How To Write a Meeting Agenda (With Tips and Sample)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 12 September 2022

Published 6 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Professionals in many career fields use meetings to share data and discuss important topics with their colleagues, clients and stakeholders. When you're leading a meeting, you can use an agenda to keep your conversation focused on ensuring you cover all essential information. Learning more about meeting agendas and how to write one can help you lead an effective meeting. In this article, we explain what an agenda is, explain how to write a meeting agenda, list what you can include in your document and provide tips and an example to help you draft your own.

Related: How To Take and Distribute Meeting Minutes

What is a meeting agenda?

A meeting agenda is a list of topics or activities you plan to cover during your meeting. The primary purpose of the agenda is to give participants a clear outline of the meeting's structure. This includes the discussion points, speakers and a general timeline. Sharing this information with participants before the meeting can help ensure the conversation proceeds efficiently and productively. You may also print or post the agenda during the meeting so participants remember the schedule and topics.

Related: How To Write Meeting Notes: Essential Steps

How to write a meeting agenda

Here are the steps you can follow to write an agenda for your next meeting:

1. Identify the meeting's objective

Before beginning the meeting, consider the primary objectives or goals you hope to achieve during the conversation. You may ask yourself what the purpose is or why you're having the meeting. By making the purpose clear, you can plan tasks or discussion points that help you achieve this goal.

When determining your primary objective, try to make sure it's clear and attainable for the time you have. If your goal is large, you may divide it into smaller, more specific milestones. This can help you lead a focused meeting. For example, a meeting goal to approve the company's monthly advertising budget may be more attainable and clear than a goal to improve spending overall.

2. Ask participants for input

Consider asking participants for their input about the agenda and the planned topics before the meeting. This can help you plan the meeting to meet their needs, which can increase productivity and engagement. You can ask them to suggest what topics they would like covered or what questions they have. Once you have a list of ideas from the participants, you can review them and decide which items you want to include.

3. Consider the questions you want to address

Once you know your meeting's objective and have some ideas about the topics you want to cover, you can consider the questions you want to answer during the meeting. This can help you identify areas where you may need documents, data or external research before your meeting. For example, if you want to determine which printer service to use, you might research multiple companies before the meeting. You can gather relevant data in advance and then review each company and compare the costs with your team during the meeting.

4. Plan individual tasks

After planning your questions and topics, you may create a list of meeting tasks or actions you hope to achieve during the meeting. You may call these action items or agenda items. You can review your primary objective when planning individual tasks. Consider what small steps you can take to help you accomplish your main goal. For example, if your primary goal is to select a new office supplier, you might first review the options, share information about the budget, compare prices and benefits and then vote on a selection.

When listing tasks, consider the purpose for each one. Typically, you can plan a task to achieve one of the following purposes:

  • Inform participants about essential data or information

  • Seek input from participants by asking questions

  • Make a decision with participants regarding different options

Ensuring each task on your agenda has a clear purpose can help plan a focused and efficient meeting. You can use this list to structure your meeting and to keep participants engaged. For example, you can add notes to show when you plan to request information, share information or make a decision with your participants.

5. Estimate the amount of time to spend on each topic

Next, you can estimate how much time you plan to spend on each task. This can help ensure you have enough time to cover all the essential topics. It also helps participants adjust their comments and questions to fit within the timeframe. For example, if they know they have 10 minutes for questions at the end, they might wait until the correct time, which can keep the meeting focused and efficient.

You can optimise your timeframe by giving more time to items you anticipate taking longer to discuss. You may also schedule high-priority conversations early in the meeting to ensure you get time to discuss them.

Related: Time-Management Skills: Definition, Examples and Tips for Improvement

6. Identify who leads each topic

Some meetings have multiple speakers or presenters. For example, if you're leading a meeting for the entire company, you might have managers from different departments speak about their individual goals or data. If you plan to have other people mediate topics during your meeting, you can identify them under their respective topics.

This step helps keep the meeting focused and ensures that everyone prepares for their responsibilities. For instance, each team manager might bring their team's sales numbers to the meeting. They can gather this information in advance and practise their presentation before the meeting.

7. Consider ending each meeting with a review

Consider ending your meeting with an optional review. This can help participants better understand what decisions they made and what information they discussed so they can take any necessary steps after the meeting. During this review, you and your meeting participants may revisit the essential topics to summarise the conversation. You may also consider what went well during the meeting, where you could improve and what the next steps are. If you decide to end with a review, add it as the final agenda item and schedule time to ensure you accomplish this task.

Tips for writing a meeting agenda

Consider following these tips to help you write an effective meeting agenda:

  • Share the agenda early: Consider sharing the meeting agenda with the participants early. This can help them plan for the conversations, which may increase engagement.

  • Keep the agenda accessible: Try to place the agenda in a place where participants can review it after the meeting to ensure the essential information stays accessible. Consider posting it online, printing handouts or sharing it in an email so the participants can revisit and review the items.

  • Keep the language concise: The agenda summarises the meeting's main topic points, and to keep it focused and effective, try to ensure the language is concise. You can discuss the items in greater detail during the meeting.

Related: How To Take Your Presentation Skills to the Next Level

What to include in a meeting agenda

You can customise agendas for your company and the meeting. Here are some common elements you might include:

  • Meeting name: You may add a general name to your meeting, such as 'weekly marketing team meeting' or you may write a more specific title depending on the goals of your meeting, such as '2020 sales review'.

  • Date: At the top of your agenda, you may write the meeting's date.

  • Time: You may include the time of the meeting to ensure participants arrive at the correct time.

  • Location: When writing the location, try to be specific by naming the room. If you're leading an online meeting, include the link to the online video room.

  • Objectives: In a section labelled objectives or goals, you may write the primary purpose of the meeting and what you hope to achieve during the conversations.

  • Agenda items: You can then list each agenda item, which may be a task or conversation. You may include the timeframe for each point and who is presenting, if applicable.

  • Space for review: You may also add a section planning for the review or further discussions.

Meeting agenda example

Here's an example meeting agenda you can reference when drafting your own:

Monthly marketing team meeting

Date: August 2, 2021
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Conference room B

Objectives: Review monthly campaign reports and create a strategy for adding a new client next month

Agenda

1. Opening remarks (five minutes)

2. Review July data (15 minutes, led by Dan Harrison)

  • Review sales numbers

  • Identify strengths and weaknesses

3. Prepare for next month (30 minutes)

What strategy should we use for the next campaign?

  • Review projections

  • Brainstorm strategies in groups

  • Share ideas collectively

  • Select campaign strategy

4. End of meeting review (10 minutes, led by Casey Davis)

  • Review remaining questions

  • Discuss strengths

  • Plan next steps

Related:

  • A step-by-step guide on how to plan a meeting (with types)


Explore more articles