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Agendas - The Key to Successful Meetings

Aug 17, 2007
For meetings to consistently deliver the required performance and hence outputs, it is critical to have a prepared communication process in advance of the meeting.

This enables participants to be aware and where appropriate prepare for the meeting in advance.

It also allows for them to circulate any preparatory information and pre-reading before the meeting to minimise any information-giving during valuable meeting time.

This time when all participants are together must be devoted to the interchange that can only happen when people are together.

The agenda format may vary, but it will need to have some components which are common, as follows:-

* Location and time and who
* Preparation required
* Review of previous agreed actions
* Objectives
* Items to be discussed
* Next meeting location and time
* Review of meeting

By having this structure, it becomes possible for the right people to attend and to:-

* Focus completely on outcome and purpose
* Be prepared
* Develop meeting skills

Exercise

1. Review meetings you hold, however informal, without agendas.

- How focused are they?

- How sidetracked do they become?

- What do you notice about behaviours of people who attend?

- Describe how you feel at the end of three different meetings this week - some with and some without an agenda.

2. Plan one meeting this week for which you would normally not have an agenda using the agenda detail provided in the workshop.

3. Discuss the benefits and concerns about using an agenda

- What is better about having an agenda?

- What might be negatives about using an agenda?

- How might you 'sell' these in a positive way?

Meetings are hugely valuable contribution ot business life, as long as they work well. Preparing people in advance is 'one giant step for meetings, one giant step for value-creating interactions of like minded people'.
About the Author
©2006 Martin Haworth is a Management Coach. He has hundreds more at his website, Coaching Businesses to Success.
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