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Guide and checklist for more productive meetings

Planning and structuring a meeting: How to draft a perfect meeting agenda

Meetings that lack structure can be real time sinks, causing productivity to suffer and team motivation to drop. The good news, though, is that it’s…
by Anne Wolf |

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Meetings that lack structure can be real time sinks, causing productivity to suffer and team motivation to drop. The good news, though, is that it’s easy to prevent such outcomes. Careful preparation and a well-structured agenda can ensure that meetings are efficient and fruitful. This article provides tips for creating a good meeting structure and the ingredients for a perfect meeting agenda.


1. Set goals for the meeting

The most important question before creating a meeting agenda should be the following: Is the meeting even necessary in the first place? Or can a phone call or email do the job? If a meeting is deemed necessary, it is important to clearly define the purpose and set the objectives for the meeting. Here, it can help to ask the following question: Should it be an informative meeting or an instructional one? A clear objective allows you to select the right topics and participants for the meeting.


2. Carefully select the participants

Selecting participants is an important step in planning a successful meeting. Here, the focus should be on ensuring that all relevant people are invited so that all important decisions can be made. The following rules should apply: Never invite too many people, because doing so can kill efficiency.


3. Collect and arrange topics

The most important part of a meeting agenda is the topics to be discussed. These should be ordered by importance. A specific amount of time should be set aside for each topic. The key is to choose realistic time limits to accommodate all topics and ensure that the meeting ends on time. The rule of thumb for a standard agenda: Select a maximum of six topics for the meeting, so that all participants can prepare properly.


4. Set a schedule

Every successful meeting has a clear schedule. For planning a successful business meeting agenda, the 60:20:20 rule is a good guide. According to this rule, (only!) 60 percent of the meeting should be spent discussing the topics on the agenda. About 20 percent of the time is spent discussing unforeseen aspects or issues. The remaining 20 percent should be planned for the surrounding activities – for social interactions such as greetings, small talk or breaks, for example.


5. Online or face-to-face meeting? Make the best choice

It isn’t always immediately clear whether a face-to-face or online meeting is the best choice. Online meetings are convenient and save time and travel costs. Face-to-face meetings are the best choice for building a personal relationship – with new colleagues, for example. The direct exchange of looks, gestures and postures is important for avoiding misunderstandings and establishing a trusting foundation for future cooperation. The agenda for a kick-off meeting should thus ideally invite people to an in-person gathering.

As a professional provider of meeting rooms, Office Club provides the perfect setting for face-to-face meetings. Our centrally located meeting rooms throughout Germany offer a comfortable atmosphere and an inspiring environment for any meeting. The meeting rooms are furnished to a high standard, come with all necessary technical equipment and can accommodate up to 20 people.


6. Don’t forget the technical equipment, atmosphere and catering

High-end technical equipment that works well and a comfortable atmosphere can be significant factors in determining whether a meeting is successful or not. Modern presentation technology and a pleasant ambience help participants feel comfortable and make it easier for them to concentrate during the meeting. To plan a successful meeting, especially longer ones, providing food can be important, because it helps to ensure that participants have the energy they need. A catering service, like that offered by Office Club in its meeting rooms, helps you to focus on the essential: holding a successful meeting.


The following tips can help you round out the successful planning and execution of a meeting:


  • BEFORE: Invite all participants in a timely manner! Ideally, they will receive the meeting agenda in advance. This gives participants the time they need to prepare.

  • DURING THE MEETING: A successful meeting starts on time and adheres to the schedule provided in the meeting agenda. The meeting structure navigates all participants through the meeting like a guardrail and ensures an efficient discussion. The meeting agenda thus also serves as a checklist for the meeting.

  • AFTERWARD: After a meeting, minutes serve to summarize all the important points. They help to summarize the meeting and record its outcome. Any decisions made, actions taken and follow-up appointments also belong in the meeting minutes.


Conclusion: A good business meeting agenda helps participants prepare and also serves as a checklist during the meeting. A well thought out meeting structure is like a signpost that keeps the meeting on track and ensures it is an efficient and successful one.

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