don't always have to be tedious. Instead, they should be a way for your team or company to further the causes of reaching goals and helping each other get work done.

A precise meeting agenda is key to a productive meeting. And that is what this article aims to outline.

This article will explore why agendas are essential and how they can help your meetings be more efficient and valuable.

Assembly is focused on providing the best workflows to improve efficiency in your meetings. Book a demo today to find your team's best agenda template options. 

What is in a meeting agenda?

Effective meeting agendas are an invaluable tool in your planning arsenal that can make or break the success of your session.

While meeting agendas may vary based on the objective of the meeting, a typical agenda should be specific and detailed. It should have relevant information to guide the participants through the session.

The items to add to a meeting agenda to make it more effective include:

  • The date, time, and location of the meeting;
  • The meeting purpose/ objectives (why are we having the meeting and what do you hope to accomplish)
  • The name(s) of the organizer(s) or team;
  • A list of expected attendees (including any guest speakers);
  • Activities planned with allocated time;
  • Any specific instructions or directions for each activity;
  • Action plans or next steps (what do we need to complete to make the meeting successful).

It's important to note that an agenda for a meeting is not the same as the minutes of the previous meeting. Instead, it lists all the details of the upcoming meeting - who will attend, what issues will be discussed and what decisions need to be made.

The agenda items ensure everyone is on the same page, with nothing left out. It sets the day's tone and structure, helping everyone stay focused on the key issues. It also helps facilitate better decisions by providing an open forum for discussion.

What is an example of an agenda item?

A meeting agenda item is an individual task, activity, or project that needs to be discussed during a meeting. Agenda items are usually written/numbered sequentially so they can be referred to quickly during the meeting. 

For example, "Discussion of new product" could be Agenda Item 3.

Agenda items differ based on the meeting needs, e.g., Items in a daily/weekly agenda template may vary from a monthly meeting template. 

Here’s a simple meeting agenda sample with items (boldened) to give you an idea of how to design your meeting agenda.

Meeting Type – New feature launch strategy meeting

Team – Content Marketing Team

Date: 23/09/2022

Time: 10:00 am – 10:45 am

Participants: @SpongeBob, @Patrick, @Mr.Krabs, @Squidward

Objective: Develop content ideas to promote a new feature 

Agenda

  1. Icebreaker
  2. Review new feature document (10 min)
  3. Present campaign ideas (20 min, @Name(s))
  4. Share suggestions and choose campaign(s) (20 min)

Action items/Next Steps

  1. Create a timeline for design deliverables – @SpongeBob
  2. Share content calendar draft for pre-launch, launch, and post-launch – @Patrick
  3. Schedule a second meeting to finalize the campaign and content – @Mr.Krabs

How do you plan an agenda for a meeting?

An agenda template will help you run a successful meeting with minimal distractions and maximum productivity.

Agenda templates also significantly increase efficiency, allowing you to automate your meeting agenda

Whether you have a short meeting or one that lasts a full day, these steps can help you plan and design an agenda for meeting:

1. Establish the meeting type

Establishing the type of meeting sets the structure of the agenda, the participants, and the general tone of the meeting. 

It allows the meeting facilitator to focus on building out what is essential. E.g.: A brainstorming meeting is different from a strategy meeting, and while they may overlap, their objectives vary and would have different action points.

2. Outline what you want to accomplish

To determine the purpose of the meeting, you can answer questions such as: What do you want to happen at this meeting? What are you trying to accomplish? How will this meeting move your project forward?

Identify the participants and determine what needs to be discussed. If possible, break down complex tasks into smaller ones that team members can complete in one sitting or over several meetings. That way, you can move through each item more quickly and efficiently.

3. Define action items and allocate timelines

After determining what needs to be accomplished during the meeting, it’s important to consider the action items that highlight the next steps. Outlining action items without allocating them to people with timelines gives room for slacking. 

So, it’s vital to set a deadline for completing tasks so that everyone knows when they'll need to report on their progress. This will help keep things moving reasonably without confusion or undue pressure. 

4. Address any potential roadblocks upfront

It’s pertinent to the success of the meeting to address possible concerns beforehand by sharing relevant documents and communicating clearly about what needs to happen next (and when). 

While you cannot anticipate all the issues, it’s better to plan to have some roadblocks by allocating extra time for ‘surprises’ or concerns. 

5. End each meeting with a review and input from team members 

Allocating time for a review or recap helps keep the basics of each meeting top of mind for everyone. 

It also helps participants better understand the decisions made and what information they need to take any necessary steps after the meeting. During this review, you consider highlighting what went well during the meeting and what needs improvement. You can ensure that your next meeting is even more effective by taking some time to discuss these questions.

Read: How to Set Up Assembly’s Daily Agenda in 5 Easy Steps

Why is a meeting agenda important?

Meetings are a part of every company’s life. In fact, with the onset of covid, most people say they spend more time in meetings than at their desks. If you’re like them and have to attend a meeting every single day at work, then you know how important it is to make sure that each meeting is valuable and productive.

A meeting agenda is a tool that helps organize the session and make it more effective. It’s an overview of the meeting discussion and what tasks need to be done after the session.

Top 7 reasons why a meeting agenda is important:

  1. It gives attendees time to prepare

A well-crafted agenda not only gives attendees time to prepare, but also encourages them to do so. If they know they need to bring something specific to the meeting, they will gather the necessary information beforehand or discuss the topic with others attending.

  1. Provides structure to your thoughts

It helps guide your thoughts to avoid unnecessary distractions or tangents that can derail a productive meeting if left unchecked.

Participants also need to know their time allocation for each item and when the next item is scheduled to begin. If items change, they can be added or removed from the agenda without disrupting other items that are still being discussed.

  1. Builds trust

A clear agenda shows your team that you have a plan for their time together, which builds trust. It also shows that you respect them enough to outline the items for the meeting. And you’ve considered what will be discussed, including their questions and concerns.

  1. Increases Efficiency

Another benefit of having a standard meeting agenda is improved efficiency because it allows you to plan your time accordingly and focus on what’s most important. This means you can allocate enough time for each speaker and ensure no one dominates the conversation. 

Agenda templates are also a great way to increase efficiency while planning, as they allow you to automate your meeting agendas and use your time more effectively.

  1. Professionalism

A meeting agenda creates a sense of orderliness and professionalism and improves communication at both small and large meetings. 

Asides from showing the team how organized you are, it keeps minutes for future reference, including action items and follow-up tasks that need to be completed after the meeting ends.

  1. Equal Participation

A good manager is skilled at creating an environment where everybody feels that their contribution is valued. 

The meeting agenda enables this to happen when you outline objectives and participants. You can ensure that everyone who needs to be involved is included in discussions about that project. So that they can share ideas and input before you decide whether or not they need to help out or how much they should be involved.

  1. Increased Accountability

Assigning action items and responsibilities from the meeting agenda increases personal accountability because the team can review the tasks in the next meeting. 

An effective agenda also ensures that everyone sticks to the subject at hand, increasing all attendees' accountability.

The Best Way To Begin is To Start Small

One last benefit of having an effective meeting agenda is that it helps you inspire more productivity because it details what needs to be accomplished at the end of any given meeting.

While it may seem daunting to begin, the best way to do this is to start small, with a regular team or company meeting. Adopt this system and commit to using it consistently; it won't be long before you are reaping its rewards regularly.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

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