It’s one of the basic principles for holding a Great Meeting: set an agenda. A tight agenda keeps meetings on-track and on-topic, allows for effective preparation, encourages meeting participation, and ensures that all key topics are covered. But you knew that already, right? We figure if you’re reading the Doodle blog you’re well-versed in the art of setting a meeting agenda. And you’re probably already circulating your agendas pre-meeting with Doodle Premium’s messaging feature, because you know that your invitees will be better prepared if they’ve had time to think about the meeting’s key points. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to level up your meetings in 2019, the agenda might be a good place to start. Here are two simple ideas to shake up your agenda:
Let Someone Else Set the Agenda
Here’s the thing about agendas: usually they’re set by the same person and often that person is employed at management-level. This means management decides on discussion questions and action items – so your agenda ‘flows down’ from high-level employees to the rest of the team. But cultivating dynamic conversations, where ideas flow upward and downward between management and employees, is key to creating and maintaining a dynamic, communicative, and responsive work culture. So, try diversifying the information flow by shaking up the meeting agenda: it works for venture capitalist and former CEO Ben Horowitz. Horowitz makes a point of holding regular one-on-ones with his employees and in these meetings, they set the agenda. It’s a simple twist on typical meeting procedure that allows Horowitz to keep a check on his employee’s priorities and concerns, and it stimulates a dynamic flow of ideas and feedback in the workplace.
Stop, Collaborate and Listen!
Okay: letting someone else occasionally set the agenda for a one-on-one meeting or a small-group meeting might be cool. But there’s no way that move would work for an all-hands meeting or an AGM, right? Wrong! Why not try creating a collaborative agenda for your next whole team meeting? Here’s how it works: set a loose agenda and circulate it before the meeting. Hold your meeting in a big room with plenty of whiteboards or with paper stuck on the walls, one board or sheet of paper for every item on the agenda. Have your team walk through the room and add comments, questions, even doodles underneath every item. Refine your agenda based on your team’s input – now your meeting agenda addresses your team’s concerns, matches their priorities, and answers all their questions.
And that’s it! Two simple strategies to energise your meetings. You can go ahead and cross “Shake up the next meeting” off your agenda now…
By Jessica Miller
Jessica Miller is an Australian writer currently based in Berlin.