How To Write Meeting Agendas: Steps, Templates & Tips

How To Write Meeting Agendas: Steps, Templates & Tips
JobStreet content teamupdated on 21 November, 2023

Are you in charge of writing the meeting agenda for your next meeting? But worried that the discussions might go off track and become confusing? Fret not; you've come to the right place.

In today's fast-paced world, everyone is juggling tight schedules. You don't want to lose time sitting in a meeting as much as the other person. This is where well-structured meeting agendas come to the rescue.

A good meeting agenda clearly states the purpose of the meeting ensuring everyone knows what to expect. It wisely allocates time preventing meetings from running over. Moreover, it encourages attendance and enhances active collaboration, making meetings more productive and efficient.

In this article, you'll learn how to create an effective meeting agenda. You'll also find sample meeting agendas to keep your meetings on track. Plus, you'll discover valuable tips for enhancing productivity. By following this simple guide, you can take your meetings to the next level.

What is a meeting agenda?

A meeting agenda is a detailed outline you create before a meeting. The purpose is for the meeting participants involved to know what topics and discussion points they might expect. This meeting agenda is essentially the schedule.

It outlines the framework for what to discuss, who leads each topic, and how long each section should last. It helps to keep the conversation focused, allows team members to prepare in advance, and keeps the meeting on track. 

Whether it's a team meeting, a board meeting, or an executive session, a meeting agenda is a crucial tool. It ensures meetings run smoothly and efficiently for all attendees.

You can send out the schedule prior to the meeting via email or a calendar invite on a project management platform. The five components you should include in a meeting agenda are: 

  • meeting details 
  • main meeting goal 
  • discussion topics 
  • assigned leaders and their time allocations 
  • supporting documents

How to write a meeting agenda in 5 steps

Colleagues having meeting

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to write a great meeting agenda that sets clear expectations. By following these steps, you can ensure productive meetings in the future

1. Decide on the theme 

To begin, ask yourself what kind of theme you're aiming for. This is the overarching discussion point or purpose of the meeting. Knowing what the goal and theme are helps participants understand exactly what this meeting is about. 

For example, if the goal is to discuss a new product launch during the meeting, you might choose the theme “Product Launch Strategy.”

If you're struggling to determine these two factors, ask yourself what type of meeting you're arranging. Common meeting themes include:

  • Feedback meetings: These meetings are dedicated to discussing and providing constructive feedback or receiving input from team members.
  • Agile meetings: These typically include project overviews, sprint reviews, and debriefs with feedback.
  • Onboarding meetings: These are designed to seamlessly integrate new employees into the company.
  • Team meetings: These typically revolve around a specific project and encompass topics such as project status, deadlines, and issues.

2. Include the meeting details and objective 

Write the necessary meeting details at the top of your agenda. These include the date, location or link for virtual meetings, meeting room, start and end time, and the list of team members attending.

Below the details, write a concise statement that outlines the meeting's objective. The meeting objectives are the goals you chose in the first step while deciding on the type of meeting and its theme. It gives a brief overview of what to expect in the meetingPlacing the project objectives at the start of your meeting agenda helps everyone pay attention to the meeting's most important points.

For example, you might write, The goal is to finalise our strategy for the upcoming product launch. This immediately sets the tone and purpose, while also making sure the meeting attendees know that the primary focus is the product launch strategy. 

3. Make a list of the discussion topics 

To begin compiling a list of topics, reach out to your colleagues, board members, and other important stakeholders. Ask them what they want to talk about at the meeting so you have an idea of what's most important to them. Using this information, along with the concepts you noted when setting the goal and selecting the theme, you will be able to make a list of discussion topics. 

Make sure that each subject aligns with the overarching theme and objective. For example, if the meeting concerns a new product launch strategy, then your list may include the marketing plan, budget allocation, and timeline. 

4. Choose the meeting participants and set time limits 

You don't need the entire team to attend every meeting. When creating your meeting agenda, it's important to determine who should be invited based on the meeting's purpose and the roles of team members.

Consider the following questions when deciding whom to invite:

  • Does every team member need to attend the meeting?
  • Should individuals responsible for action items be on the guest list?
  • Does the particular team member have a direct connection to the goals and objectives of the meeting?
  • Are key stakeholders and decision makers included in the list?

Sometimes when you initiate a meeting, you might want to be the one leading the discussion. If you're not the host, it becomes your responsibility to designate the meeting leader and assign roles. Choose a person for each topic who will be responsible for presenting and leading the discussion. Their role is to facilitate the conversation, answer questions, and keep the discussion on track.  

It's also your duty to establish time limits for each discussion. This practice helps prevent the meeting from running over its allotted time.

For example, you might allocate 15 minutes for the marketing plan discussion and 10 minutes for the budget allocation. Be sure to reserve some extra time at the end for any additional questions.

5. List any additional documents 

If there are any documents that team members should review beforehand or that may come up during the meeting, list them at the end of your agenda. This might include data, charts, reports, presentation slides, prototypes, or previous meeting minutes. 

Minutes are the written summary of everything you've decided or discussed during a meeting. Therefore, they're an official record of previous proceedings that you can refer to when necessary. This is helpful when you need clarity or want to keep track of the team's progress. 

The 4 Ps of a meeting agenda 

To make sure you have an effective meeting agenda that achieves the expected outcomes, use the four Ps: 


This is the reason you're having a business meeting. Ensure that everyone knows why they're receiving an agenda and what the gathering aims to accomplish.


The product refers to the decisions you expect to result from the meeting. Explaining the product ensures that everyone knows what outcome to work towards.


The third element concerns who needs to be present at the formal meeting. Choose the people who are likely to actively contribute to the meeting's purpose and product. Invite the whole team only if everyone needs to be there.


Attention to detail can turn a good meeting process – otherwise known as the agenda – into a great one. Its content should guide the structure and flow of the meeting from start to finish.

Meeting agenda template 

This is a simplified but effective meeting agenda template that you can customise to fit your specific needs: 

Meeting title: Create a name for the meeting here
Date: Include the day, month, and year
Time: Insert both the start and end time
Location: State where the meeting is being held at. For a virtual meeting, include the link here
Meeting attendees: List the names of all meeting participants

Meeting objective: Clearly state the meeting's purpose or goal

Agenda items
1. Welcome and introductions
Meeting host: Name
Allotted time: Minutes

2. Agenda item #1
Topic: Topic description
Leader: Name
Allotted time: Minutes

3. Agenda item #2
Topic: Topic description
Leader: Name
Allotted time: Minutes

Relevant documents
List the documents and materials participants should either review before the meeting or bring with them

Example agenda

This example is a simple meeting agenda that builds on the product launch meeting mentioned earlier: 

Meeting title: Product Launch Strategy
Date: 28 November, 2023
Meeting time: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Location: Virtual (will share link via email)
Attendees: Tan Chun Seng, Heng Meng Siang, Chan Mei Fong 

Meeting objective
The aim of this meeting is to discuss and finalise what strategy to use for the upcoming product launch. 

Agenda items
1. Welcome and introductions
Leader: Chan Mei Fong
Allotted time: 5 minutes 

2. Marketing plan
Topic: Review the marketing and promotion strategy.
Leader: Heng Meng Siang
Allotted time: 15 minutes 

3. Budget allocation
Topic: Set aside resources for marketing, production, and distribution costs.
Leader: Tan Chun Seng
Allotted time: 20 minutes 

4. Overview
Topic: Create new action points, discuss, and answer questions.
Leader: Chan Mei Fong
Allotted time: 5 minutes 

Necessary documents 

  • Product specification sheet 
  • Preliminary marketing plan 
  • Draft budget report

Key insights

One of the key insights you might gain from this example is that the agenda has a defined structure. Each item has a clear description and an assigned leader to enable a higher level of efficiency. This helps ensure everyone is on the same page and can properly prepare.

Also, the agenda places a heavy significance on time management. Having a specific time slot for each agenda item keeps one topic from dominating the entire meeting.

How to write a meeting agenda email

Sending an agenda email

While the content is the same, there are several additional elements to remember when you're sending a meeting agenda via email:

1. Create a specific subject line

The subject line is the first part of your email that the recipients see, so it's important that it's coherent and to the point. Avoid using vague terms such as Meeting or Agenda since it's easy for these to disappear in a busy inbox. Instead, write a subject line that's easy for the recipient to find and that clearly indicates the fact that it's a meeting agenda.

For example, you might name it Agenda for the Marketing Team Meeting on 25 October 2023.

2. Begin with a greeting

The greeting sets the tone for your email, so it's important to be professional and courteous. Make sure to address the recipients appropriately. If it's a small team meeting where everyone knows each other well, it may be enough to simply address them by their first names. Follow your company's greeting culture.

If you're sending the agenda to a larger group, another department, or across different hierarchies, then it's usually more appropriate to use a formal greeting. After the greeting, include the necessary information by following the above template. 

3. Ask for an RSVP

Asking for an RSVP means requesting that all recipients confirm whether they can make it to the meeting. This step is important because it gives you an idea of who's going to be present, which allows you to adjust the discussion points if necessary. 

Requesting a response also encourages commitment since people are actively confirming their attendance. This makes them more likely to remember and prioritise it in their schedule. Finally, it's helpful to know if all key decision-makers are going to be present. If one can't make it, it's sometimes better to reschedule the meeting or at least make sure that you gather their input beforehand. 

4. Provide your contact information and close

Remember to include your contact information, such as your email address or phone number, at the end. This allows recipients to reach out if they have questions or want to bring up any action points. Make it obvious that people are welcome to contact you and clarify expectations.

For example, you might write, If you have any questions about this agenda or require further clarification, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Finally, end your email with a professional close, followed by your name and signature. Typical professional email closings might include SincerelyBest regards, or Thanks.

Common mistakes to avoid 

There are some mistakes that could turn your carefully planned meeting into a web of confusion. Being aware of these pitfalls may help you avoid them:

Having too many speakers 

It's important to include different perspectives throughout the meeting. However, having too many people responsible for presenting can make the conversation feel chaotic and disjointed. To stay focused, try to limit the number of assigned speakers, and ensure that each one has a clear purpose and role. 

Forgetting to leave extra time for discussion 

Usually, productive meetings have a dual purpose. The first is to present information, and the second is to facilitate discussion items. Forgetting to set aside time for discussion at the end might make participants feel rushed, and it increases the likelihood of missing important insights. 

The length of time necessary depends on the type of meeting. For example, recurring meetings might only require five minutes of discussion at the end. Alternatively, if you only meet once a month or if it concerns new information, the agenda might need to set aside 10 to 20 minutes for discussion time after everyone finishes presenting. 

Overloading the agenda 

Meeting agendas exist to help you use the time effectively. However, this is difficult if you overload the schedule. Attempting to squeeze too much into the allotted time might backfire, leading to rushed discussions and incomplete resolutions. 

Instead, make the agenda realistic for the time frame. If you realise halfway through a one-hour meeting that you were too optimistic with the timeline, that's okay. You usually have the option to end the meeting early and schedule the next meeting. 

Not sending the meeting agenda early enough 

People need time to prepare before the meeting and to familiarise themselves with the discussion topics. If they don't have the agenda well enough in advance, they may show up unprepared or have a conflict in their schedule. Try to avoid this, because it can significantly hinder the meeting effectiveness. Send out the agenda at least 48 hours before each meeting. 

Ignoring time zones 

If you're organising a virtual meeting that includes participants from different time zones, make sure to consider this when scheduling. Ignoring the various time differences may cause confusion and low attendance. Therefore, remember to clearly state the time zone at the top of your meeting agenda if it's applicable. 

Not prioritising topics 

The order in which you discuss topics matters. For example, if you leave critical items until the very end, they might not get the attention they deserve. This can happen because of time constraints or meeting fatigue. By arranging talking points according to priority, you can ensure that the meeting flows successfully and that each subject receives the necessary amount of attention. 


Whether it's a weekly meeting or an important strategy discussion, creating an effective agenda is the first step to ensuring a productive meeting. Remember, a great meeting schedule is more than simply a list of topics. It's a useful tool that designates roles, manages the time, highlights the meeting objective, and prepares attendees to contribute meaningfully. Avoid common mistakes like overcrowding the agenda or neglecting discussion time to ensure a successful meeting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

  1. Why is the agenda of the meeting important? 
    ⁠The meeting agenda serves as a written plan of the talking points you intend to discuss during the meeting. Having a clear agenda leads to a more solid meeting structure, better time management, and more active discussions. It keeps everything organised and makes sure you don't forget what you want to cover. You can also use the agenda as a reference in future meetings to revisit or check on the topics you discussed earlier.
  2. When should you use a meeting agenda? 
    ⁠Ideally, there should be an agenda for every meeting. Whether it's a formal discussion, project update, or a brainstorming meeting with the team, you can stay focused and avoid unproductive meetings with a simple meeting agenda. After the gathering is over, you can even use it as a guide for assigning new action items and drafting the minutes. 
  3. What makes a good agenda item? 
    ⁠A good agenda item for a meeting is more than just a basic topic. It is a specific thing you need to talk about or some action item you need to address during the meeting. To make it good, it should clearly state the context. It should then specify who's responsible for leading the presentation or discussion. And finally have a designated time slot, to ensure there's enough time to discuss it.
  4. Can meeting agendas include questions?
    ⁠Yes. Framing the agenda items as questions is an effective way to encourage your fellow team members to participate during the meeting actively. When you post the item as a question, it sets a clear objective for what the group should answer or decide during their deliberations. This approach also encourages them to think about the talking points in advance, thereby promoting a more productive conversation once the meeting starts.
  5. How can I adapt a meeting agenda for virtual or remote meetings?
    ⁠Adapting a meeting agenda for virtual or remote meetings involves making adjustments so that the meeting runs smoothly online. To do this, keep the meeting agendas shorter and utilise video calls for better interaction. Specify who speaks at what time to maintain order, and ensure that everyone can easily access the agenda online. These steps help keep participants engaged, make communication effective, and facilitate organised discussions in the virtual meeting setting.

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