Everyone knows what it’s like to take part in a meeting without an agenda — derailed from its original purpose, people are distracted and even frustrated. Meeting agenda templates make it easy for quick prep that helps avoid those time sinks as much as possible.
In this article, we’ll explore why agendas are so important and share easy-to-use meeting agenda templates you can use to transform your meetings and improve your entire project management process.
What is a meeting agenda template?
Effective meeting agenda templates make planning and writing agendas for your meeting easier. They’re a templatized version of a meeting agenda that teams can customize and repurpose for each meeting.
A meeting agenda is a list of points you need to discuss while attending the meeting. It lists items in the same order you’ll discuss them. So, if you’re presenting a project budget and following it up with discussions about the timeline, those two agenda items should be in that order.
Some agendas will specify how much time to spend on each action item. For instance, meeting organizers may decide to spend no more than 10 minutes discussing resource management while they allocate 20 minutes to going over essential project milestones.
Meeting agenda templates are a powerful vehicle for both internal and external communication. You can use them to plan meetings with your team, but you can also use them to communicate with clients, contractors, and other external parties.
Why use a meeting agenda template?
It’s possible to hold a meeting with an agenda or an agenda template. But there are several risks involved.
Any meeting without an agenda usually devolves into a chit-chat session where the most talkative team members take over — a meeting agenda template can help you run meetings on time so you can be your most productive.
Hold productive meetings
Using a clear agenda can reduce wasted time and increase productivity during team meetings since it clarifies exactly what the meeting should be about. Without a meeting agenda, it’s easy for meeting participants to get distracted and go off on a tangent for an entire hour. That’s why some meetings running way longer than they should is an issue.
Cover everything, don’t get sidetracked
A clear plan helps meeting participants manage their time and stay on track. Let’s say you’re in a meeting and you’re still discussing the first item 30 minutes in, but you still have 10 more things to cover. The agenda helps move things along and gives each item the attention it deserves. A visual roadmap of the meeting makes it easier for everyone to manage their time.
A meeting template helps you focus on the right priorities during your meetings. Not only can you specify how much time to spend on each action item, but you can also choose the order in which you’ll discuss them. If certain topics aren’t as important, you can use your template to note that those items can be saved for another meeting if you run out of time.
Standardize the process with templates
Meeting agenda templates simplify the agenda creation process. When you have a template, there’s no need to start from scratch every time. With a standard format, it’s also easier to ensure consistency between recurring meetings. It also makes recapping meetings or refreshes a breeze as everyone gets accustomed to a unified format.
What are some examples of meeting agenda templates?
Let’s explore what type of meeting template you can use by looking at some sample meeting agendas.
Project kickoff meeting agenda template
If you’ve ever worked on a project, you know that the initial planning meetings can quickly veer off course. A project kickoff meeting agenda template ensures all bases are covered so that you start your project off on the right foot. The template should lay out the entire meeting, including covering the project charter, deciding on a rough timeline and budget, and listing key stakeholders.
Sprint planning meeting agenda template
If you use the scrum methodology, you’ll also need to kick off each sprint with a sprint planning meeting. The right template can align everyone in the same direction and make sure all team members understand their responsibilities.
For instance, you can allot some time in your sprint planning meeting to go over your sprint planning board, like the one shown below.
Fundraising meeting agenda template
Another situation in which meeting agendas are valuable is a fundraising meeting. Fundraising efforts can have so many moving pieces that it’s easy to lose track. An agenda should list everything like potential big contributors, different types of fundraising efforts and events, and more.
monday.com’s meeting agenda template
Meeting agenda templates can help you save time and conduct more effective gatherings. But with tools like MS Word, templates can be difficult to customize to your needs or collaborate on as a team.
monday.com is a completely different experience. Start with our easily customizable meeting agenda template that you can quickly adjust for any meeting type. Once you create an agenda, it syncs all changes in real time with the rest of your team. All team members can edit everything using drag and drop, which ensures that everyone’s on the same page about the agenda ahead of time.
Plus, you can easily use our powerful Work OS features — like automated notifications, conditional rules, time tracking, and other task management tools — to unify all information on a project. You can even track meeting minutes by adding an extra column for notes or using Updates. The notetaker’s notes will then be available for your whole team, no matter their location.
Use this template to create your meeting agenda — then share your meeting agenda by inviting your team members to collaborate on your board.
Meeting agenda template tips and tricks
Let’s run through some tips and tricks that you can use when using a meeting agenda.
1. Run daily standup meetings (including remote team members)
If you’re using a daily standup — daily 15-minute meetings at the beginning of the workday to get status updates — you know it’s not always easy to get everyone in the same room at the same time, especially in the post-pandemic business world. And it doesn’t take many missed meetings to start going way off track from your roadmap.
To hold a productive standup meeting, use an interactive work platform like monday.com, where everyone can see and edit the agenda in real time. Team members on the move can even use our mobile app to access the agenda on their phones. No matter where your team members are, you’ll be able to sync up and get everyone on the same page.
2. Use a basic agenda for brainstorming sessions
Brainstorming sessions are supposed to be more open-ended than board meetings or other meetings. As a result, it’s easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of ideas and get off-track. An effective agenda template can help guide a brainstorming session and give it some structure. It keeps everyone aligned while providing them with the time they need to develop transformative and innovative ideas.
You can even schedule time for brainstorming and critical thinking right in the template. This would mean every meeting includes some time for critical thinking. Whoever is planning a meeting agenda won’t have to remember to include it if it’s already in the template.
3. Implement a repeatable framework for recurring meetings
A template helps create consistency over time. You’ll get better at planning and executing your meetings if they stay consistent.
If you have recurring meetings, you can use a meeting agenda template to standardize your process for these meetings. Every time you have this meeting, you can use the same template to plan out specific action items.
4. Follow the same procedure for every meeting
Transitioning to strictly following agendas and holding effective meetings isn’t easy.Consistency is the key to changing the meeting culture in your organization.
Assign a team member the responsibility of sticking to the agenda every time. A meeting with an agenda should start with a call to order. This officially begins the meeting — the call to order also tells the person who’s taking the meeting minutes that it’s time to begin the notetaking. The meeting should also end with an adjournment. This marks the official ending of the meeting. Anything discussed after the adjournment shouldn’t be considered as part of the meeting.
FAQs about meeting agenda
What are 5 things you would include in a meeting agenda?
Here are five must-haves when you’re planning a meeting agenda:
- Meeting goals and objectives
- Action items and/or meeting topics
- Meeting details (location, time, conference logistics if applicable)
- Required attendees (and optional attendees)
- Time allotments for every section of the agenda
It’s possible to add more details in your meeting agenda. For instance, some teams will specify a meeting facilitator. But you should include the above five as a minimum.
How do you write an agenda for a meeting?
There are several ways you can write an agenda for a meeting, but the easiest way is to start with a customizable template.
If you’re running your business on monday.com Work OS, you can set up monday.com’s meeting agenda template with a single click. Then, you can customize the template based on your project’s needs since every meeting will be different. Just remember to share your meeting agenda with everyone involved ahead of time.
How do you know if a meeting is effective?
Everyone should aim to make every meeting more effective. This will help you increase productivity and make the most of everyone’s time.
After every meeting, ask the following questions to judge if it was effective:
- Did you go through every action item? Or did you run out of time to cover everything adequately?
- Did you accomplish the meeting goal? If not, what fell short?
- Did you respect the timeline? Or did the meeting take time from another task?
Go over the answers with your team so that everyone is aware of what could be improved next time.
Does Word have a meeting agenda template?
Yes, Microsoft Word has several meeting agenda templates that you can easily find by searching the templates when creating a new document. The problem with using a Word document as your agenda is that sharing it is inconvenient, and you can’t collaborate on it in real time. Check out these Microsoft Word alternatives.