Planning a meeting

How to Create an Effective Meeting Agenda

Discover the secrets to creating a meeting agenda that ensures success. Learn how to set goals, prioritize tasks, and keep your team on track.

Meetings can be a valuable tool for teams to share information, collaborate on projects, and make important decisions. However, without a well-structured agenda, meetings can easily become unproductive and disorganized. This article is a step-by-step guide on how to create an agenda for a meeting that ensures all attendees are prepared and the meeting runs smoothly.

Why Is a Meeting Agenda So Important?

There are several reasons creating a meeting agenda is so important. Setting an agenda helps your team to:

  1. Establish clear goals and objectives
  2. Keep the meeting on track
  3. Increase efficiency
  4. Improve communication
  5. Facilitate decision-making
  6. Avoid confusion.

Pro Tip: Creating an agenda is even more important for remote meetings!

Having an agenda helps combat many of the unique challenges created by remote meetings. It’s also harder to read the room and make sure everyone is on task. For example, a remote meeting comes with more chances for distractions such as background noise like dogs barking and kids crying, notifications pinging on everyone’s desktop/laptop, etc… With an agenda, especially one that everyone can see and have access to, it’s much easier to keep everyone’s attention until the conclusion.

Here are 7 Steps to Creating an Effective Meeting Agenda

Now that you have a better understanding of why a meeting agenda is so important, here are the seven steps to creating a meeting agenda that is effective in helping you to accomplish the goals of your digital or in person gathering.

Step 1: Determine the Purpose of the Meeting

Before creating an agenda, it is important to determine the purpose of the meeting. Is the meeting being held to share information, brainstorm ideas, make decisions, or discuss specific topics? Knowing the purpose of the meeting will help you to determine what items should be included on the agenda.

Step 2: Identify the Attendees

It is also important to consider who will be attending the meeting. Will the meeting include team members, stakeholders, or clients? Knowing who will be in attendance will help you to tailor the agenda to the appropriate level of detail and ensure that all attendees are prepared for the meeting.

Related: Learn how to run effective remote meetings including 6 ways to ace it.

Step 3: Create a Rough Outline

Once you have determined the purpose of the meeting and identified the attendees, it is time to create a rough outline of the agenda. This outline should include the main topics that will be discussed, as well as any supporting information or materials that will be needed.

Step 4: Assign Time Slots

Next, assign a time slot for each agenda item. This will ensure that the meeting stays on schedule and that all topics are covered within the allotted time. It is also important to allow for time for questions and discussion at the end of each agenda item.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to include breaks for longer meetings!

Regardless of whether your meeting will be in person, or held virtually, you will want to  include breaks in the agenda. The reason this is so important is to ensure that participants remain focused and engaged. Your breaks can be in the form of coffee breaks, lunches, or even short activities to help participants refocus.


According to Better Teams, our brains can only focus for about 90 minutes. After that amount of time, extreme fatigue can set in. Therefore, if it’s going to be an incredibly intense meeting, you might want to include a 2-5 minute stretch break about half way through a 90-minute meeting. However, if your meeting will last longer than that, you might want to consider a longer break.

For example, meetings that will be several hours might have multiple breaks. Assuming your meeting will be 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., your agenda might look like this:

-- 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Session one at 90 minutes

-- 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Break for a full 30 minutes

-- 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Session two at 90 minutes.

This is a decent half-day meeting time outline. If you will be doing a full day, the rest of your time outline should look like this:

-- 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Lunch for 90 minutes

-- 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Session three at 90 minutes

-- 3:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Break for a full 30 minutes

-- 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Final session at 90 minutes

Do yourself a favor and don’t add any additional sessions after this. Your attendees will be too fatigued at that point to take in anymore knowledge, and focus will be next to impossible.

If you still need to meet about additional subjects, consider making it a multiple day event, with more breaks as needed.

Step 5: Add Supporting Materials

Include any supporting materials, such as presentations or documents, that will be needed during the meeting. These materials should be shared with attendees in advance of the meeting to ensure that they are prepared.

Step 6: Finalize the Agenda

Once the rough outline, time slots, and supporting materials have been added, it is time to finalize the agenda. Review the agenda to ensure that all items are relevant and that the agenda flows logically. It is also a good idea to share the agenda with attendees ahead of the meeting to ensure that they are prepared and have time to review any materials.

Step 7: Review and Follow-up

After the meeting, review the agenda and any notes or action items that were discussed. Follow up on any action items or decisions that were made to ensure that progress is being made and that the meeting was productive.

Pro Tip: Record your meetings whenever possible!

Even when you’re not hosting a remote meeting, it’s a good idea to record it. Recording your remote and in-person meetings can be beneficial for several reasons, including:

  1. Improved accuracy and accountability: When meetings are on the record, everything discussed, agreed upon, decided, etc… will all be available for reference. In the event of disputes,confusion, or even simple forgetfulness, you’ll have an accurate record of everything.

  2. Increased accessibility: Having your meeting recorded allows absent meeting members to catch up on what they missed.

  3. Useful for future reference: Recordings are helpful when planning events in the future, or if you’re trying to track progress.

  4. Improved documentation: Meeting minutes are much easier to prepare with the recordings and/or keeping track of important information. You can also transcribe your meetings to use for training materials and quick reference for later.

  5. Increased participation: Believe it or not, when your participants know they are being recorded, they are much more likely to engage in the meeting and to stay focused. Simply informing your attendees that the meeting will be recorded can keep a meeting on track because everyone will feel a sense of accountability.

By following these steps, you can create an effective agenda for your meetings that will ensure all attendees are prepared and the meeting runs smoothly. This can result in more productive meetings and better outcomes for your team or organization.

Sending Meeting Materials Ahead of Time is a Good Practice

If you’re hosting a meeting, it’s a good practice to send as many of the meeting materials ahead of time as you possibly can. This will give all of your attendees a chance to prepare for the meeting. Questions, concerns, and ideas can be gathered in advance and brought up at the appropriate time during the meeting.

Knowing what to expect in the meeting is also helpful for calming nerves. Some people are genuinely afraid of attending meetings - especially when they don’t know the subject. Fears of mass layoffs, rumors, and other negative situations can occur when people are left in the dark as to why a meeting is happening. By sharing what the attendees can expect, you promote a level of transparency that instantly eases tension.

Finally, it ensures that your participants are prepared for the day. Pending projects can get buttoned up beforehand, calls that need to be made are no longer left on the backburner, and other deadlines feel more pressing. When people know a meeting is coming up, they are more likely to double down on their efforts to complete the tasks in their queue.

You’re Ready to Prepare For Your Next Meeting

Armed with the seven steps for how to create an effective meeting agenda, and the tips for success, you have everything you need to prepare for your next meeting. Now all you need is an easy way to schedule it with your attendees. That’s where Taggg comes in.

Taggg meeting scheduling software eliminates the hassle of, well, scheduling meetings. With instant access to your team’s calendars, you won’t have to guess which day and time is best for your team to get together. It’s never been easier to find an optimum time to set up a meeting. Click here to get started with Taggg for free, and you’ll see why it’s quickly becoming the go-to scheduling option for scheduling meetings.

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