I've always "encouraged" my team to use an agenda for nearly every call or meeting outside of simple check ins.

I always thought they were overkill. I find that most people feel that way.

I'm not the type of person who likes to spend time going through unnecessary formalities, so I've always hated the idea of agendas. I always thought they were just one extra thing I had to do.

But then one day I had an ephiphany about agendas. I was sound asleep and Rick James appeared before me on a cloud of smoke wearing a purple onesie and told me this…

You're going to create an agenda for every meeting, whether you like it or not. The only choices you have are:

  1. Plan and create the agenda ahead of time.
  2. Wing it and let the meeting attendees create the agenda on the fly.

Ok, I made the Rick James thing up – if you're a Chappelle's Show fan you might have got that – but rest assured, you will end up with an agenda.

Most calls / meetings suffer from a few major problems that can be sovled pretty easily with an agenda:

  1. Including people who didn't need to attend
  2. Not including people who did need to attend
  3. Forgetting to discuss a key topic
  4. Spending too much time on lower priority topics
  5. Not having something prepared that needs to be reviewed

Solve those 5 issues and you're meetings, and the time you spend on follow up, will improve dramatically.

I used to think setting aside an hour or two to create an agenda ahead of time was net loss in productivity.

But in reality it saves a heck of a lot more time than it costs because it helps avoid those 5 major issues above.

Once I realized that, I became a convert.