How to Write a Meeting Agenda: Templates & Examples

Your guide to writing the perfect meeting agenda. Learn exactly what to include, plus get access to ready-to-use templates for every kind of meeting.

If we’re honest, most of us would probably not cite meeting agendas as the thing that sets our hearts aflame. However, if you’re hoping to have productive meetings that deliver the outcome your team needs, your meeting agenda is going to be a significant deciding factor. 

When it’s done right, an agenda will ensure that you and your team show up prepared, focused, and energized to work towards a defined goal. When it’s not done right, you’re likely to end the meeting with a demotivated (and, potentially, confused) team, a wasted few hours, and an uphill struggle to get the task at hand completed. 

If you’d like to improve your own meeting preparation, and in particular learn the art of writing the perfect agenda, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll be going into the details of what exactly a meeting agenda is, why an agenda is so important to the success of your meeting, how to write an effective agenda, and what to include in a meeting agenda, as well as giving you a host of agenda templates for every kind of meeting imaginable, from the OKR goal-setting meeting, to the Townhall. 

Off we go! 

Why you need a meeting agenda (what’s wrong with unproductive meetings)

We’ve all had them—those ‘freestyle’, agendaless meetings where ideas flowed like the cheapest of champagnes. You laughed. Maybe you wrote some things down while you were laughing. You probably drank a lot of coffee. Someone handed out some biscuits. By the end, you were in dire need of a nap. 

But what had the meeting actually achieved? Do you remember? 

While no one can deny that providing an opportunity to talk freely is great for idea generation and team bonding, a meeting without priorities, predefined goals, and aligned expectations is highly unlikely to achieve the outcomes the team needs. Why? Because the needs haven’t been identified. 

So while you may be tempted to throw the meeting agenda away and allow ideas to bounce around in a more freestyle environment (and who doesn’t love a caffeine rush followed by a midday sleep?), it’s important to recognize the very real and valuable functions meeting agendas perform for you and your team. 

Three business women sitting around a table during a meeting.
Image by Christina @ wocintechchat.com

Here are just some of the few benefits of writing a meeting agenda:

Aligns expectations

When everyone has a meeting agenda, it’s clear from the get-go what’s going to be covered, what’s expected from the team, and even how much time will be allocated to each action point. Although this may sound unexciting, aligning the expectations of the team by providing as much detail as possible about the meeting well in advance actually leaves less room for anxiety (​​i.e., there’ll be no nasty surprises and ensures everyone is on the same page when they turn up in the meeting room. 

Allows for preparation

When team members have an agenda, they know what they need to prepare for. They can jot down potential solutions or ideas to an issue, prepare questions to understand the problem better, or research the topic. When members of the team are tagged in relation to specific agenda points, they also know that the organizer of the meeting is expecting them to come prepared with ideas or solutions for that particular issue. Without an agenda, team members do not know either what’s expected of them individually, or what they can prepare in a more general way to help move the meeting towards a successful outcome. 

Prompts participation

As we have seen, a meeting agenda allows team members time to prepare for it. When team members are prepared, they are also considerably more likely to participate and share what they’ve learnt. Those who have been tagged with specific tasks will also come forward with their input, and you’ll likely find that the whole team is in general more energized when there is a clear focus to the discussion. 

Keeps the focus

This is perhaps one of the most obvious reasons for writing and keeping to a meeting agenda: team members are more likely to stay focused on the topic at hand. When a clear outcome or decision is also required by the agenda, the conversation has a goal and individuals are less likely to stray off topic. They can also see how much time has been allotted to the topic, and do not have to fear an endless discussion. In addition, when all participants can see the agenda beforehand, they are less likely to interrupt the discussion of one topic with a topic that they want to discuss more (for fear of it getting forgotten or deprioritized), as they can already see it on the agenda. 

Important topics are covered 

How many times have you forgotten to bring up something important because you forgot to write it down? A meeting agenda prevents this from being an issue. All the important topics to be discussed are clearly visible on the agenda.If anything has been forgotten, team members can ask for it to be added to the agenda before the meeting has begun. 

Makes follow-ups easier 

For those who can’t make it to a meeting and those who did but have forgotten parts of it, an agenda is a quick reminder of what topics were covered. Additionally, there are numerous meeting tools which enable the meeting host to attach notes, links, and other relevant documents or resources to the agenda itself so that everyone invited to the meeting (including those who should have been there but weren’t) can see the outcome of decisions or read more on the topics that were discussed. This makes follow-ups on topics much easier, as those who attended the meeting don’t have to waste time repeating the conversations to those who didn’t. 

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What is a team meeting agenda?

A standard team meeting agenda is essentially a collection of topics that need to be covered during a meeting. Agendas typically include a list of discussion or action points in the order in which they will be discussed, and, in the case of particularly long meetings, an agenda might also include specific times or time frames for each point being covered. 

When relevant, the name of the participant who will lead each section will be included on the agenda, as should a list of the names of all the meeting participants. Making clear the goals of a meeting is also an extremely valuable addition to any agenda and should be considered best practice in order to align expectations and enable team members to come better prepared for the task at hand. 

Two colleagues sitting on a sofa having a meeting a front of a laptop.
Photo by Surface

How to write an effective meeting agenda

Before you even start to plan your meeting, there are a number of points you’ll need to consider to ensure you’ve got all your bases covered. 

1. What are the meeting’s goals? 

Identifying the goal or goals of your meeting is pretty much the most important part of your agenda, both for your own planning and aligning the  team’s expectations. Everything else you include in your agenda should relate back to achieving this desired outcome. Once you know what your goal is, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what else your meeting agenda (and the meeting itself) needs to contain to achieve it.  

2. What’s important to the team? 

While planning your meeting, it’s worth having a conversation with the other members of the team who will be joining you. You’ll already have your topic in mind, and hopefully also the desired outcome, but you may not have considered the subject from every angle or perspective. For this reason, have a chat with other team members and ask them if there’s anything (related to the topic) that they think needs to be discussed. Your team is much more likely to be engaged during the meeting if their concerns are given serious consideration. 

3. What questions need to be asked? 

Rather than just focusing on a theme or themes, it’s also a good idea to pose questions during your meeting. It’s unlikely you’ll have all the answers, and this is a great opportunity to tap into the ideas and knowledge of your team while they’re all in one place and focused on the topic at hand.  List your questions in the agenda, and your teammates will have a chance to consider and research their responses and solutions well before the meeting begins–a far more productive alternative to spontaneously throwing questions out there and hoping for the best. 

4. What’s the desired outcome of each task?

Identifying what sort of outcome you’d like to have for each action point focuses the minds of the meeting participants. You needn’t go into too much detail here, but jotting a couple of notes to describe the best possible outcome will mean that everyone is on the same page throughout. An example might be: 

Action point: “Presentation of last month’s website traffic stats.” Purpose: “Share information.” Outcome: “Understand why this happened and learn how we can improve on this for next month.” 

5. How much time do you have? 

It sounds so simple, but it’s surprising how rarely you see an agenda that has estimated time frames for each point. Giving your team an idea of how long you’d like to spend on each point doesn’t just help manage their expectations of the meeting; it’s also a clear indication of the importance of each point within the context of the whole meeting.

6. Who should lead each point? 

Some team members will likely know more about some topics than you or the rest of the team. However, if you’d like another team member to lead a discussion, it’s important to give them fair warning about what will be expected of them. This gives the individuals themselves time to prepare and lets everyone else know who to go to with concerns or questions about the topic before the meeting so these can also be addressed. It’s also worth allocating the job of writing the minutes to a different member of the team for each meeting to ensure this job doesn’t get overlooked or end up on the plate of the same person each week. 

A facilitator sitting a front of his computer in a conference room with two colleagues.
Photo by Headway

What to include in a meeting agenda 

Here’s a quick rundown of what you should consider including in an all-purpose meeting agenda: 

  • The purpose, goals, and objectives of the meeting 
  • Points to be discussed, including time reserved for asking questions after each point
  • Timeframes for each point (including questions afterward)
  • Name of person leading each action point
  • Final question round
  • Quick feedback round about the meeting
  • Time slot for a summary of all the points made, including conclusions reached, and any decisions made 
  • Timeslot for agreed-upon next steps (including the team member responsible for each task)

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Meeting agenda templates and examples

We’ve collated some strong meeting agenda examples for every kind of meeting. You can follow these examples when writing your own meeting agendas and add your own flourishes, tweaks, and personalizations to create a meeting that fits your unique work environment and embraces the talents of your team.

Weekly team meeting

Meeting objective: ________ 

  • Quick catch up/check-in
  • News and updates
  • Successes, failures, and learnings (from previous week) 
  • This week’s priorities (each team member outlines their priorities for the week)
  • Roadblocks (each team member outlines potential challenges or bottlenecks)
  • Action items and next steps 

One-on-one meeting

Meeting objective: ________

  • Quick catch up (work and non-work highlights this month)
  • Performance against set targets
  • Successes, strengths and growth opportunities
  • Areas for improvement
  • Questions, feedback, and clarification

Project kickoff meeting

Meeting objective: ________ 

List of attendees:  ________ 

  • Welcome and introduction to team members
  • Project overview (Major goals, Scope of project, Expected outcomes, Restrictions/limitations)
  • Plan the project (Timeline review, Key milestones, Budget, Communication methods/regularity of team meetings)
  • Project targets (How will the team determine success?)
  • Roles and responsibilities (Who will be taking care of which tasks?) 
  • Action steps to be completed before next meeting
  • Summary and end of meeting (Review the meeting and action items, Final questions and clarifications, Provide links to important resources)

Project status meeting

Meeting objective: ________ 

List of attendees:  ________ 

  • Task updates (Each team member offers a quick status update on their tasks)
  • Schedule status update 
  • Budget status update 
  • Changes, roadblocks, and risks
  • Tasks to be completed before next project status meeting
  • Summary and end of meeting (Review the meeting and action items, Final questions and clarifications)

Project retrospective meeting

Meeting objective: ________ 

List of attendees:  ________ 

  • Quick overview of the project (Goals of the project, Scope and timeline, Budget)
  • Learnings (Each team member shares what they learned during the project)
  • What went well (Project successes e.g, communication, team collaboration, goals met. What should we do again?) 
  • What didn’t go well / Opportunities for change (Challenges, bottlenecks, delays, roadblocks, targets not reached)
  • What should we do differently next time?
  • Action items
A team sitting around a table listening to one of their colleagues discussing a workshop.
Image by LinkedIn Sales Solutions

Stand-up meeting

Ask each team member: 

  • What did you achieve since yesterday’s stand-up?
  • What do you plan to accomplish before tomorrow’s stand-up? 
  • Is there anything preventing or hindering you from completing your tasks? 

Leadership meeting 

List of attendees:  ________ 

  • Updates, news & announcements
  • Metrics review (Track the progress of department goals) 
  • Successes (What’s been going well and why, How can this success be repeated?) 
  • Bottlenecks, challenges and roadblocks (Identify what’s not been working and why)
  • Questions, concerns and general feedback (Allow the team to air their views)
  • Next steps and priorities (Prioritize upcoming projects and assign tasks to individual team members)

Board meeting 

Name and address of organization: ________

Date, time, and location of meeting: ________

  • Call to order (Introductions, Company mission and vision statements)
  • Changes to the agenda (Any revisions to the agenda are stated) 
  • Approval of minutes (Board members to approve last meeting’s minutes) 
  • Reports are distributed (Executive Director report: Business outlook, trends, major business initiatives and updates. Finance Director report: Company’s financial status and outlook) 
  • Old Business (Unresolved issues) 
  • New Business (New business items and plan of action) 
  • Comments, announcements, and other business 
  • End of meeting 

All-hands / Townhall meeting

  • Things to celebrate
  • Announcements, updates, and reminders
  • Presentations (eg: new projects, collaborations, insights)
  • Shout-outs (Identify the people who went the extra mile)
  • Questions and feedback 
  • Action items 

Skip-level meeting

Meeting objective: ________ 

List of attendees:  ________

Questions to ask: 

  • How do you feel about your role? 
  • How could your role be improved?
  • What makes you feel proud in your role?
  • In what ways could teamwork be improved?
  • Is there anything unclear about the company vision or the current strategy?
  • What do you enjoy most about working with your team and manager?
  • What would you like to see your manager do more of?
  • What would you like to see change in the team?
A team sitting a front of their laptops  during a meeting
Image by Jason Goodman

First team meeting (new managers)

Meeting objective: ________ 

List of attendees:  ________ 

  • Welcome (New manager introduces themselves, Each team member introduces themselves)  
  • Icebreaker activity
  • Manager outlines their expectations of the team 
  • Questions for the team (What do they find challenging? What are the team's biggest strengths? What changes would they like to see company-wide and in the team?)
  • Questions for the new manager from the team

Sales and Marketing 1:1 meeting

Meeting objective: ________ 

List of attendees:  ________ 

  • Previous week review (Presentation from Sales, Presentation from Marketing, Questions and clarifications)
  • Discussion of challenges and roadblocks (Sales, Marketing) 
  • Goals for the week (Sales, Marketing) 
  • Action items before next meeting

Performance Review meeting

Meeting objective: ________ 

List of attendees:  ________ 

  • Team feedback (Outline positive feedback from teammates, colleagues and other managers. Outline areas for improvement from teammates, colleagues and other managers. Discuss this feedback, Action steps based on feedback and discussion)
  • Achievements (Outline major achievements since last review. Discuss these achievements and what was learned. Action steps (i.e., how to increase the number of these kind of wins)
  • Opportunities to improve (Discuss areas of potential improvement. Action steps) 
  • Feedback on company and team (Discuss how the team and company might improve, Action steps (for manager) 
  • Conclusion and summary of main points (Clarification of next steps for both manager and employee)

OKR goal-setting meeting

Meeting objective: ________ 

List of attendees:  ________ 

  • Review of OKRs (What was achieved in the last quarter? Which goals were not met? How could we improve for next time?)
  • Goals (What would you like to achieve this quarter? List 3 items) 
  • Measuring goals (How will we measure success? List 3 measurable outcomes)
  • Tools for success (How can the manager assist / which resources would help to achieve these goals?)
  • Summary of main points 
  • Next steps

Sales team meeting

Meeting objective: ________ 

List of attendees:  ________ 

  • Achievements (Opportunity to share wins and successes since previous meeting)
  • Project updates (Each team member shares an update) 
  • Challenges / obstacles / roadblocks (Opportunity for any team member to discuss obstacles) 
  • Customer feedback (Relevant customer feedback or notable customer experiences shared)
  • Targets and metrics (Overall sales metrics since last meeting. Which goals were met and which were not?)  
  • Set this week’s targets 
  • Steps to be taken before next meeting (Action items plus any questions and clarifications from the team)
  • Summary of meeting

Marketing team meeting 

Meeting objective: ________ 

List of attendees:  ________ 

  • Review of the week’s metrics
  • Updates from the team (Project updates, What we learned this week, What could have been done better) 
  • Achievements / goals reached 
  • Roadblocks (Opportunity to outline any challenges and brainstorm solutions)
  • Action items 

New employee first 1:1 meeting 

Meeting objective: ________ 

List of attendees:  ________ 

  • Welcome and intro (Both manager and new employee introduce themselves. This is an opportunity for manager to ask what is going well for new employee in the role so far)
  • Purpose of 1:1 meeting (Manager explains what the goal of the meeting is and the regularity of the one-on-one meetings)
  • The team (Manager explains how the team works together as well as the different roles and responsibilities of each team member)
  • Career journey (Opportunity for new employee to discuss their future at the company and any career plans)
  • Action items 

Brainstorming meeting

Meeting objective: ________ 

List of attendees:  ________ 

  • Purpose and goal of the brainstorm (What is the problem you are hoping to solve?) 
  • Rules for the brainstorm (i.e., no interrupting other team members) 
  • Dedicated brainstorming time where ideas are jotted down for the whole team to see and discuss
  • Team vote on ideas/solutions
  • Action items (What needs to be done next to implement the chosen idea?)

We hope our rundown of agendas has given you some valuable insights into not just how to  best plan your meetings, but also why writing a clear and goal-oriented agenda will ensure the most productive meeting for you and your team. As we have seen, taking the time to properly prepare your team, and to illustrate your goals and intentions will ensure that your meetings stay energized, your team motivated, and ultimately, you get the outcome you are hoping for.  

Rosie Allabarton