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3 Association Tips on Creating an Effective Meeting Agenda

Upgrade your next meeting by creating an agenda and making sure everyone is prepared.

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Holding meetings are an effective way to bring people together and exchange ideas, discuss conflicts and come up with solutions. They are vital to running any organized team.

According to statistics taken in 2013 by Meeting King, a whopping $37 billion was spent per year on “unnecessary meetings” You don’t want to waste your association’s money on meetings that don’t make a dent in your association’s goals. That being said, a meeting agenda is the lifeblood of any successful meeting. Without an agenda, a meeting can become chaotic and unproductive. You want your meetings to run smoothly and generate valuable work within your association. A meeting agenda allows for this type of productivity to occur. But how should your association go about creating a meeting agenda? Where should you start? What should you focus on?

There’s a variety of ways to keep your association’s meetings on track, but if you’re looking for an organized, well-thought out agenda plan, we’ve got you covered. Here are our essential tips to creating your association’s next meeting agenda:

Establish a list of topics

So, what’s on the agenda?

Establishing set topics for your meeting is the first part of any successful meeting agenda. Without a central focus to your meeting, discussions will be vague and unproductive. You will not be able to get work done and bounce ideas off of everyone. However, with set meeting topics in place, you can ensure your meeting attendees stay focused on the task at hand.

So, how do you start to plan out your meeting topics? First, you want to decide on and organize the most important topics of your meeting.

How is this done? Well, this all depends on what your association is looking to solve. Typically, meetings are held to sort of problems and brainstorm for future solutions. It’s up to you to decide what problems need solving in your next meeting.

Clearly state in the agenda what the objective of your meeting is.

Looking for a resource to help organize? Consider a meeting agenda template. Downloading a meeting agenda template will help you gather your ideas and put them together in a concise manner. It’s a concise chart that’s easy to navigate for any meeting attendee. Break down each point and create a detailed description on what needs to be discussed, where a decision needs to be made and what needs to be amended.

Establishing the topics covered in your meeting will give you a great place to start. With clear focus points, your meeting agenda will have a purpose, making your association’s meeting run smoothly.

Set a schedule for the meeting

Time management is the key to holding an effective meeting.

Following a detailed agenda and starting on time can reduce meeting times up to 80%.

Got an hour? Turns out, an hour is you need to hold an effective meeting.

Don’t believe us? Here’s the proof: The average meeting length is between 31 to 60 minutes. That’s right- it only takes about an hour to hold an effective meeting and feel satisfied with the work done by your association and its team. Any longer than an hour and you run the risk of losing your team’s attention. This can lead to a lack in motivation and productivity, essentially wasting your association’s time and money.

Finding it hard to get to every topic on the agenda? Try starting and ending your meeting on time. Starting on time makes sure you are using the full time allotted for the meeting and addressing each topic on your agenda. You wouldn’t want to miss a topic on the agenda, right? If you allot time to each topic and end your meeting on time, you’ll cover each discussion and will beat the clock. Ending on time is also a way to be respectful of everyone’s time as well.

Keeping track of time will help keep every meeting attendee focused and on task. Setting a timer for each point is useful and effective for making sure team members do not stay stuck on one point being discussed. This way, your meeting will run smoothly and you and your team members will be able to get to each point on the agenda.

Be engaging

Your association’s meetings should be informational and most importantly, engaging.

Without this level of engagement, you can lose meeting attendees, allowing them to get distracted (or possibly even doze off!)

Did you know that 9 out of 10 people daydream in meetings? It’s true, and chances are you’ve been an offender of this bad habit as well. So, how do you keep people engaged and motivated during a meeting, no matter the subject? Engaged meeting attendees by asking questions or opinions, or conducting a poll. This will keep the discussion lively and increase the flow of ideas.

Another tactic that can get attendees to engage in your meeting is to include visuals. Listening to a few people lecture for an hour may not be as exciting as watching a video, a slide deck presentation or charts and images to illustrate your ideas.

Making your meeting interactive is another way to keep everyone engaged. If there is a large group of people, you can pair up people to work on a specific task or discuss a topic. Using a learning software like Kahoot creates a playful and engaging work setting, while people are still gaining information from the meeting.

When it finally comes down to holding your next meeting, make sure the people who attend stay alert, engaged and are contributing to the conversation. Having an agenda for your future meetings is an essential, plain and simple. It’s important to let everybody know what the meeting is about, what needs to be discussed and worked on.

With meetings being such a vital part of making sure an association runs smoothly, it is important to have them being effective, engaging and productive. Upgrade your next meeting by creating an agenda and making sure everyone is prepared.