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How to write an effective meeting agenda

To write an effective meeting agenda, clearly define and communicate the meeting’s objectives, list topics or tasks to be covered in their logical sequence, assign time limits and owners for each topic, and include any relevant information or preparation needed by attendees.

What is a meeting agenda & why is it important?

A meeting agenda is a detailed outline designed beforehand that clearly states the key goals and topics to be discussed during a meeting. It serves as a road-map for the meeting, guiding the flow of discussion, keeping participants focused, ensuring important subjects are covered, and making the meeting time more efficient.

It is typically distributed to all participants prior to the meeting for preparation and to set expectations. The agenda may include things like the meeting’s objective, specific items to address, the designated facilitator or speaker for each section, time slots for each topic, and any necessary pre-meeting preparation tasks. In our experience, a meeting without a clear agenda is messy and – most of the time – ineffective and therefore costly.


How to write an effective meeting agenda: Step-by-Step


Step 1: Setting Up the Agenda

In our experience, most teams begin with basic tools like Google Docs or Notion for agenda creation. While these are excellent starting points, they can become cluttered over time. Utilizing specialized tools like ZipDo or Fellow can streamline this process. These tools offer structured templates and organizational features that keep your meeting agendas clear and accessible, preventing the messiness that often accompanies long-term use of simpler documents.

How to choose the right meeting agenda tool for your purpose?

We have tested many meeting agenda tools in the past (and developed our own software), so we know exactly what factors make good software.

Here are the top 3 factors:

  • Simplicity: The software must be practical. For many needs, a simple Google Docs will suffice. However, if you have many different meetings, the software should offer better organization.
  • Compatibility: The software should fit with your other tools and offer integration if possible. For example, if you use Google Calendar extensively to organize your meetings, the software should provide an interface for it.
  • Data Protection & Privacy: Many tools rely on automatic transcription of meeting notes or other spoken content. Ensure that these tools comply with data protection regulations.

Learn more about the best meeting agenda software here.

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Step 2: Sharing the Agenda Prior to the Meeting

We advocate for a culture of preparedness. Sharing the meeting agenda with all participants at least 24 hours in advance is crucial. This practice allows team members to familiarize themselves with the meeting’s content, fostering a more informed and engaging discussion. Pre-meeting preparation is a key component of our MeetingFever philosophy, emphasizing efficiency and respect for each other’s time.

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Step 3: Encouraging Pre-Meeting Collaboration

A proactive approach to meeting preparation involves participants commenting on agenda items before the meeting. This step not only primes the discussion but also significantly reduces meeting duration. Encouraging team members to provide input on talking points beforehand leads to more effective and focused discussions during the meeting itself.

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Step 4: Utilizing the Agenda as a Guiding Tool

During the meeting, the agenda should serve as a roadmap. Documenting key points as the discussion unfolds is vital. A pro tip from our MeetingFever toolkit: use a system like ZipDo for capturing meeting notes. This method simplifies future referencing and understanding of decisions made, ensuring continuity and clarity in team communications.

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Step 5: Post-Meeting Follow-Up

After the meeting, it’s crucial to share the documented notes with all participants. Additionally, integrating points for the next meeting into the agenda is streamlined with tools like ZipDo. Using its channel concept, you can easily select the next meeting from your timeline and transfer relevant items, enhancing the flow and productivity of subsequent meetings.



Crafting an effective meeting agenda is essential for the productivity and efficiency of any organization. It not only aids in time-management but also helps in guiding your team’s focus. It maximizes every team member’s contribution and ensures clear communication. Thus, understanding the necessary steps and components of an effective meeting agenda is a valuable skill. To sum up, clearly define the meeting’s objective, structure your agenda items, specify time frames, include relevant details, and always allow room for further discussion. By maintaining this consistency and attention to detail, your meetings will run smoother than ever, and your team will feel more involved and valued. Remember, an effective meeting agenda forms the backbone of successful meetings.


What is a meeting agenda?

A meeting agenda is a list of specific topics, activities, and discussions that are planned to be addressed during a meeting. It serves as a roadmap for how the meeting should proceed and what it hopes to accomplish.

Why is it essential to prepare a meeting agenda?

Preparing a meeting agenda is important as it ensures all necessary topics are covered, assists in keeping the meeting focused and efficient, allows participants to prepare in advance, and reduces the potential for meetings to veer off topic.

How do you format a meeting agenda?

A typical meeting agenda may include the meeting’s date and location, start and end times, list of participants, clear objectives or purpose of the meeting, specific topics or issues to be discussed, designated time for each topic, and any actions or outcomes expected from the meeting.

Can the meeting agenda be altered during the meeting?

While it’s recommended to adhere to the meeting agenda to avoid going off track, unexpected issues or discussions may arise which could require adjusting the schedule. However, any changes should be agreed upon by the attendees to ensure a productive and respectful environment.

Who should receive a copy of the meeting agenda?

A copy of the meeting agenda should be sent to all attendees before the meeting. This gives them the opportunity to prepare for discussions, think of pertinent questions or comments, and have a clear understanding of the expectations for the meeting.