According to a study from Harvard Business Review, 7 out of 10 managers said meetings are inefficient and unproductive.
Maybe you have experienced such a meeting too. In the digital era, with more people than ever working remotely, meetings play a central role in the progress of the work. Companies that can run engaging meetings are those that win.
So… how do we take meetings from “meh” to magical?
Apart from a meeting software solution helping lubricate the nuts and bolts of a meeting, you can use a meeting agenda template to bring structure and help everyone stay on track.
In this article, we’ll give you ready-made simple meeting agenda templates that you can start using today. Let’s dive in!
A meeting agenda is a list of topics to be discussed or activities to be accomplished during the meeting. The agenda also lists the order in which these activities or topics will be taken up, as well as the amount of time allocated for each. In some cases, it can also include the person responsible for each agenda item.
The meeting agenda can be as simple as a few bullet points, or highly detailed with descriptions and expected outcomes for each agenda item, depending on the nature and purpose of the meeting.
Having an agenda for your meeting is important for the following reasons:
It ensures that there is a clear purpose and objective for the meeting
It gives the attendees advance notice of what will be discussed during the meeting and allows them to prepare
It provides clear expectations for what will happen before, during, and after the meeting
It helps keep the meeting on track and ensures all key topics get covered
It makes it easier to manage time during the meeting
What is a Good Meeting Agenda?
We’ve all experienced those endless meetings running around in circles or monologue-like meetings with low engagement that could have been summarized in an email.
Meetings can be incredibly valuable – but they always come with the tradeoff of putting productive output work on pause.
Here are our best tips for a good meeting agenda:
Make sure to have a clear topic for the meeting
Evaluate the time – both the total time and the time spent at each point – to respect everyone’s schedule
Less is more! People cannot focus for too long periods of time at once – if you have a lot to cover, it’s better to split the meeting in two
Regardless of the format of the meeting, there are a few steps you can follow when writing a meeting agenda. Start experimenting with these to see what works for you and your team!
1. Set an objective
First and foremost – why are you having the meeting? Could the information be distilled down to an email, or would a meeting be the most beneficial format? Step one in writing a meeting agenda is thus to identify a clear objective.
2. Identify the meeting type
When you know the objective of the meeting, it’s time to decide upon which format is best suited. It’s important that the participants know the type of meeting beforehand. Just imagine the feeling of being invited to what you thought was a team meeting but turned out to be a performance review..!
3. Ask for input
It can be helpful to ask the participants for input and questions beforehand to increase engagement. That way, everyone feels like they’re contributing, and what’s on one person’s mind is likely to be something others have wondered about as well.
4. Topics to address
Here, you list all the questions to be covered or points to address. If the list starts to get really long, consider hosting several meetings instead to keep everyone’s attention for the duration of the meeting.
5. Identify the purpose of each point
Meetings are a collaborative effort meant to solve a number of workplace challenges. Each point in the template should thus have a clear purpose. The purpose can be to
Ask for input
Make a decision
Managing meetings and making sure they don’t go over time can be challenging. Knowing which category each question falls into makes it easier to stay efficient and know when to move on to the next point.
6. Estimate the time required for each point
This makes for even more efficient meetings. It does require a thorough understanding of the topics at hand from you as a manager/meeting host – don’t be afraid of asking the participants for an estimation if you’re not an expert in the topic.
7. Decide who leads each point
Are you covering all the topics, or are the participants responsible for the distinct points? Make sure you know who is in charge of what ahead of the meeting.
8. Close the meeting with a recap
A summary of the topics covered helps participants remember the key points and know where to go.
We know you’re short of time and eager to get started with more efficient meetings now. So here are some meeting agenda templates to copy and paste for your own needs. The below simple meeting agenda templates are tailored to common types of meetings. Happy meetings!
A first job interview is for you as the recruiter and the candidate to get to know each other and mutually assess whether you want to proceed with the hiring process. Note that this meeting agenda template is for an initial interview and not technical interviews, where the aim is to evaluate the candidate’s skills.
Important to think about during an interview is to listen, establish yourself as the leader by deciding the pace of the interview, and notice the candidate's overall body language and energy.
Meeting agenda template - interview
Welcome the candidate. Exchange small talk to break the ice (limited to one or two sentences), such as asking where they are located or how their day is going.
Introduce yourself by name and title, and if applicable, other representants from your company participating in the interview.
Explain the outline for the interview
After the intro, you can use the following questions:
Tell me about yourself. (Notice what the candidate focuses on, their energy/level of confidence, and how good they are at promoting themselves)
Tell me about your experience with X (relevant job skill for the role – for example, SEO, customer service, or coding in React)
Then, give them a breather by sharing about
Your role and how it relates to them
Ask the candidate what they know about the company
Ask if they have any questions about the company/you
Work environment-related questions:
How do you handle stress?
Tell me about a challenge and how you overcame it.
Do you prefer to work alone or in a team?
What are you looking for in a work environment?
What would you expect from me as your manager?
What’s your salary indication?
Are you ready to (work remotely/commute/relocate)?
When could you start?
To wrap up:
Do you have any final questions?
Thank them and tell them you or someone from the HR team will get back shortly.
A basic meeting template can be used for meetings that don’t fall under any of the other categories.
Meeting agenda template - basic meeting
Notes from last meeting:
Note: Action items for meetings can be automatically assigned using a meeting software like Airgram. Airgram allows for easy task assignment to participants and exportation to standard notetaking software like Notion, Google Docs, and MS Word.
Daily standups are a common form of meeting for software projects working with agile methods/scrum methodology. This implies working on sprints and finishing tasks within a sprint (usually 1-2 weeks).
The meeting is often held as a brief round-table update (15 minutes) in the morning. Standing up is intentional to create a certain level of discomfort and urge participants to quickly get to the point.
The aim is not deep discussions or long-term planning – but to assure everyone is on the same page, is keeping up, and solves any problems or issues. Problem-solving in daily standups is often a quick procedure due to the frequent nature of the meetings.
You can download or open the daily standup template directly here. Alternatively, copy and paste these questions:
Meeting agenda template - daily standup
What did you work on yesterday?
What will you work on today?
Weekly team meetings evaluate last week’s performance and align everyone with the overall mission and goals for the coming week.
Download your weekly team meeting template here for free in MS Word, Google Doc, Notion, or Adobe, or use the below outline:
Meeting agenda template - weekly team meeting
Performance review of last week:
Data review (here, you can cover relevant KPIs and how they’re pacing week over week and year on year)
OKR review and roadblocks
Priorities this week:
New project kickoff and breakdown of tasks
Knowledge sharing, announcement of activities like workshops or team buildings
Onboarding of new members
Next steps for the team and deadline
Tasks for partners and deadline
Things to follow up for agency and deadline
When working with scrum methodology, the entire project is divided into chunks called sprints. A sprint planning meeting kicks off a new sprint and is usually held every week or every other week.
During such a meeting, the product owner, scrum master, and scrum team decide upon the overall goal for the coming sprint. They review the sprint retrospective meeting closing the last period (see below) and break down the overall goal into items with specific assignees.
The sprint retrospective is held after a finished sprint and is the period. The difference is that a sprint review focuses on product improvements, while a sprint retrospective is centered around process improvements.
Meeting agenda template - sprint planning
The last sprint retrospective meeting
What did we learn?
Which backlog items remain?
What is the team committed to completing during this sprint?
Product backlog items
Which product backlog items should we complete this sprint?
As mentioned above, a sprint review meeting closes a sprint. Developers demonstrate the new features they have worked on. Key stakeholders such as end users are welcome to participate.
Meeting agenda template - sprint review
Completed tasks – Go through what you have accomplished and be open to feedback
Product demo – The developers demonstrate new product features
Product backlog – The product owner checks whether the completed tasks correspond to the product backlog from the sprint planning meeting
Feedback – Everyone is invited to comment/provide feedback
Potential product backlog items – Are there any remaining backlog items?
A one-on-one meeting is held with a manager or team leader and an employee. The goal is primarily to provide a trusted platform to exchange feedback, and secondary, to check how the work is going. Alignment with long-term visions and goals is also part of a one-on-one meeting.
Meeting agenda template - one-on-one
Top of mind: Your highest priority to cover
Priorities since we last met: What have you been working on?
Priorities until the next meeting: Your main focus in the coming week
Things that went well
Difficulties: What gets in your way, and how you think I can help you out
Feedback: Recognition and suggestions for improvement
A performance review is held on a less frequent basis than many other types of meetings. It’s usually organized quarterly, twice a year, or yearly and aims to evaluate performance as a basis for salary estimation.
Different templates can be used. Here, we’ll go with a self-assessment form that encourages employees to reflect upon their achievements, and hopefully keep that behavior during the coming period.
Meeting agenda template - performance review
In what ways can you improve performance?
What actions are needed?
Are there any barriers holding you back from improving your performance?
What metric/KPI can we use to check that you’re on track?
How do you commit to holding yourself accountable to reach your goals?
These questions can be applied in different areas, such as technical skills, communication, collaborative skills, and so on. Employees can also be asked to rate the performance of their colleagues and managers.
A brainstorm is a more free-flowing form of meeting where team members can come up with new, creative ideas and solutions.
Meeting agenda template - brainstorm
Establish rules/guidelines for the session
Free brainstorm time
Narrow down the suggestions
A successful project management meeting leaves everyone motivated and ready to keep working together toward the common goal. It’s usually held with project managers and key stakeholders.
Meeting agenda template - project management
Project updates – everyone shares
Roadblocks and risks
Important milestones and deadlines
Since stakeholders often have a busy schedule, Airgram can make your project management meetings run smoothly and efficiently. Live transcription keeps everyone engaged, and time stamps make sure you’re moving forward and have time to cover everything.
A meeting starts well ahead of its official start time and date. There’s work to do before and after to ensure the meeting actually increases productivity and thus generates more revenue.
That said, it doesn’t have to be complicated. These simple free meeting agenda templates take out the guesswork and assist you in the prep work.
Copy and paste the template of your choice and notice the difference. For even more free templates in different formats, check out this page. Here’s to running powerful, efficient meetings that everyone appreciates (yes, even Karen at the UK department!).