Get Your Agenda On!

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Most of us attend meetings on a regular basis, pointless, drawn out meetings. Say NO MORE! The reality is, these poorly organized meetings are likely draining all your creative potential and leaving you with little direction.

Signs of a meeting gone awry:

  1. The Take Too Long meeting. Oh, yes, you know what I am talking about. This is the meeting that was originally scheduled for a maximum of one hour and ends up being four!

  2. The Who is Leading This Thing meeting. Has your meeting gone off subject or too many people conversing on separate topics? Yep!

  3. The Organizational Disaster meeting. What are we all doing here? Oops, I didn't bring document XYZ. I could participate if I only knew how I have an effect on the outcome.

  4. The Lack of Resources meeting. Specializing in... I have all this information in my head and I am sharing it with you but I, oddly enough, didn't bring any supporting information or analysis to back up my opinion.

  5. The Technology Failure meeting. This cord plugs in here, this cord plugs in.. where? When you are unable to get the conference phone to work or, better yet, when you cannot locate the individuals to connect with for a Skype conference.

  6. The Late Arrival meeting. Nothing is better than having eight people (all paid for their time) waiting on one individual to make their appearance. Better yet, when it is the boss! No, you don't say....

We Want More... We Want More... from our meetings that is.

Let me introduce you to a riveting concept. It is not a new concept, but how you will use it just might blow your mind.

Introducing... the Agenda! Gasp, Whoa, screams from the crowd.... I can hear it, can't you?

Now before you run off, poo pooing on this concept, hear me out.

The agenda is a wonderful and magical thing. It accomplishes many objectives, such as:

  1. Who is participating and why

  2. What day and time

  3. How long the meeting will go

  4. The method of connection

  5. Who is leading the discussion

  6. What is the objective

  7. What information is needed

  8. Space to indicate the next planned steps.

Simple enough, right?

Agendas should be used for all meetings. A meeting is technically a joining of two or more minds. Tip: effective meetings should never have more than eight people - it just gets too messy and inefficient.

Agendas can be verbal. What!? I know, I know, shocking - but it is true. Say you have a weekly meeting with another individual. The meetings have the same layout because that is how beneficial information is extracted and shared. It is okay, upfront, to say you and I will have this meeting each Tuesday from 1pm to 2pm. We will gather topics from the week prior and I will create an agenda to cover these topics, followed by any projects we are working on. Finally, we will close with the next steps and due dates. Easy as pie!

I regularly conducted meetings, as an executive, to get information flowing between departments because sometimes we get stuck in our bubble and do not realize there is an entire world out there that can benefit from what you are doing or planning on doing. My meetings were simple - seven key people were selected to attend at the same time, same day, each week. To get things off on the right foot for punctuality, if you were a second late without prior knowledge to the attendees, you had to sing I'm a little teapot. It only took one time. Because people saw that I held to my word and no one wanted to sing and dance in front of their co-workers - sans alcohol. The meeting followed the exact same format each time. 3 minute highlights from each of the attendees. Highlights were anything of importance that occured during the previous week within their department. After highlights we had open space for asking questions, addressing concerns and comments. Followed promptly by any strategical updates and deadlines for follow up details. That's it, meeting done. When we got good at it, meetings were done in less than 30 minutes and everyone had a good sense of how the business was doing, projects they could assist in, and the direction they were heading in for the next week.

Agendas are great tools, when used and utilized properly. They should be taken advantage of for in person meetings, telephone conversations, and even scoping out your personal workflow plan. You could have a meeting with yourself and create an agenda to help you tap in to your creative side or methodically develop a plan of action.


April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.

Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.

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