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< Productivity Glossary
Meeting Agenda

What is a meeting agenda?

A meeting agenda is a structured outline or plan that details the topics, objectives, and timeline for discussion during a meeting. It serves as a guide to keep the meeting focused, organized, and productive by providing a roadmap for what will be covered and the intended outcomes.

What should be included in a meeting agenda?

Here are the essential components to include in your meeting agendas:

  1. Meeting title & details: Includes the meeting title, date, time, location (if applicable), and the names or roles of participants or attendees.
  2. Agenda items: A list of specific topics or issues to be discussed during the meeting. Each agenda item should be clear, concise, and relevant to the meeting's purpose.
  3. Time allotment by topic: Assign a specified duration or time slot for each agenda item to ensure efficient use of time and prevent discussions from running over.
  4. Purpose & objectives: Outline your meeting objective and provide a brief description for each agenda item to note the intended outcomes and decisions to be made.
  5. Additional notes or attachments: Any supplementary materials, documents, or background information relevant to the agenda items should be included for reference.

What are the benefits of using a meeting agenda? 

Agendas are like roadmaps for your meeting, providing many valuable benefits to help you get more out of your meetings:

  1. Better focus & direction: Meeting agendas keep discussions on track and ensure that the meeting stays focused on the intended topics and goals.
  2. Time management: Helps in managing time effectively by allocating specific durations to each agenda item, preventing overruns, and allowing for adequate discussion time.
  3. Preparation: Allows participants to prepare in advance by understanding the topics to be discussed, contributing more meaningfully to the meeting.
  4. Accountability: Serves as a reference point to track progress and follow up on action items or decisions made during the meeting.

Best practices for creating a meeting agenda

Creating an effective meeting agenda is crucial for a productive and focused discussion. Here are some best practices to follow:

Before you write the agenda:

  • Define the meeting goals: What do you want to achieve by the end of the meeting? Be specific and avoid vague statements like "brainstorm ideas." Having clear goals helps you determine the agenda items and keeps the discussion on track.
  • Consider your audience: Who will be attending the meeting? Tailor the agenda to their needs and interests. If relevant, seek input from attendees for agenda items.
  • Choose the right format: Decide whether a simple bulleted list, a more detailed document with timings and descriptions, or a collaborative tool like a shared document will work best for your meeting.

Writing the meeting agenda:

  • Start with the meeting objective: Clearly state the purpose of the meeting at the beginning of the agenda.
  • List agenda items: Include all the topics that need to be discussed, phrased as clear and concise questions or statements.
  • Allocate time: Estimate the amount of time needed for each item and allocate it accordingly. Be realistic and avoid overloading the agenda.
  • Assign roles: If necessary, specify who will be leading the discussion for each item.
  • Include relevant materials: List any documents, reports, or presentations that attendees should review beforehand.
  • End with action items: Briefly outline the expected outcomes and any action items that need to be followed up on.

Additional tips:

  • Share the agenda in advance: Distribute the agenda to all attendees well before the meeting, ideally at least 24 hours in advance. This allows them to come prepared and participate actively.
  • Be flexible: While it's important to stick to the agenda, be prepared to adjust it if needed. Unexpected topics may arise, or discussions might take longer than anticipated.
  • Gather feedback: After the meeting, ask attendees for feedback on the agenda and the overall meeting effectiveness. Use this feedback to improve future agendas.

How to add agendas to Google Calendar Events

Google Calendar provides several features that allow you to enhance your event planning and organization by incorporating agendas seamlessly. Here are some ways you can effectively add agendas to your Google Calendar events:

Built-in notes feature

You can use the built-in notes feature on Google Calendar events to include meeting agendas. One advantage is that notes automatically cascade into future instances of recurring events. Google Calendar also dynamically formats the document to display notes for each specific meeting instance. For example, notes for the meeting on 1/2/2024 will be presented accordingly.

Attaching documents to meeting invites

While attaching documents directly to meeting invites is an option, it's not the most dynamic method. However, this approach can be useful when you need to share finalized materials, such as readouts or presentations. Keep in mind that this method may not be ideal for dynamic or frequently updated content.

Adding links to external notes

For more dynamic and collaborative agendas, consider adding links to external note-taking platforms like Notion or Google Docs. In the Description field of a one-off or recurring event, include a link to your up-to-date notes. This allows collaborators to access the latest agenda seamlessly. Updating the linked document in real time ensures everyone stays informed about any changes or additions.

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