We’ve all heard the phrase “no agenda, no attenda” but with remote meetings, effective agendas are more important than ever.
While we’re 100% team remote work, we can’t deny that meetings flow a bit differently in the virtual world. So how can agendas help make your meetings better?
Whether you’re hosting a small brainstorming session or presenting a company-wide town hall, every remote meeting can benefit from an agenda. To help set your next meeting up for success, we’ve put together a guide to effective agendas for remote meetings.
Why you need an agenda for your next remote meeting
We’ve all heard the hype about how agendas make for better meetings. But what makes them so special – especially in a remote environment?
Yes, technically writing an agenda takes more time than not writing an agenda. But your agenda will set expectations and keep everyone on track. It also gives teams a chance to ask questions ahead of time – especially in a remote workplace where you can’t simply brief your colleagues over the coffee machine. Agendas guarantee that everyone will be on the same page before the meeting starts, so you’re not wasting time during the call.
Ultimately, agendas ensure you’re being respectful of everyone’s time (and your own!).
By sharing topics and discussion points ahead of time, you’re making it easier for team members to participate actively in the conversation. This is particularly important in virtual meetings, where you can’t just simply raise your hand to speak.
Some members of your team may also find it overwhelming to contribute without preparing in advance, which is why agendas can help foster inclusivity in the workplace.
Guides the conversation
There’s nothing worse than everyone staring blankly at their screens. Or even worse, when everyone accidentally tries to share all their ideas at the same time.
An agenda helps provide a path for the conversations that need to unfold during your meeting. It makes it easy to segue from one topic to the next without any awkward pauses or wasted time.
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Tips for effective remote meeting agendas
An effective agenda is more than creating a list of bullet points. Here are our top tips for building an effective agenda for your next remote meeting.
Find your why
Meetings have almost become too easy in the remote workplace. Instead of booking a conference room and walking across the office, we can all gather virtually with the click of a button. It’s easy to find ourselves booking a meeting for… everything.
That’s why all meetings should have a goal or a ‘why’. If you aren’t 100% on your meeting goals yet, you might want to hold off on that calendar invite!
Without a meeting goal, you’ll spend a lot of time aimlessly musing without any sort of action items. Even if the goal of your meeting is as simple as brainstorming ideas, you still need to target a desired outcome.
Set the tone for the meeting by reminding everyone of your goal at the beginning of the call and summarize what you’ve accomplished at the end.
In addition to making the goals and outcomes clear to your attendees, it’s important that every attendee has the background necessary to contribute effectively. Otherwise, you’ll spend an unnecessary amount of time bringing different team members up to speed.
If you’re unable to adequately provide context in the meeting invite, you can always send it separately. This can be through a brief, slide deck, or even just a short email. This way, everyone is ready to participate as soon as they hop on the call!
Send any necessary documentation and background info well in advance. Don’t be the person who shares important meeting info with less than 5 minutes to spare.
Have you ever found yourself on agenda item number 2 (of 10), with 10 minutes left in the meeting? Instead of struggling to squeeze 8 agenda items into the last 10 minutes, try timeboxing your agenda next time instead!
When creating your agenda, set aside a reasonable amount of time to discuss every item. If the allotted time is up, move on to the next topic. Don’t be afraid to take specific topics offline or set up a second call if you find yourself short on time.
By setting aside a set amount of time for each topic, you’ll help keep everyone focused and on track.
Leave flex space
Structured meetings are great and all, but leave some room for flexibility.
It’s inevitable that something unexpected (but relevant) will come up throughout the call. If you time the entire meeting to the minute, you won’t have time to cover the additional topics. While it’s important to stay on topic, getting slightly sidetracked can lead to some amazing and creative ideas!
This time can also double as an opportunity to open the floor to team members who may not have had a chance to contribute throughout the core meeting.
If you end up not needing that flex time, no sweat! Everyone will be happy to get those 5-10 minutes back in their day.
Feedback on your meetings can come in many different forms. We suggest collecting feedback on two key things; the outcomes and the meeting itself.
When it comes to the meeting itself, collect any feedback on the effectiveness of the call. Did everyone feel like they had the opportunity to contribute? Don’t forget to reach out to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding the next steps of the meeting either.
The best remote meetings have agendas
You could create an agenda simply because we told you to, but the proof is in the pudding. By taking the time to write a well-thought-out agenda, you can make your remote meetings more productive and more effective and, dare we say it, more enjoyable.
We’re warning you that once you do it once, you’ll never want to attend an agenda-less meeting again. You might even earn yourself the reputation of having the best meetings that people actually want to attend.