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Effective Meetings - Agendas

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[edit] Why have an agenda?

We spend a major amount of times in meetings – meetings within our organization, meetings with customers, vendors and others related to our organization and coalition/group meetings. Having an effective meeting will leave everyone more satisfied; garner greater participation and not leave participants dreading future meetings.

[edit] Agenda basics

Simply having an agenda will result in a more effective and satisfying meeting versus a meeting with no agenda. There are several best practices on creating and utilizing agendas to enhance their effectiveness.

[edit] Agenda details

• Publish the agenda before the meeting and making sure all meeting attendees have the agenda ahead of time. Seeking group input on the agenda is also a beneficial practice.

• Review the agenda at the outset of the meeting to focus everyone on the agenda and make any adjustments. Make sure every meeting attendee has a written copy of the agenda during the meeting.

• Follow the agenda and keep track of the agenda results. The agenda creates a simple tool of an outline to summarize the meeting results from. A more sophisticated method is an “action sheet” form with 3 columns - Action Required, Person(s) Responsible and Date for Completing and/or Reporting.

• The chair of the meeting can add a “timeline” to the agenda to figure out if the agenda is realistic for the total time alloted and to track the meeting progress to ensure all items on the agenda receive the necessary time.

[edit] Resources

“Creating Effective Agendas”, by Denise Edwards with the Ontario, Canada Ministry of Agriculture provides a very thorough factsheet on meeting agendas

“How to Create an Agenda, Step by Step”, by – a meeting resource center – also has additional information on effective meetings.

“Preparing an Effective Agenda”, Slideshare presentation by Cathy Cousear.

"Why Meeting Agendas are Important", Bill von Achen, Best Practices for Business website

"Drive a tight agenda, don't let it drive you", Lonnie Pacelli, The Project Management Advisor.

[edit] Author

The author of this article is Terry Gardiner.

Terry Gardiner is the founder and President of Silver Lining Seafoods and NorQuest Seafoods - a medium size Alaska seafood processing companies; and currently Board member of the Anvil Corporation, an employee owned company specializing in oil and gas engineering.

His co-operative experiences include member director of the Commercial Fishermen Co-operative association; creation of legislation for the Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank; and advisor to the US Dept of Health and Social Services for the state Health CO-OPs.

Terry served ten years as a member of the Alaska House of Representatives -several legislative committee chairmanships, Speaker of the House, Chairman of the Alaska Criminal Code Commission and board member on various state and federal boards and commissions.

His non-profit experiences include National Policy Director for the Small Business Majority in Washington DC; working with the Herndon Alliance and ForTerra.

Terry authored the leadership book, "Six-Word Lessons to Build Effective Leaders: 100 Lessons to Equip Your People to Create Winning Organizations".

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