How to drive productivity in business meetings

Maxim #11
Always have an agenda

maxim_11This maxim is all about being prepared before you go into a meeting. Whether it is a sales meeting, a customer meeting, or an internal meeting, we never go into them without an agenda. No matter how experienced you think you are or how many times you have conducted the same meeting, you should always take five to ten minutes to prepare an agenda and think it through before you go into a meeting.

There are five main reasons for having an agenda:
  1. It forces you to think through what you want to achieve in the meeting.
  2. It forces you to think through the needs and wants of the person or people you are addressing.
  3. It shows that you are respectful of the participants’ time.
  4. It gives you a tool to manage and control the direction of the meeting.
  5. It allows you to concentrate and actively listen to what people are saying, rather than trying to mentally prepare the next agenda item.
An easy guideline for an agenda: It should consist of a purpose, a process and a payoff. Purpose refers to what you want to achieve, process to what you want to discuss and how long it will take, and payoff refers to what you hope to get out of it and what the participants should get out of it. Don’t ignore this last point. It is important to think through what value the meeting should have for the participants.