The Different Types of Meeting Agendas—and When to Use Each
Meetings Productivity

The Different Types of Meeting Agendas—and When to Use Each

Vibhanshu Dixit
Vibhanshu Dixit

Table of Contents

A meeting agenda is one of the simplest time management tools. Creating an organized agenda can be a game-changer to your meeting productivity.

Without a meeting agenda, there’s no clear purpose or goal—which ultimately wastes a lot of resources. Thus, it’s crucial to learn about different types of meeting agendas and how to implement them in your meetings.

In this guide, you’ll understand a meeting agenda, its benefits, types of meeting agendas, and use cases. Excited? Let’s start with the definition.

What is a Meeting Agenda?

A meeting agenda is a plan for a meeting. It contains the activities, goals, and topics to be discussed.

It acts as an enabler of meeting productivity. The idea behind using a meeting agenda is to give prior notice of what will be discussed, set the expectations, and maintain the focus of the meeting. Thus, a meeting agenda is one of the simplest time management tools.

The most basic agenda is in the form of bullet points. In contrast, detailed agendas include elaborated topic descriptions (e.g., action items, expected outcomes) for each item. It also contains reference materials (reports and proposals) for the participants to review prior to the meeting.

Some corporations use formal agendas, which include the timing and speaker information as a top agenda item. It’s necessary to build a meeting agenda if you want to maximize meeting productivity and participation.

Now that you know what the meeting agenda is, you might ask, “but who’s in charge of creating a meeting agenda?” The answer is the meeting organizer. The organizer is responsible for creating and maintaining the agenda.

But it’s the entire team’s responsibility to add talking points, suggestions, and specific action items needed. If only the manager adds his points, it’ll be a manager speech—not a collaborative meeting.

Benefits of Having a Meeting Agenda

benefits of meeting agenda

When your co-workers attend a meeting, they expect it to be meaningful and worth their time. They don’t want to pause their work just to engage in a chaotic conversation.

In fact, according to a survey by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the most common barrier to productivity was “wasteful” meetings.

An effective meeting agenda solves that by making sessions organized. Here are the reasons why a simple meeting agenda is highly recommended in meetings:

1.Increases Accountability: A focused meeting agenda empowers every teammate to contribute, leading to higher accountability. As they prepare the talking points and action items before the meeting, they will be primed with ideas, questions, and things to consider.

2. Provides a Clear Meeting Purpose: An agenda focuses on key meeting objectives, whether it’s a daily standup or a cross-team meeting. This helps teammates understand the why behind the meeting, which leads to a more profound understanding of the topics.

3. Reduces Distractions: An agenda acts as a lighthouse, guiding the entire group towards the goal. It reduces distractions as participants stay on track during discussion. Ultimately, this leads to less burnout and higher meeting productivity.

4. Acts as a Refresher: Do you remember the meeting you had last Friday? What was discussed, and what were the decisions made? Probably tough to recall. But by reviewing the meeting agenda, you can get a clear overview of the last meeting’s highlights. An agenda is a perfect refresher for past meetings.

5. Makes Meeting Actionable: All the required discussions just finished, and the meeting is now ending. What’s next? What responsibilities are assigned and to which person? A well-crafted meeting agenda helps everyone understand their set of responsibilities and next steps.

What are the Different Types of Meeting Agendas?  

Before jumping into the types of meeting agendas, take a look at what types of information are typically included on a meeting agenda:

  • Name of the participants
  • Introduction to the meeting agenda
  • Presentation on the task/project
  • Progress review & updates on action items
  • Cross-collaboration (open discussion)
  • Answering questions from participants
  • Next steps & action items to complete before the next meeting

These types of meeting agenda items are the core part of any type of agenda. Whenever you’re creating an agenda, ensure you include these with clarity.

Now let’s look at different types of meeting agendas companies use. These are usually designed for larger meetings because 1:1 discussions don't need a strict plan.

Below you’ll find templates so you can turn your following in-house or remote meeting into a productive jam:

Staff Meeting Agenda

This type of meeting agenda offers great flexibility—use it for different staff meetings (e.g., sales, marketing, product). Staff meeting agenda is perfect when you’re conducting casual meetings or daily standups.

Example: Staff Meeting Agenda

  • List of attendees
  • Agenda overview-meeting goal (e.g., discuss feature implementation)
  • Agenda items-Updates, discussions, and decisions made
  • Update-Review product backlog
  • Discussion-Brainstorming the effect of product backlog on release time
  • Decision-Decide the priority of accomplishing tasks
  • Action items for next meeting

Internal Team Meeting Agenda

An internal team meeting is informal primarily because it’s inside the organization. But it consists of more participants than staff meetings.

This meeting happens once a week to overview the team's performance. Thus, having a clear meeting agenda for a team meeting helps in making the discussion focused. Look at the example below to find out what is included in this meeting agenda.

Example: Internal Team Meeting Agenda

  • Meeting type, date, and time
  • List of attendees
  • Agenda overview (meeting goals and discussion topics)
  • Recognition
  • Presentation or company update (if needed)
  • Team leader updates – Are any processes changing? Have clients been taken on/left?
  • Roundtable – Each colleague: name, recent wins, currently working on, anything they need help with.
  • Problem-solving session – Anything the team wants to add, Q&A session, brainstorming time
  • Action items for next meeting

Business Meeting Agenda

This type of meeting agenda covers different topics around the business's needs. Business meetings are where some of the most important decisions, as an increase in budgets or client expansion, take place.

This agenda helps participants overview the growth of business as a whole rather than a specific project.

Example: Business meeting agenda

  • Meeting type, date, and time
  • List of attendees
  • Agenda Overview & meeting goals, e.g., discuss business growth
  • Presentation (if needed)
  • Action item review – Review status of last meeting’s action items
  • Action items
  • Responsibilities
  • Due date
  • Overview of business—Review KPIs, main objectives
  • Progress report
  • Key points – Final decisions
  • Action items for next meeting

Formal Meeting Agenda

A formal meeting agenda follows a strict and traditional meeting structure. This type of meeting is becoming increasingly rare in companies; however, community meetings and club meetings still conduct it.

Example: Formal Meeting Agenda

Company department/name

Meeting agenda

  • Meeting facilitator (Name)
  • Invitees: List of attendees
  • Call to order – Meeting type, date, and time. Also, write information such as chairperson’s name and secretary’s name
  • Roll call
  • Voting members
  • Guests
  • Members not in attendance
  • Approval of minutes from the last meeting
  • Officer’s reports
  • Open issues (Description of issues)
  • New business (Description of new business)
  • Motions. For instance,  [motion name] by [name] supported by [name]. This motion was [carried or rejected] with [X] in favor and [Y] against.
  • Key announcements
  • Adjournment

Board Meeting Agenda

A board meeting agenda is more formal than any other type of meeting agendas. It outlines the core business goals and growth objectives. Sometimes it can also include discussions on how the business can improve and grow to hit targets.

Board meetings for MNCs include many members from across the globe, making global office communication challenging.

Thus, it’s necessary to form a layout of meeting goals and expectations. This type of meeting agenda helps record the board members’ attendance and captures notes on each agenda item, stakeholders, and deliverables.

Example: Board Meeting Agenda

Company department/name

Meeting agenda

  • Meeting facilitator name
  • Meeting overview & key points to be discussed in the meeting
  • Call to order – Meeting type, date, and time
  • Roll call
  • Voting members
  • Guests
  • Members not in attendance
  • Approval of minutes from the last meeting
  • Committee reports
  • Executive director
  • Finance director
  • Nominating committee
  • Governance committee
  • Public relations committee
  • Financial reports
  • New business (Description of new business)
  • Old business (Description of old business)
  • Department updates  (Key updates)
  • Key announcements
  • Adjournment

Conclusion

Remember the last time you regretted attending a meeting?

Chances are it’s because of a lack of direction in the discussion. The participants were talking without having a clear sense of purpose in mind.

Having a well-curated meeting agenda solves this exact problem. The best part is that you can create suitable meeting agendas for every meeting (board meetings, staff meetings, or internal team meetings).


Image illustrations by Storyset

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