Ok, you have decided that a meeting is needed. To get the most out of your meeting, the first step is to create a meeting agenda and share it in advance with everyone. If you have determined a meeting is needed, then it is worth planning ahead. Why?
As we noted in the previous blog, each meeting should have a purpose. Primarily to exchange information for the purpose of making a decision or problem solving. Include the purpose of the meeting in the agenda. It should not be a secret.
The agenda format we are suggesting may be unlike others you have seen. Most agendas have a list of broad topics. A working agenda includes questions, information required, and who is responsible for each. Again, every meeting should have a purpose. Following is a sample meeting agenda following this format. Read it and you should have a good idea what the meeting is for, and who is responsible for what information items.
In this example, you are Bill, the Services Manager. The participants are ones that increased their requests for rush mail orders to the mailroom over the past several months. NOTICE: At the end of the meeting you will provide a recap of decisions made and the solution(s) identified.
Meeting Agenda: Mailroom Rush Orders
Time: 9:00am Location: Board Room
Participants: Bill, Services Manager; John, Mail Services; Betty, Accounting; Amy, Sales; Winifred, Client Relations
Preparation: Review your existing mail service needs specific to rush mail requests. Historical data that can be shared in advance will be useful.
Topic Information Who? Time
Mailroom is being How many are received John 15 mins
overloaded with rush on average?
Why is there in an increase? Winifred, Betty
Purpose: How can we Opportunities for Bill, Winifred, Betty 30 mins
reduce the number of rush reducing rush requests. & Amy
requests, Or increase
capability to handle them? And/Or; Is there John
a better way to handle
rush mailing requests?
Decisions, next steps Bill 10 mins
Review of decisions made
and solutions identified
When you start the meeting, quickly review the agenda, make sure to state the purpose of the meeting. This is your opportunity to share what outcomes you expect. Using the sample agenda, you expected outcome is to solve the mailroom problems with rush mail order requests.
Also, consider identifying a few key people to help keep the meeting on task. People that are participating can serve in these capacities:
Productive meetings will always end with solutions, or if there is not enough information available, a list of next steps that will lead to second meeting agenda. Spending time in creating an agenda will ensure your meetings are needed, and meet the purpose you set for the meeting. Participants are prepared when the meeting starts so you can gain the most use of everyone’s time.
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