Jim Rose
EQ Consulting Services
611 Bear Den Road
Townsend, TN  37882


Do your meetings have an effective agenda?



It is almost impossible to have an efficient meeting without a good agenda that is also followed appropriately.  I say appropriately as sometime it will be appropriate to deviate from the agenda.  However, if frequent deviation typically takes place I would offer that the group does not have good agendas.  The following are some guidelines that could be useful.

Development process

It is best for all participants to have input regarding topics on the agenda.  After soliciting input the leader makes the final decision and distributes the agenda to all participants prior to the meeting.


Attached is a template that could be used.  I feel it works best to have a standard format and one that works best for the group.


Generally it works best to have the most important topics at the top so in case you are not able to cover all topics at lease the most important topics will be discussed.  How much time the topics will take and how much time is available for the meeting will determine the number of topics that can be on the agenda.  It is important to allow enough time for the topics.

Desired Outcome

The topic is usually only a couple of words so that attendees have a general idea regarding the subject.  The desired outcome makes it really clear what is to be accomplished.  An example clarifying the difference could be as follows.  An agenda topic could be “office changes”.  This could be used when decisions have been made and the decision is being shared.  However, it could mean that changes need to be made and your input is needed.  These are very different and participants should know that prior to the meeting.  This clarity sould be made clear using the desired outcome.


Place here the best estimate regarding the time needed for the topic.  This does not mean that discussion must stop at the end of the time allotted.  However, it does mean that if more time is allotted then time will need to be removed from part or all of the following topics.  The leader should be the one to facilitate making the decision regarding time management.


This is the person that will make a presentation or facilitate a discussion for that particular topic.  The team leader is typically not the most appropriate person for most topics. This would take their focus away from their primary role which is to lead/facilitate the meeting.

Standard topics

Typically it is best at the start of the meeting to take a couple of minutes to review the agenda to ensure that it contains the most appropriate topics.  The reason is that since the agenda was distributed other important topics might have surfaced and should be considered.  However, this means that some topic might need to be eliminated to make room for it.  At the end of the meeting some time should be spent planning the next meeting including identification of potential topics.

I suggest trying some of these suggestions and see if they help.