Leaning Out Your Meeting: Creating a Efficient Agenda to Maximize Time

Example of an Agenda

Have you ever had one of those meetings and thought, “Oh, God! Why am I here? Why did this meeting take so long? And why was I invited?”

I think we all have had those meeting where you just don’t understand your objective to the meeting. Especially when you have 24 Billion more important things to do. And then the length of it just makes you want to hit your head.

You are not alone.

A 2014 study from Bain and Company found that 15% of an organization’s time is spent in meeting. Making per day $25 million wasted in meeting. In a year that is $37 Billion.

Yikes that’s some scary facts. And I’m sure your organization may be guilty of wasting valuable time in meetings.

To remove the guilt yourself, it’s time to let go of old traditional meetings that lack organizational and discipline so that you can have highly productive meetings.people-2557396_1280

First off, ask: “Does there necessary have to be a meeting? Could this be conducted with a short discussion with one or two people in a few minutes?” Since not all discussions or decision making does not need to conduct a meeting to get the results needed. Make sure that the meeting is required.

Once it is determined that the meeting is needed, it all start with the attendance list and what their roles are in the meeting. Some of the invitees will have more than one role to play but don’t put too much on their plate. Such as you don’t want the recorder to also be an active participant. Pick instead an ad-hoc member to do this role.

So here is a list that I have found that is effective when inviting people to the meeting.

Meeting Chair- You are responsible for the organization and conduction of the meeting. Managing all the topic/discussion/subject/objective/goal.

Meeting Coordinator- AKA Party Planner. Kind of, you are responsible for all the prior needs such as lunch and making sure you order at least one vegie pizza.

Facilitator- This role is deeply important to make sure that the meeting runs smoothly and efficiently. He/she is in charge of:

  • Keeping track of the time
  • Keeping the meeting to the subject
  • Making sure everyone can voice their information intelligently
  • Stay neutral the whole time
  • Keep things that are not on subject in the “Parking Lot”

Recorder- This person is solely in charge of keeping track of the meeting minutes.

Attendees: Should be a list of people who are there to make the meeting beneficial.

To know if this is the right person to invite make sure you ask the following questions:

  • Is this person beneficial to the meeting? If so, how will their contribution help?
  • Is this position a duplicate from someone else already invited to the meeting. E.I. having 2 people from IT.
  • Does this person have the capabilities to make the proper decisions needed for the objective of the meeting?
  • If it’s just a ad-hoc, only invite them to the meetings they are responsible for making decision or giving information.
  • Keep the meeting to as little people as possible. A good rule of thumb is to keep it under 10 people.

When you invite your team, it is important to clarify what each individual’s role is in the meeting and what their objectives are.

After you have made the list, it’s best to check with these people on their availability on conducting the meeting. If your attendee have input into the decision process right away, they will more than likely participate without hesitation. However, you may not be able to please everyone on this time. So it may be best to just to schedule to those that are most vital to the meeting.

Once you have figured out the location, date, and time, it’s now time to put together the agenda.

Below you will find and example of a meeting agenda that is used in the past that makes meeting more efficient.

The next part you need is the Agenda Details. These are the topic/discussion/subject/objective/goal that need to be accomplished during the meeting. Along with the amount of time it takes to complete each topic/discussion/subject/objective/goal. Make sure you add them up and do not allow it to exceed the overall duration of the meeting.

men-1979261_1280Start your meeting off with what and why you are having the meeting. Then ask if there are any objections to the agenda.

Move from the agenda to topic/discussion/subject/objective/goal of each of your Agenda Details. Keep to the subject and within the minutes of the conversation.

To keep things on track you can create a list of rules that will apply to the meeting.

Make a list of Rules that apply to not just meeting but every meeting

If a subject goes off topic, make sure the coordinator/facilitator objects to the subject and Meeting minute note taker writes the subject in the “Parking Lot”. This can be discussed if there is time at the end of the meeting or privately after the meeting.

Finally end your meeting by answering questions, closing arguments (timed) if necessary, finish the objective of the meeting (vote/decision), quick review of the meeting, and if there is time, “Parking Lot” subjects.



The point of leaning your meeting is to be effective. Effectiveness is in getting the topic/discussion/subject/objective/goal clearly and transparently resolved without wasting any more time than necessary. If you can discipline you and your team to create a clear and concise targeted meeting, then you can execute more time into doing other tasks that are the days agenda.

To find out how to make your meetings run more efficient, just click the button below to set up a 15 minute one-on-one conversation with Valorie about making not just your meeting and business run as smoothly and efficiently as possible in order to maximize your revenue.

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Valorie Hendrix


Dynamic Empire Consulting




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