When planning an effective meeting agenda, your main action steps will be to:
- Choose a topic
- Set the goals of the meeting
- Determine the duration, time and location of the meeting
- Set the objectives of the meeting
- Determine the non-objectives of the meeting, so you do not go off-task
- Decide on the stakeholders who should attend the meeting
- Gather the information that needs to be shared in order to have a successful meeting
Once you have tackled the first 5 items on this task list in order to create your meeting agenda, you will be ready for the 6th and often most crucial step, inviting people to attend the meeting. You are not just going to invite anyone, however. Instead, you will be targeting key players who will be able to make valuable contributions to the particular meeting agenda you have planned.
Scattered, or Laser-Focused?
Most meeting organizers take the ‘scattershot approach’, inviting everyone they can think of because in order for them to ‘stay informed’. But is a meeting really the right way to accomplish this sharing of information, or would a simple email do just as well?
Let your agenda and goals be your guide. When deciding on the key players, consider what each person can contribute to the success of the meeting. All of us have a range of skills and abilities. You might also need to consider the person’s role in the corporate hierarchy, such as department heads and division managers, who will all become stakeholders in the meeting and push the project discussed towards success.
Putting Together a Top Team
When inviting key players, think about the following areas that will enable them to contribute meaningfully:
* Skills, such as: creativity, planning, budgeting, technical expertise, (past) experience in a particular area or industry
* Resources, such as personnel, a budget, time to spend on the project, necessary equipment, valuable information
* Authority, such as being a key decision-maker in the company or the manager of a certain department who assigns tasks to their staff
* Buy-In, that is, the main people who will be actively using the solution once it is created. Their needs and feedback will be essential to the overall success of the meeting and project.
This is room for innovators who think outside of the box to become key players, but inviting them really depends on your agenda. They might be most helpful in brainstorming meetings and new start up ideas, but less valuable during meetings about how well a project is progressing.
The Right People at the Right Time
Decide if the person is needed now, or can be brought in further down the line. For example, your marketing department and best copywriters might not have to come to the first few meetings, but once you near your proposed launch date, it will be time to include them.
On the other hand, if you are holding a meeting about a product that will take the company into an all new niche, market intelligence will be essential so you do not spend countless person-hours on a product only to realize it sounds like a great idea but there is actually no demand for it.
Going for Your Goals at Every Meeting
By setting a clear agenda with goals, objectives, non-objectives and a reasonable date, time and location for your meeting, you can then decide the best people to invite for each meeting you plan to hold. In this way you can stay on task and no one will feel as if they are wasting their time.