You’ve booked the Birmingham meeting room, you’ve let everyone know the date, time and location, now you need to know how to write a meeting agenda.

Having an agenda for a meeting is a really great way to keep things on track and make sure all the important points are covered. Here are a few key points to remember when writing a meeting agenda.

Firstly, what exactly is a meeting agenda?

A meeting agenda is at its simplest a list of subjects you want to cover in the meeting. Its real purpose is to give everyone a clear understanding of what the meeting will cover and in what order; ensuring the time is spent productively.

What’s the point?

When writing a meeting agenda, the first thing to do is to have a clear idea of what the purpose of the meeting is and what outcomes need to be achieved.

Some meetings have one goal, others will have a few, but it is important to not try and cover too many different subjects in one meeting. This can become a bit overwhelming and give participants too much to take away from the meeting.

Make a list

A good starting point is to make a list of all the subjects you want to cover and any questions that relate to them or that you might have for the other participants.

It is also good practice to ask the other participants if they have any subjects or questions they would like to add to the meeting agenda. The next thing to do is to trim anything that strays too far from the goal of the meeting or that would be better covered in a meeting of its own.

Keep it simple

A meeting agenda doesn’t need to be full of detail but it should state all the topics that need to be covered and a little bit about each of them, plus any questions that need to be asked.

It’s a good idea to estimate how much time you think each subject might need. This way you can make sure that a subject, or the entire meeting, doesn’t run on unchecked.

Covering all bases

There is a good chance you won’t be an expert in every subject on your agenda, but that’s ok.

If another participant is going to take the lead on a subject make sure this is listed in your meeting agenda so that everyone knows what their role is in the meeting. You should also make sure that the person taking the lead on a subject has time to prepare any information or materials they might need to present.

No surprises

Once you’ve written your meeting agenda and you are happy with it, it is a good idea to make it available to everyone who will be attending the meeting prior to it taking place.

This gives everyone the chance to review the subjects that will be covered and prepare any information they might need ahead of time. This can also be a good opportunity for any last-minute additions or questions for the meeting agenda to be put forward.

Any other business

Once all the subjects on the agenda have been covered it is a good idea to end the meeting with a review of everything that was discussed and any actions that have been agreed upon so everyone knows their responsibilities going forward.

This is also a great time to see if anyone has anything they would like to bring up or to be covered in the next meeting, as this will make writing your next meeting agenda easier.