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Setting out a clear agenda for a meeting is critical to its success. Agenda items act like sign posts through-out the meeting to keep everyone focused on the purpose of the meeting. The sum of all the agenda items should deliver the goal or purpose of the meeting. So, before writing agenda items it is worth being clear on the purpose of the meeting. Write down the purpose at the top of the meeting document. Then, break down the steps to achieve the meeting purpose into simple steps: each one is an agenda item.

Let's say the team are trying to decide on which new furniture to buy for the office refurbishment. It is time for the final decision and they have three options and have clear criteria for choosing. This is the sort of meeting that can be easily hi-jacked by someone throwing a curve ball at the last moment. A tight agenda can really help to keep the meeting short and focused.

First set a clear purpose for the meeting: "Decide which office furniture to buy".


Now break down the agenda into the steps required. In this example we need to keep everyone focused on the fact that the key criteria for the decision have already been decided. This preempts attempts to go back and reconsider other options.

Give timings to each agenda item to indicate to attendees the relative importance of each item.

Add the actual agenda items:



Ensure that you show who is responsible for leading that section of the meeting. Make the goal as direct as possible.



And last on the list get the decision to bring the purpose of the meeting to a conclusion.