Time Management Expert, Event Speaker: Mark Lamendola

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Time Tips: Meetings Tip #2, Effective Agendas

One reason meetings are normally not very effective is their planning is defective. The cure for this is to put forth an effective agenda.

Every version of Microsoft Word since 6.0 has included an agenda template that allows you to assign actual clock minutes to each agenda item. This approach assumes that, if an item is important enough to put on the agenda in the first place, it's important enough to have its own time slot. This approach works only if you stick strictly to the schedule. If there's more subject than time in the actual meeting, simply table any leftover to an agenda item called "Tabled items."

Using dedicated time slots within the meeting confers many advantages. Among them:

  • You set expectations. Doing that is the key to achieving the desired outcome.
  • People understand that there is only so much time for each agenda item, so they are far less likely to beat a subject to death while the clock is ticking away on the remaining items.
  • You can actually address each item in the agenda, without needing to extend the meeting, give some items a rush treatment, or drop items that you put in the agenda for a reason.
  • The Chair doesn't need an "excuse" to cut off long-winded, pointless, time-wasting discussions. The agenda itself provides the reason. This eliminates the problem of needing to accommodate windbags without offending them.
  • The structure makes it easy for the Chair to take the required notes and the Secretary to take the Minutes. Simply copy the agenda into a new file, and type what's necessary as you go.
  • You will find that you accomplish more with less time used in each meeting.

Do you want to radically improve how well people in your organization make use of the limited number of hours in each work day?

Contact me to arrange a time when we can talk about a presentation: mark@mindconnection.com. Why arrange a time? So I can give you full attention during the call. There's a really powerful time management tip. Ask me why it works.