Meeting & Chat Zoom Workplace

7 meeting agenda examples, templates, and how to create your own

As James T. Kirk, heroic captain of the USS Enterprise, once said, “A meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted.” Too often, meetings drift off-topic, lack clear goals, and end with a sense of time lost rather than value gained. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

12 min read

Updated on May 24, 2024

Published on May 24, 2024

Three smiling, casually-dressed professionals surrounding a conference room in a modern office space

An agenda transforms a meeting from an aimless time-drain into a focused, outcome-driven event, which is especially important for small businesses where time and resources are at a premium. It sets clear expectations, guides the conversation, and keeps everyone focused on the goals at hand.

In this post, we’ll share practical meeting agenda examples and templates to help you revolutionize your meetings, from weekly check-ins to larger project kickoffs. We’ll also dive into best practices for creating and using meeting agendas to make your meetings more focused, productive, and valuable for all attendees.

Why create an agenda for every meeting?

Meetings are an investment of your team’s time, and an agenda is the best way to get a positive return on that investment. Without an agenda, meetings tend to be unproductive and leave attendees frustrated. Here are a few specific reasons why creating an agenda for each meeting is so important:

  • Keeps everyone on the same page: An agenda provides an outline of the topics you plan to discuss and the order in which you’ll address them. This helps provide all attendees with the meeting’s purpose, expected outcomes, and their role in achieving those goals.
  • Enables preparation: With an agenda sent out ahead of time, attendees can prepare for the meeting. They can gather their thoughts around each topic of discussion and even do some pre-reading if needed. This results in more constructive conversations and input during the actual meeting.
  • Keeps the meeting focused: The meeting organizer can allocate time limits for each topic to keep the conversation on schedule. If certain discussions start to drag on, the agenda provides an easy reference point to table that topic and move on to the next item.
  • Provides follow-up guidance: You can use an agenda after the meeting to determine any follow-up actions or next steps. Attendees can look back at the agenda to identify owners and deadlines for any tasks assigned during the meeting.

Meeting agenda format: What to include

The level of detail and specific items in your agenda will vary depending on the type of meeting, but in general, you’ll want to include the following:

  • Meeting goal: Explain why you're meeting and what you aim to accomplish. Be specific about discussion topics and desired outcomes. For example, “Discuss Q3 marketing strategies and decide on next steps.”
  • Date, time, and location: It may seem obvious, but don’t forget the basics! Include the date, start and end times, and exact meeting spot, whether that’s in person or virtual. This is particularly important for external meetings, like those with clients or partners.
  • Attendees: List everyone who should be present. Don’t forget to note if there are any required or optional guests.
  • Agenda items: Outline each topic you want to cover in order of importance along with estimated discussion times. For example:
    • Q3 marketing strategy (30 mins)
    • New product designs (45 mins)
    • Open discussion (15 mins)
  • Time allocation: To keep the meeting on track, assign a time limit for each item. Allocate more time for complex topics and leave some buffer room in case discussions run over.
  • Responsible parties: Assign someone to lead each discussion item. This helps ensure all key points are covered and that a plan is in place for follow-up actions.
  • Relevant pre-reads: Attach or link to any documents attendees should review before the meeting. Briefly summarize key highlights or discussion points in the agenda to jog memories and provide context.
  • Action items: Leave space under each discussion item to capture follow-up actions, owners, and deadlines. Review all action items at the end of the meeting to make sure nothing is missed and everyone is on the same page regarding next steps.
  • Additional notes: Leave room for attendees to note questions, ideas, or thoughts to revisit later. An open space on the agenda allows for flexibility in discussions.

Following this basic structure will result in an organized, easy-to-follow meeting agenda for you and your attendees. Be sure to distribute the agenda before the meeting to allow for preparation and keep everyone focused on the priorities at hand.

7 meeting agenda examples + templates

Coming up with a solid meeting agenda isn’t rocket science. Still, having a template to build from can make your job much easier. In this section, we’re sharing seven meeting agenda examples along with free templates to help make your meetings more productive.

1. One-on-one meeting agenda

A one-on-one meeting agenda template

A one-on-one meeting is a scheduled conversation between two individuals. It provides a dedicated space to discuss projects, give and receive feedback, build relationships, and address concerns. One-on-ones can occur in various contexts, including manager-employee relationships, client interactions, mentoring, or peer-to-peer connections.

Here are some tips for planning a one-on-one meeting:

  • Take a few minutes to chat about non-work related topics and build rapport. Keep things positive and supportive.
  • While a structure is important, allow space for important topics to surface naturally.
  • Use a shared document or tool to maintain the agenda, allowing you both to add items as needed.

download one-on-one meeting template

2. Team meeting agenda

A team meeting agenda template

A team meeting is a regularly scheduled gathering of members within a specific team or department. It focuses on updates, problem-solving, goal alignment, decision-making, and fostering collaboration across the team. In remote and hybrid settings, team meetings also present a valuable opportunity for connection and team building.

Here are some tips for planning a team meeting:

  • Keep the conversation focused on items the whole team should or may want to know rather than devoting time to just one or a few team members’ specific projects or professional development.
  • Create a rotation for team members to “own” the agenda for each meeting to encourage preparation and participation.
  • If the meeting’s content can be conveyed through an email or quick chat, use those channels. Don’t schedule a meeting purely out of habit.

Download team meeting template

3. Project kickoff meeting agenda

A project kickoff meeting agenda template

A project kickoff meeting formally launches a new project, aligning the project team, stakeholders, and any clients involved. It sets a shared vision for the project and clarifies goals, roles, expectations, and timelines. A good kickoff agenda sets the right collaborative tone for the work ahead.

Here are some tips for planning a project kickoff meeting:

  • Ensure adequate time for everyone to introduce themselves and their roles, especially if team members or stakeholders haven’t been introduced to one another.
  • Clearly outline the project’s major deliverables and their timelines.
  • Allow ample time for participants to ask questions and clarify any uncertainties.

Download project kickoff meeting template

4. Retrospective meeting agenda

A retrospective meeting agenda template

A retrospective meeting is held at the end of a project or a specific phase to go over the things that went well, the things that didn’t, and what the team can do better next time. The goal is to learn from the experience and apply those lessons to future projects.

Here are some tips for planning a retrospective meeting:

  • Create a safe space for honest reflection. Set a positive and solutions-oriented tone to prevent the meeting from devolving into a blame session. 
  • Schedule the meeting relatively close to the end of the project or iteration being discussed so that it’s still fresh in people’s minds.
  • End the meeting on a positive note, reinforcing the team’s strengths and the valuable lessons learned.

Download the retrospective meeting template

5. Leadership meeting agenda

A leadership meeting agenda template

A leadership meeting brings together senior managers, executives, and other key decision-makers to discuss strategic issues impacting an organization’s overall direction. These meetings focus on big-picture goals, high-level decision-making, resource allocation, and cross-departmental alignment.

Here are some tips for planning a leadership meeting:

  • To enable accountability and maintain momentum, begin the meeting by reviewing the status of action items from the previous leadership meeting.
  • Base agenda items on reliable data and metrics, not solely on opinions.
  • Invite open debate and input from all leadership members to foster better solutions.

Download leadership meeting template

6. Daily scrum meeting agenda

A daily scrum meeting agenda template

A daily scrum meeting, also known as a stand-up meeting, is a brief daily team gathering to synchronize efforts, share progress, and plan for the day ahead. The meeting is typically timeboxed to 15 minutes and held at the same time and place each day. The core structure of the daily scrum involves all team members answering three questions:

  1. What did I accomplish yesterday?
  2. What will I work on today?
  3. Are there any obstacles in my way?

Here are some tips for planning a daily scrum meeting:

  • If possible, encourage participants to stand during the meeting to keep it fast-paced.
  • Don't let problem-solving derail the scrum. Schedule separate follow-up discussions for any complex issues.
  • If using a physical or digital task board, update it during the meeting to reflect the current status of tasks and progress.

Download daily scrum meeting template

7. All-hands meeting agenda

An all-hands meeting agenda template

An all-hands meeting, also known as a town hall meeting, is a gathering of an entire organization or company to share important updates, celebrate successes, and promote transparency and alignment. These meetings are typically held on a regular basis, such as monthly or quarterly.

Here are some tips for planning an all-hands meeting:

  • Consider what you want attendees to remember once they’ve returned to their desks or what habits you want them to change.
  • Ask employees to share comments, concerns, or questions and address them live during the meeting. This helps create a culture of transparency, promotes open communication, and prevents staff from feeling isolated.
  • Carefully consider which activities and speakers would be best received by the entire organization.

Download all-hands meeting template

How to write a meeting agenda in 5 steps

To keep your meeting on track, you’ll need a solid agenda. Take the time to create a thoughtful agenda by following these five steps:

1. Define the meeting’s objective 

When building an agenda, think about why you are having the meeting to begin with. Start by identifying why the meeting is necessary, what outcomes you expect, and how it aligns with broader goals or projects. Clearly articulating the objective helps set the tone for the meeting, guides discussions toward achieving desired results, and enables participants to prepare effectively.

When defining your meeting’s objective, consider questions like:

  • What problem are we trying to solve?
  • What decisions do we need to make?
  • What information do we need to share?

Focusing on a well-defined objective can increase productivity, engagement, and accountability during the meeting. Make sure this information is communicated clearly in your agenda so attendees know what to expect and can come prepared.

2. Determine who needs to attend

Once you’ve set the objective, decide who should be included in the meeting. Think about the topics you plan to discuss and who will be directly impacted or needs to provide input. Don’t make the mistake of inviting more people than necessary, as this can make the meeting inefficient and difficult to facilitate.

As you put together the invite list, consider:

  • Who has information or expertise that will be useful in the discussion?
  • Who will be responsible for key deliverables or tasks after the meeting?
  • Who needs to be informed or give sign-off on any decisions?
  • Are there any groups indirectly impacted that should have a representative present?

Once you have a draft list, review it with others who have a broad view of the topics and objectives. They may identify some key players you overlooked or suggest removing some members to keep the group focused and productive.

3. Gather input from team members

Ask team members for suggestions on topics they’d like to see covered in the upcoming meeting. This will make them feel valued and help ensure important discussion points aren’t left out.

Including team members in shaping the agenda, even in a small way, leads to more engaging and productive meetings. People will walk in knowing their voices have already been heard and feel invested in contributing to the conversation. Meetings become collaborative rather than top-down. Most importantly, you’ll gain valuable insights into what really matters to your team.

4. Prioritize agenda items

When putting together your meeting agenda, arrange the topics in order of importance. The issues that need immediate attention should be at the top. If certain topics are time-sensitive, put those first so you’re sure to address them. Also, keep in mind that critical team members may have time constraints and might need to leave the meeting early. Prioritize discussions that specifically require their input or decision-making early in the agenda.

As the meeting organizer, you likely have a sense of which issues will generate the most discussion or debate. Place those higher on the agenda so they get the attention they deserve.

If there are any controversial issues, you may want to list them later. This can help avoid heated debates that derail the entire meeting. By addressing the higher priority and time-sensitive topics first, people may be in a better mindset to have a productive discussion on those trickier issues.

Estimate realistic time allocations for each agenda item. Factor in activities like topic introduction, discussions, decision-making, action item agreement, and potential technology issues. Avoid underestimating how much time is needed, as it can lead to rushed decisions and inefficiencies.

Pro tip: Plan for 20% more time than you anticipate needing for each topic. Including buffer time helps accommodate thorough discussions, encourages participation, and prevents feeling rushed during the meeting.

5. Assign clear roles and responsibilities

Before the meeting even starts, decide who will introduce and guide the discussion for each agenda item. Let each person know they will be leading their assigned topic and confirm they are prepared.

For example, if discussing a new product launch, assign the product manager to lead that section. If brainstorming marketing campaigns, tap your creative director to spearhead the conversation.

Each facilitator should:

  • Start with a quick introduction or recap of the issue.
  • Come prepared with questions to pose to the group.
  • Keep the conversation on track and within the scheduled timeframe.
  • Provide a brief summary of any conclusions, next steps, or follow-up items before moving to the next agenda item.

Evenly distribute additional duties, such as taking notes and timekeeping. Make sure responsibilities are balanced and match each individual’s area of expertise. Your team will appreciate the clarity and ability to contribute in meaningful ways.

Enhance your meeting productivity with Zoom

An organized agenda is the foundation of productive meetings, but leveraging the right meeting software can take your sessions to the next level. Zoom Workplace offers a versatile platform for virtual meetings, webinars, and beyond. Features like screen sharing, recording, collaborative whiteboarding, and breakout rooms keep your meetings dynamic and engaging. Zoom AI Companion generates a summary of key topics, decisions and action items that can take the place of manual note-taking, allowing you to stay focused on the discussion. For added efficiency, create and share meeting agendas directly in Notes to keep everyone aligned before, during, and after the meeting.

By combining a clear agenda with the power of Zoom Workplace, you can transform your meetings from time-consuming necessities into efficient and collaborative springboards for success. Explore Zoom Workplace features and see how we can streamline your meetings and help your team to achieve more together.

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