Is a great agenda really the cornerstone of a successful meeting? Yes, if the agenda is written before the meeting and the meeting leader gets everyone’s agreement on the agenda at the start of the meeting. Once everyone agrees to the agenda, it is easier to stick to it. A truly effective agenda is written using the three T’s rule. The 3 T’s are Time, Topic, and Talker.
- Time will include the actual start and end clock time for the meeting and each topic item on the agenda. If creating a future meeting agenda at the end of a current meeting, the time can be estimates in minutes by the group. These estimated minutes will be converted to clock times before the future meeting begins. Having the time on the agenda keeps meetings on track and allows the group to track their progress on each item.
- Topic includes a list of the action items that the group needs to complete in order to sustain the dominant purpose or goal of the meeting. These items should be written using action words like discuss, review, brainstorm, decide, assign, or report. This will help the group or presenters understand what is expected of them during each agenda item. When listing the items on the agenda, make sure the most important items are first so they get done before the meeting must close.
- Talker is a person responsible for each item listed on the agenda, such as a presenter or facilitator. They will rule that portion of the meeting to give information or rule processes. For items that require the complete group to actively participate, such as discussion or decision-making, the talker should be listed as “All”.
If an effective meeting is desired, then a great agenda will insure success. Create a meeting agenda using the 3 T’s rule of Time, Topic, and Talker. Then at the start of the meeting, be sure to get everyone’s agreement to the agenda before continuing the meeting.
observe: The 3T’s are alternation from the book “R.A!R.A! A Meeting Wizard’s Approach” by Shirley Fine Lee copyright 2007.