There are good meetings and there are bad meetings. Bad meetings go on forever, you never seem to get to the point, and you are left wondering why you were even present. Effective ones leave you energized and give you a feeling that you've really accomplished something.

This post is #1 in a series I am writing on “Tips for successful facilitated meetings”, brought to you by Rate My Meeting. An agenda can be a list, a plan or outline of things to be done and discussed in a  formal meeting. Agendas are an excellent way to outline and highlight your priorities. In this post, I have compiled 5 key benefits of having a clear agenda which helps you stay on top of your priorities during the meeting.

We at Rate My Meeting use a "Facilitation" theme to measure your skills for successful meetings via online tools like Zoom, Skype and teleconferencing. I am going to write a series of blog posts on how you can manage your meetings effectively and help your team to achieve its goal​. Let’s discuss the first element under this theme: There was a clear agenda​.

Why is a clear agenda important for your meeting ?

A meeting with a vague purpose often leads to confusion and a lot of wasted time. To make things easy for everyone, prepare a formal agenda with all the key issues to be discussed in the meeting and sort them according to your business needs. You can also mention clearly what role you expect from each participant in the meeting. Send this agenda at least 24 hours before the meeting to ensure everyone gets enough time to prepare for the meeting.

5 key benefits of having a clear meeting agenda
Photo by Headway / Unsplash

Let’s have a look at the 5 key benefits of having a clear meeting agenda​:

1) Agenda helps everyone come to the meeting on the same page

Agenda will help everyone come to the meeting on the same page and keep participants focused in the meeting. A good agenda helps in informing the participants what they need to prepare for before the meeting and conveys the role they are expected to perform in the meeting.

2) During the meeting, the agenda keeps discussions on-topic and on-time

The presence of agenda in your team meeting prevents participants to stray off- topic by minimizing distractions. It helps in focusing on the project at hand. Using an agenda ensures that minimum time is consumed in the meeting. Thus, increasing the output of the meeting.

3) The agenda helps in achieving objectives by driving effective action

The agenda of a meeting shapes the team discussion in such a way that the focus is always maintained on meeting deadlines and fulfilling objectives. Using an agenda increases the efficiency and productivity of employees in meetings

4) Satisfies participants that a sensible process has been followed

You need to circulate agenda to the participants of your meeting and get their feedback and input. The participants feel a sense of satisfaction as they feel part of your team and strive towards achieving the common goal.

5) The agenda acts as a reference

The agenda also provides a brief-recap of the team meeting which one can refer to anytime for future use. It is also useful in retaining the documents and assignments for future references.

Every successful remote meeting starts with a clear agenda. Rate My Meeting helps its clients in keeping meetings structured to boost productivity. Rate My Meeting collects honest and open feedback from all the participants right after the meeting and generates insights to see how well you did and where you can improve in upcoming meetings.

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