How To Craft Action-Oriented Meeting Agendas

The best way to set a meeting agenda is to explain every goal of the meeting as an action.

The Meetingnotes Team
February 28, 2020

The best agenda topics are more than just a procedural list. They explain the goal of that part of the meeting as an action. Compare the following:

Team Meeting Agenda:

  • Metrics review
  • Updates
  • Hiring discussion

Now imagine the agenda looked more like this:

  • Review KPIs (Goal vs. Actual)
  • Update roundtable — What’s new top in your top ~3 priorities?
  • Should we hire another marketer this quarter? Decide on seniority and skillset

With just a few words, we have a much more compelling (and useful) meeting agenda — one where everyone will show up knowing exactly what is expected.


So let's take a look at an example agenda. This is a team meeting agenda. The agenda is metrics, review, updates, hiring discussion.

Do you want to go to that meeting? I don't want to go to that meeting. Hey guys.

So today we're talking about crafting action-oriented agendas to guide your meeting to success.

A lot of meetings suffer from this problem where the agenda is the driest and most useless version of an agenda that you could possibly put together with a minimal amount of words to convey categorically what we're going to talk about.

Now, let's look at a different version of that same agenda.

Review KPIs, goal versus actual. Okay, so we're not just going to do a metrics review. It's going to be our most important metrics, and it's kind of what we said we were going to do, and then we're going to actually look and see what, what we did. Okay. That's, that's useful and interesting.

Instead of Updates, we have Updates Roundtable. What's new in your top three priorities? Okay. I want to know.

This kind of agenda item adds a lot of focus to the meeting. It says the attendees, Hey, we're going to only talk about things that are important. It says, "Hey, show up knowing what you're going to talk about in advance." It suggests that we're going to limit so that people know that time is being respected. It's way better than just an open ended. declaration that we're all just going to give updates.

People might put in three bullet points for the three things that they're going to talk about. If you save that agenda later, as a note, it's going to be really easy to know what people's priorities were on the day that that meeting happened.

And then, instead of hiring discussion, "should we hire another marketer this quarter? Decide on seniority and skillset."

Okay, so they're not only do we have the discussion if this is in the form of a question, and not only is it a question, we have a decision that's explicitly said, they're like, we can't leave this meeting until we decide on should we do this and what should we do about it?

This is what I mean when I talk about action-oriented agendas. It's taking those dry boring agendas and turning them into something that really tells people, this is the goal and purpose of the meeting. This is what we're going to accomplish. These are specifically some of the things that you can expect to do here.

And when you do that, you'll find that people naturally will enjoy your meetings more. They'll come prepared, they'll know what they're talking about, they'll have more interesting ideas all from just a tiny tweak.

That's all for now. I'm Rob with Hugo. We do connected meeting notes software, and I'll catch you again soon.

There's all these, uh, slow, sl, phbhbhhb. There are all these nuanced things going on there.

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