The Purpose Of Meeting Agenda: Productivity And Efficiency

Tired of unproductive team meetings? Discover common agenda mistakes that might be hampering your team's productivity.

December 20, 2023
Press the button to generate random icebreaker questions.
There are 300 more icebreaker questions at the bottom of the article
How would you describe your job to a five year old?
What season would you be?
What is a weird food you have tried? Would you eat it again?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
What is your favorite season?
Do prefer working from home or the office?
What is your earliest memory of this job?
What is the best thing you have bought so far this year?
What is the earliest book you remember?
If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
What was the last thing you ate?
What person from history would you add to Mount Rushmore?
What is a weird fact you know?
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Which fictional team is the best team of all time?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you usually eat for a quick lunch?
What simple food will you never eat?
Show us the weirdest thing you have in the room with you right now.
Would you rather stay at a hotel or an AirBNB?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
Who was your most unique pet?
Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
Is Hugh Grant funny?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Would you want to have an imaginary friend today? Did you have one as a child?
What actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life?
What is the best super power?
What is your New Years resolution?
You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
What is the best work holiday?
What is the first gift you remember receiving?
Would you rather join Metallica or Backstreet Boys?
What is the best example of a community you have seen?
What is an easy way to do something nice for someone?
Show us your phone background and tell the story behind why you picked this image.
What was your first job?
Pick any band to play at your funeral.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Which superpower would you give to your arch enemy?
What is the most obscure superpower you would want?
What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
If you could live in any country, which country would you pick?
Would you rather live in a city or a town?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is something you accomplished as part of a team?
What is your standard office lunch?
What is your most used phone app?
What is your favorite season?
Have you ever won something as a team?
Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
Beach holiday or ski trip?
Have you ever been to a funny comedy show?
Would you rather live at the North Pole or the South Pole?
What is your favorite song to sing?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Imagine you could teleport anywhere. Where would you go right now?
What is the most unusual job you have heard of?
What was the last thing you ate?
You can visit any fictional time or place. Which would you pick?
What do your family and friends think you do all day?
What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
Show us your most-used emoji.
What was the most unique style or fashion trend you ever embraced?
What movie defined your generation?
You are stranded on a remote desert island. Are you alone or with your worst enemy?
What is your favorite knock-knock joke?
Have you ever told someone Santa is not real?
Do you know how to speak more than one language?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much of a team player are you?
What is your #1 recommendation in this city?
What is your favorite holiday?
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
What is your favorite mythical creature?
What was the first way you made money?
If you could be great at any Olympic sport, which would it be?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
When did you start liking/hating mushrooms?
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Do you take your PTO all at one time, or another way?
Which show do you remember most from your childhood?
Which beverage goes best with pizza?
Would you want to have a personal assistant follow you around everywhere and do what you asked of them?
Have you ever met your idol?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
What is your hobby?
When you are alone in the car, what volume is the music at?
Imagine you no longer have to work. How would you spend a Tuesday?
What is your favorite type of sandwich?

Team meetings are an integral part of every organization’s workflow. While they provide an avenue for efficient information dissemination and decision-making, meeting agendas act as directors running the show behind the scenes. They are the blueprint that shapes the discussions, sets priorities, and propels productivity.  

Unproductive team meetings often occur due to ambiguous agenda items, redundant talking points, poor time allocation, and lack of employee input in the meeting planning process.

Without a proper and inclusive team meeting agenda, there’s the risk of staff meetings being unnecessarily long and not as effective. A properly structured meeting plan helps avoid this by steering the course of staff briefings towards productive outcomes, guaranteeing that meeting participants follow the talking points throughout the meeting.

In this article, we’ll examine the critical role that meeting agendas play in ensuring efficient and effective meetings. We’ll also highlight well-proven tips for creating effective staff meeting agendas. 

Before these specifics, let’s explore meeting agendas.

What Is A Meeting Agenda?

A meeting agenda is a structured meeting plan containing information on specific meeting modalities, including date, time, discussion topics, and corresponding time allocations. It could also include information on the documents that should be available at the meeting.

It’s good practice for meeting agendas to be prepared beforehand and shared with employees before the proposed meeting date. This ensures employees come into weekly check-ins prepared and ready to engage in constructive conversations. 

According to a recent study, employees spend an average of 31 hours on unproductive meetings monthly. So, through the structure of meeting agendas in company meetings, teams can prevent time wastage and preserve attentiveness during meetings. 

A well-drafted business meeting agenda is highly beneficial to the productivity drive of an organization and specifies the meeting's purpose. The more detailed it is, the better its ability to guarantee meeting effectiveness. Essentially, a properly structured meeting agenda contains the following essential components;

  1. Meeting objectives
  2. Discussion topics with their respective time allotments
  3. A section on challenges and obstacles
  4. Time slots for questions and answers
  5. Closing statement
  1. Meeting objectives

This is central to the creation of team meeting agendas. Every meeting must have a goal it intends to achieve, and the lead needs to state this in the agenda. Doing so gives meeting participants a good picture of what to expect, enabling them to prepare accordingly. 

In general terms, the goals of a meeting are defined by what the meeting intends to achieve, expected meeting outcomes, and proposed action plans following the meeting's conclusion. 

Additionally, it’s good practice to use a meeting agenda template to effectively navigate the process of creating a meeting plan. Here’s a meeting agenda sample by Assembly you can use.

  1. Discussion topics with respective time allotments

A meeting agenda must also feature the topics of conversation along with the time slots for each point of discourse. This gives employees a good idea of how long the meeting will last.

In meeting topics, you can detail recent company developments, new hirings, new projects, and upcoming business events. 

Also, make time within the agenda for employees to give progress reports on tasks and projects, particularly those with almost-due deadlines. 

Here’s a detailed template by Assembly on how to structure this meeting section effectively.  

  1. A section on challenges and obstacles

Company meetings aren’t complete without solving problems. If they fail to address lingering productivity issues, they’re simply time-wasting activities. Hence, this section is a crucial sales meeting agenda item.

It allows employees to highlight hurdles encountered during project execution and while carrying out tasks. This section provides a prime opportunity for employees to rub minds together on practical ways to solve these obstacles. 

  1. Time slots for questions and answers

There will always be areas of workflow that employees might need further clarification on, so don’t deny employees the perfect opportunity to obtain their desired answers.

Hence, include a question and answer session in the meeting agenda. Moreover, a question and answer session ensures important areas of discourse are covered during the meeting, just in case you left them out while creating the agenda.

  1. Closing statement

After deliberations, there should be a closing segment where managers can review all the discussions and offer encouragement to employees. In this segment, special commendations and recognitions can be presented to deserving employees. 

What Is The Purpose Of Meeting Agendas?

A board meeting agenda principally functions to provide organization to meetings. It introduces a sequential flow into the conduct of meetings. Moreover, a meeting agenda adequately gets employees set for the meeting. 

Essentially, a robust and comprehensive staff meeting agenda serves the following purposes:

  1. Time-management.
  2. Accountability.
  3. Engagement and participation.
  1. Time-management

Time is money. That’s why unproductive meetings cost an organization time and value

By having specific time durations for every aspect of a staff meeting, an agenda ensures meetings run within a specified timeframe without losing the essence of the meeting. Also, the time-management features of meeting agendas spur employees’ interest and participation. 

  1. Accountability

Assigning tasks without proper follow-up is counterproductive. It either ends up not being done or partially carried out.  A meeting agenda can help teams leverage routine company meetings as accountability sessions. 

This can be achieved by including employee progress reports as part of the meeting agenda items, allowing them to oblige for their actions. It also ensures other team members stay updated on any headway made in assigned projects.

Since it’s usual to have an action plan drawn up following staff meetings, having employees provide situation reports on delegated responsibilities ensures that all essential resolutions reached in a meeting have clear next steps.

Moreover, since employees know they’ll always need to give timely reports, they will be more inclined to carry out their duties promptly, conclusively, and effectively.

  1. Engagement and participation

When turnout is low, and participants’ contributions are non-inspiring, a meeting achieves little.

Engagement and participation are key determinants of a meeting's success. This stems from the fact that for a meeting to be effective, communication in a meeting should always be bidirectional. And, a well-crafted meeting agenda serves the purpose of ensuring maximal employee engagement and participation in meetings.

Ideally, proper communication, including giving employees sufficient heads-up before a meeting, gives them a clear picture, allowing them to naturally work towards showing up prepared. 

How Do You Create An Effective Meeting Agenda?

If you’ve read up till this point, you’ll agree that creating an agenda is crucial to planning a meeting, and the meeting agenda is a vital determinant of meeting outcomes.

So, how do you create a practical meeting agenda?

Here are well-proven tips for creating effective meeting agendas. They include:

  1. Establish a clear meeting goal
  2. Have employees contribute their input to the meeting agenda
  3. Present agenda items in an organized format
  4. Have a participant list and assign responsibilities
  5. Leverage artificial intelligence (AI)

  1. Establish a clear meeting goal.

A clear meeting goal is necessary to help inform the agenda's discussion topics and action items. It also forms the basis of what each action item intends to achieve, whether to obtain information, seek employees’ opinions, or make decisions. 

Also, a well-defined meeting objective serves as a yardstick to assess the success of a meeting. It is safe to conclude that a meeting is productive if its objectives are achieved, and all conversations are centered around the meeting agenda.

  1. Have employees contribute their input to the meeting agenda.

This is a way of getting employees involved in the planning process. It signals to an organization’s workforce how significant they are in fulfilling company objectives. It’s also a means of addressing the possibility of employees’ non-participation and engagement. 

Hence, providing employees with the agenda days before the proposed meeting date enables them to adequately preview the agenda and make any necessary inputs that can help make it more effective. 

To make it more seamless, use a meeting agenda like Assembly. Assembly allows managers to work collaboratively with employees to craft real-time meeting agendas. Try it Today.

  1. Present agenda items in a well-organized format

The principles of effective agenda format entail that all agenda items are specific, unambiguous, and presented in order of priority. This implies that you introduce each item using action verbs. For instance, instead of saying ‘Brand identity, ' use the term ‘Discuss brand identity. ' This adds more clarity.

It also entails that agenda items involving information dissemination should occupy top positions on the list and should be immediately followed by pressing issues to allocate more discussion time. This guarantees that going into deliberations, employees have all the necessary information.

Additionally, a good agenda format involves listing discussion topics as questions. This method perfectly sets the stage for brainstorming, encouraging employees to think critically.

  1. Have a participant list and assign responsibilities.

Though a well-thought-out meeting objective is essential, its success hinges on having the proper people present to address issues. 

It’s not just about having everyone in the meeting but ensuring key stakeholders are present to discuss matters arising and contribute their relevant insights. 

Deciding on smaller meeting groups is an economically wise choice as they boast higher engagement, resulting in faster decision-making. 

Similarly, to ensure full participation, assign specific duties or action items to attendees and inform them beforehand to be well-prepared. This approach guarantees a hitch-free meeting. 

  1. Leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI has come to stay. Since its inception, it’s been revolutionizing daily work operations. One of its notable applications is the creation of meeting agendas.

Leveraging AI to create meeting plans is seamless. For most of them, you can input the meeting objectives, and the tool automatically generates a comprehensive list of discussion topics and action items congruent with these objectives.

These tools ensure that all the necessary items to fulfill the purpose of a meeting are captured within its agenda.

A great place to begin is with the Assembly Meeting Agenda Template. 

What Are Common Mistakes To Avoid With Meeting Agendas?

Poorly prepared meeting agendas lead to time wastage and dissatisfaction for employees and team managers. 

It’s important to avoid these common mistakes when drafting a meeting agenda. They include:

  • Including too many or too few agenda items
  • No clear agenda format
  • No clear roles or responsibilities
  • No feedback or evaluations
  • Absence of icebreakers
  • Including too many or too few agenda items

Finding a balance is always key. When there are too many agenda items, the meeting becomes exhausting and unfocused. There’s also the risk of hastily addressing each item to save time. Similarly, fewer agenda items result in shorter, more often vague meetings.

A balanced approach will prioritize the most pressing issues and allocate sufficient time for discussion. Within the agenda, a section where employees can bring up issues unrelated to the meeting objectives is important. All discussion topics relating to the meeting objectives should be addressed within the proposed meeting time frame. 

  • No clear agenda format

A structureless meeting agenda is a precipitant for adverse outcomes. When a meeting agenda has a clear format, the meeting needs more fluidity and coherence. 

Without a clear agenda format, participants are at a loss on how events in a meeting will unfold, how the meeting will transition from one discussion to the other, and the meeting resolutions. To avoid this, you should apply a standard meeting agenda format when creating one.

  • No clear roles and responsibilities

It’s not proper for employees to be randomly asked to take up specific roles during a meeting without prior heads-up. 

Therefore, it’s not enough to draw up an agenda. More importantly, delegate these tasks to capable employees and do a proper follow-up to complete them in due time.

  • No feedback or evaluation 

Feedback is key to improving the conduct and outcomes of meetings. It should be part of the meeting agenda. All meeting plans should have a section for requesting or offering feedback or assessment. 

When this section is present in a meeting, participants will be aware of how resourceful the meeting was, the efficiency of the agenda format used, and what aspects should be improved.

To ensure feedback obtained is insightful, clear, and candid, Assembly enables employees to turn in feedback anonymously. Try it Today.

  • Absence of icebreakers

Meetings are still meetings, and a little fun to ease people into it won’t hurt. 

Icebreakers help to introduce some sense of humor and cordiality into staff meetings. They are also a great way of helping employees build good working relationships and feel more connected to the organization.

So, for your next team meeting, ensure you introduce icebreakers into the agenda. And, if it’s going to be a long one, include time slots for water breaks.

Frequently Asked Questions About Meeting Agendas 

Before concluding this article, addressing some lingering ambiguities regarding meeting agendas is important. Of course, the list is exhaustive, but we’ll tackle the three most commonly asked questions.

They include:

  1. What should not be included in a meeting agenda?

When creating a meeting agenda, leave out unnecessary, overly detailed information. Such as: 

  • Unofficial talking points: This includes personal conversations and leisure discussions
  • Topics without precise aims, eg: general company updates
  • Topics that are non-pertinent to participants, eg: high-level financial reports
  • Time frames either too small result in rushed deliberations or too long, leading to prolonged ineffective conversations.
  • Issues that have been fully addressed and resolved in previous meetings, except there’s a new development
  1. What are the 4 Ps of a meeting agenda?

These essential elements of a meeting agenda constitute a working checklist for you when creating a meeting plan. They include:

  • Purpose: There must be a goal that a meeting aims to achieve.
  • Preparation: A strategically devised plan conclusively reflects the established meeting objectives and serves as a foundational basis for the agenda creation.
  • Participation: Curate a list of meeting attendees whose presence is crucial to realizing this aim. You can get participants involved by delegating action items to key stakeholders.
  • Process: As part of meeting preparation, you should have a protocol for how each aspect of a meeting will take shape. This includes determining the specific method that addresses a particular agenda item and allocating proper time frames. 
  1. Why is an agenda important in a business meeting?

Agendas are a pivotal aspect of management meetings. It is vital to get attendees well prepared and ensure they focus and make productive deliberations. 

It also streamlines decision-making because it helps outline topics requiring resolutions, ensuring they’re addressed promptly. Additionally, delegated responsibilities help to introduce accountability to business meetings and foster teamwork.

Using Meeting Agendas To Ensure Efficient And Effective Meetings

A business meeting agenda is the panacea to time-consuming and unproductive meetings. It introduces the much-needed structure and flow to check-ins, ensuring constructive discussions and well-informed decisions are made.

The organized array of talking points, corresponding time slots, and relevant action items is a meeting agenda's characteristic features - the vital elements required to make a staff meeting more efficient, productive, and enjoyable for all participants.

Similarly, the ability of AI tools to automate all aspects of workflow, including the generation of meeting agendas, has helped to infuse much clarity and directional prowess into meeting agendas, cementing their status as a necessary prerequisite for efficient meetings.

One unique AI-powered meeting agenda tool is Assembly. Assembly enables teams to work in tandem to create a shared meeting agenda, edit concurrently, keep records of resolutions, and hold one another accountable.

Book a free demo to begin enjoying the dividends of productive team meetings.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide
Employee recognition guide