4 mins
Posted on
July 13, 2023

Cookie-Cutter Agenda Templates Don't Work. Transform the Way You Prep Agendas to Transform the Way You Run Meetings.

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that the only thing worse than no agenda is a cookie-cutter agenda template that’s as stale as those crackers under the front passenger seat. It's time to break free from the monotony and inject some life into your meetings. Get ready to say goodbye to the "meh" and embrace the "whoa" with a more dynamic agenda that will transform your meetings and maximize engagement.

Write down a precise, actionable objective that you can all agree was met by the end of the meeting

Meetings without a clear objective are like movies without a plot. Sure, they might have some pretty visuals, but they lack direction and purpose. To kick things off on the right foot, start by crafting a simple, precise, and actionable objective that everyone can rally behind. Avoid vague statements like "Discuss project updates." Instead, go for something like "Reach a decision on the new project timeline to ensure timely delivery."

The key here is to be specific and measurable. Make sure everyone understands what success looks like by the end of the meeting. When you have a clearly defined objective, it becomes easier to keep the discussion focused and avoid wandering off into tangents that waste everyone's time. Plus, it sets the stage for a satisfying "mission accomplished" moment when you achieve your goal.

Don’t just write down topics you want to talk about - frame them as questions to initiate instant engagement

Now that you have a killer objective in place, it's time to move on to the topics you'll be tackling during the meeting. But hold on, we're not going to list them out like boring bullet points. Instead, let's spice things up by framing these topics as questions. Questions are like magic spells that instantly ignite engagement and participation from your team.

Think of three to four topic questions that are simple and straightforward. These questions should guide the discussion and lead to a clear outcome. For example, instead of writing "Budget spend discussion," try "How can we optimize our budget allocation to maximize ROI?" By framing it as a question, you're inviting your team to actively contribute their thoughts and ideas. It transforms a mundane discussion into an opportunity for collaborative problem-solving.

Keep these question topics time-bound and leave time for a final recap. This will ensure that you hit your killer objective by going through all your topics in the right amount of time. This also ensures that your meetings aren’t shorter or longer than they need to be. 

Increase engagement without wasting time. Who doesn’t love that?

You have a beautiful voice, but it’s not the only thing people want to hear - sorry! Assign your question topics to other topic owners

Here's a secret to keeping your team engaged and motivated: share the spotlight. As the meeting organizer, it's easy to fall into the trap of dominating the conversation. But remember, no one wants to be subjected to a monologue. Studies have shown that meeting attendees’ attention quickly drops off during single-person led meetings. Don’t let that happen to you! To truly transform your meetings, assign a topic owner for each question/topic you've carefully crafted.

Empower the topic owner to take responsibility for reviewing and commenting on the topic questions ahead of time, coming prepared with insights, and leading the discussion during the meeting. By giving someone ownership over a topic, you empower them to take the reins and drive the conversation forward. It not only fosters a sense of ownership and accountability but also distributes the speaking time among team members, ensuring diverse perspectives are heard. And hey, it’s likely you’re capturing meeting notes, so it also gives you time to write more comprehensive meeting notes so nothing is lost.

Moreover, let the topic owner go the extra mile by assigning the action item(s) for that topic. When someone is in charge of the discussion, they can also take charge of the next steps. This streamlines the process and ensures that action items are properly assigned, reducing the likelihood of tasks falling through the cracks. This also changes the way the dynamic of follow ups work. Instead of you instructing someone to do work, they are essentially instructing themselves or someone they know more closely. 

Dynamic agendas with topic questions will transform your meetings from “Meh” to “Whoa!” 

Congratulations! You've just unlocked the secret to holding engaging, productive meetings. By transforming your cookie-cutter agenda into a dynamic and engaging roadmap, you set the stage for success. Remember to define a clear objective, frame topics as questions, assign topic owners, and let the meeting magic unfold.

So, the next time you're faced with a meeting that makes you want to crawl under your desk, take charge, and unleash the power of dynamic agendas. Your team will thank you and you'll be one step closer to meeting greatness. Go forth, my friends, and transform the way you write agendas to transform the way you run meetings. 

Just, you know, maybe give Meetrics some credit for helping you out on this journey. Some. Not all, obviously.

Stop wasting your time on meeting templates. Use AI.

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