Ever really think about the agenda for a meeting? Often, agendas aren’t created with a lot of thought, they’re just a list of things that an association or consortium needs to cover in its meeting. But a properly structured agenda can be the difference between an effective meeting and one that drifts.
Here are three tips for setting better agendas:
1. Set the tone: Is this going to be a meeting where you want to get people talking? If so, have a topic that gets people engaged right off the bat. If you start off a meeting with 45 PowerPoint slides, expect that people will quickly shift to “listen only” mode (or worse, start doing their email on their laptops). Find a topic that gets people talking early on. I often like to start a meeting with an “Environmental Scan”—a look at what’s happening in the space.
2. Have objectives: Indicate on the agenda what your expectation is for each item. If it’s an item requiring a decision, indicate what the decision will be. If it’s purely informational, say so. Setting the objective for each part of the meeting helps you set—and meet—expectations.
3. Consent agendas: A “consent agenda” is a section of a meeting that allows a Board to approve a set of items—typically minutes and committee reports—without discussion. These are a great tool for eliminating administrative items that often take the first 20 minutes of a meeting.
If your association or consortium is struggling with waste-of-time meetings, an association management company should be able to guide you toward more productive gatherings with strategic agenda setting.