Agenda Item Planning for Maximum Efficiency


A meeting without proper agenda item planning is a breeding ground room for disorganized and unstructured discussion and off-topic conversation. Unplanned meeting agendas mean that attendees are unprepared and confused about what the meeting will entail. This leads to unclear meeting goals and we can all agree that this leads to wasted time, energy and resources.

Furthermore, this results in:

  1. Loss of employee time
  2. Prolonged decision cycles
  3. Poor decision-making alignment
  4. Resentment and frustration towards the office management
  5. Inefficient work plan
  6. Low employee engagement

Harvard Business Review in agreement with HR Direct maintains that professionals and managers lose 30% of their time in a meeting which translates to about 31 hours or four working days every month in an ineffective meeting. According to the aforementioned source, 95% of meeting attendees lose focus and miss parts of the meeting. This is especially true because of the loss of stamina, brainpower and energy arising from useless meetings.

Planning effective meeting agenda items well in advance enhances team collaboration, efficiency, productivity and efficient use of everyone’s time. An effective meeting agenda sets clear expectations, helps attendees prepare in advance and directs focus to ensure the meeting remains on track.


What is an agenda item?

A meeting agenda item represents the talking point, action item, topics and goal of a meeting.

Meeting agenda items are invaluable tools that can make or break the success of your meeting session. The meeting agenda should have a rational purpose and must have relevant information to guide participants.

Agenda for regular meetings

Not every meeting requires a custom-developed agenda as most employees usually have regularly scheduled departmental or company meetings. Each team will need to adopt a standard approach for their meeting for an ongoing project. Regular meetings could have standard agenda items, such as relevant informational items, example: the manager updating the team on the outcomes of a board meeting.


Plan purposeful agenda items

Action items

The various agenda items should include issues you want the team members to review at regular catch-ups. Such issues may include budget and performance for the period, gaps/stumbling blocks and ongoing improvement areas for the entire team.

FORWARD planning

This includes items the group would plan for in advance. These could be short-term goals for the next month or plans to assist fellow employees in an upcoming project.

Things to include on a regular meeting agenda

You can get a positive outcome from your regular meeting agenda when you include these basic agenda items.

  • Greetings and warm-up: a brief icebreaker may serve well even in an online meeting, depending on the frequency of the meeting.
  • Review the purpose of the meeting agenda and expected outcomes.
  • Review, correct where possible and approve the minutes of the previous meeting.
  • Provide company and departmental information your team needs.
  • Review progress on action items, action plans, commitments and goals.
  • Discuss and decide on agenda items.
  • Identify and decide on the next steps.
  • Identify the purpose, agenda and potential outcome of the next meeting.
  • Review commitments made during the meeting.

Planning the various agenda items starts by using the right productivity tool. This will give your meeting a structure to enhance transparency and accountability and improve clear meeting takeaways.

For instance, if you’ve realized that teams are mismanaging their time and delivering late on deadlines, TimeTrack’s Timesheet will help give you a clear and authentic real-time overview. With this information you can present clear data to the team and identify steps for more efficient time management.


TimeTrack: Timesheet and a terminal clock

Reasons you should use a meeting agenda

Provides enough time for attendees to plan

  • A perfectly crafted meeting agenda gives attendees time to prepare in advance and come up with essential information for a productive meeting.

Give structure to a meeting

  • Meeting agendas eliminate distractions and serve as a guide for productive discussion at meetings.

Encourages trust

  • When your team sees that you have a plan for their time, they will place their trust in you. The reason is simple; participants believe you respect their time by outlining the agenda before the meeting.

Promotes efficiency

  • A meeting with the correct agenda items improves efficiency because it allows meeting attendees to plan their time and focus on the most important issue.

Increases accountability

  • Promote personal accountability amongst the team by assigning action items, discussion topics and responsibilities from meeting agendas. Allow the team and committee to review their assignments and tasks in subsequent meetings. This also ensures that everyone stays focused on the issues at hand, increasing the accountability of team members.

Enhances professionalism

Meeting agendas stimulate professionalism and orderliness while enhancing communication and helping the meeting participants meet their clear expectations.

Good agenda item planning for team meetings

The steps highlighted below serve as a guide to help you create a powerful meeting agenda.

Meeting goals

The first part of a successful meeting and agenda setting is knowing what you want out of the meeting. A simple goal communicates the reason for the meeting and what you hope to achieve.

Solicit input

In order to increase engagement and full participation, ask the team for their input. This is part of what makes brainstorming and planning so very important. Time permitting, open up the meeting to questions, issues, solutions and input that will ultimately lead to improved productivity.

Clear discussion points

Ensure that meeting discussion points are clear. Digressions during meetings are common but this is the reason you must state the purpose of the meeting at the top of the agenda.

If you’re planning a meeting with a large number of participants, make sure that the topics of discussion are applicable to everyone. Where you have information for a group or a single participant, remove it from group information. This keeps attendees focused on what applies to them.

Who leads the discussion?

Those who lead discussions are not always facilitators. Outside of the key guests, try to include anyone who might lead a discussion in the agenda.

Give room for comments and concerns

It is important to ask attendees their questions and comments at the end of the meeting. This helps keep meetings organized. This means you will create time for the end of the discussion.

Examples of agenda items

The details below serve as examples of an agenda item.

  1. Title of meeting: Weekly team meeting
  2. Date, place and time: 5 December, Boardroom, 3pm
  3. Meeting lead: Lisa Smith
  4. Attendees: All marketing team
  5. Meeting goal: To deliberate on project updates, extra assignments for new members and goals for the week.


  • Each team member has 2 minutes to share progress updates on their projects.
  • Update on completed projects.
  • Update on repetitive tasks and processes.
  • Adjust team goals to accommodate the current financial reality.
  • Discussion on new position that’s opened up.
  • Schedule 3 meetings for a new sales prospect.
  • Schedule and execute trial tasks with new employees.
  • Input and suggestions from team members.
  • Review goals for next week.
  • Meeting end.

Efficient agenda item planning

Planning an effective meeting with a purpose requires everything to move towards solving a particular issue. The guide below serves as a guide for efficient agenda item planning.

Make the purpose and process clear

If you find yourself in a position to lead a meeting, you must plan the agenda. If you are leading someone’s meeting, ensure that you meet with the conveners well in advance. Whatever stage of the meeting you are in, the most important thing is to design an effective meeting with a rational purpose.

Communicate the agenda

Once the purpose of the meeting is clear, communicate with the participants and plan strategies to encourage their participation. Send the agenda well in advance to give attendees time to think through the issues.

Define results

What results does your team intend to accomplish at the end of the meeting? Write it down. Think about the reason for the meeting. Why should the team meet?

Identify the timeframe for the meeting

What type of meeting time is required to accomplish the goals? Varying timeframes serve different purposes. From the first activity, including check-ins, match the needed time to what’s needed to be accomplished as well as the frequency of meetings.

This is where leveraging technology is vital. TimeTrack Appointment Planner allows managers to set time and dates while assigning tasks to employees, including location and extra instructions. This is a valuable tool in big companies or industries where employees may be in scattered locations and working in hybrid situations.


TimeTrack Appointment Planner

Describe the topics of the meeting

List the topics you need to cover to achieve the results. What should be done? In what order should they be arranged? What outcomes do you want for each topic? What information will the team need to decide? Who will decide? Coming up with answers to these questions will help achieve the desired result through effective planning.

Set time limits for topics

What total time is available for the meeting? A proper understanding of time on task is important here because it gives you an overview of your team’s time resources for meetings. This will help you to assign realistic time slots for each agenda item. Where no timeframe has been suggested before the start of the meeting, the committee can suggest the next steps.


We can all agree that meetings are a necessary evil in the workplace. Yes, they are frequently long-winded and can eat into valuable productive time, but if you commit to planning an efficient agenda item menu, meetings will move seamlessly and with more positive outcomes.

TimeTrack can certainly help automate these processes and much more for optimized time management. Test TimeTrack for free.