How To Write a Friendly Agenda
When I first started my professional career, an agenda seemed like an awful formal and pretentious thing to do. I hated doing it. There was something that felt weird about being so structured. Somewhat robotic.
Dictating what a conversation would hold felt unnatural. I remember, in my corporate training, being told I was too friendly in my agenda.
But then I realised later in life that an agenda actually meant you were respecting the person you are meeting and (equally as important) their time. It manages time, sets expectations and allows them to add anything in that they feel is necessary. Which makes them feel respected too.
An agenda is merely honouring time. But the question remains, how can you write a successful agenda? To be fitting with the blog post, here is what we are going to cover:
-Wording and Structure
Send it with enough time. Unless you are setting the meeting the day before, do not leave the agenda to the day before. Ideally, you will send it at the time of organising the meeting, as it is fresh in your mind, not to mention efficient and time effective.
Setting a time
On the same sort of theme, it is essential to set a time limit. If you let them, meetings can run for hours on end. I am sure you know this.
It’s not what you say, its the way you say it…
I always used to think that setting an agenda with a time frame would come across rude or harsh like I didn't have enough time for them, but in most cases people are thankful. It allows them (and you) to plan the rest of the day.
Wording and Structure
Prioritise. Prioritise the agenda in order of importance, so that you deal with the most important things first, just in case you do run over (the probability of running over on time is reduced by setting an agenda but not eliminated).
Do you know what else? The main takeaway that I want you to take from this, it is ok to be friendly in your agenda. Which totally contradicts my corporate training, but I think in most cases (there are a few exceptions of course) most people like the friendly informal style.
So here is an example:
I hope you are having a great day/evening.
I can't wait to meet you/talk to you on (insert date and time).
So I just wanted to run through a few things that I plan to go over in our meeting/session. With this agenda in mind, I expect our session/ meeting to take around (insert time). Have you ever gone into a meeting with no idea as to how long it will take? This point takes away the guesswork it allows the other person to plan their day, but also speak up if the time does not meet their expectations. Remember, communication is key.
Bonus tip. If you use Calendly, you can pre-set the time so everyone will already know how long something should take.
Run through points in order of priority and in bullet points so that it easy to read. Like we mentioned, be sure to write the most important things first so that they are prioritised in the meeting.
Would you like to add anything or change anything? The reason that this is a question over saying, 'let me know if you want to make any changes' is because it puts the ball in their court. You are leaving it open for things to be added, it is less dictating.
I look forward to seeing/chatting/speaking to you then.
(Insert your name).
This template is so informal, and that is why I like it. It gets to the point, and it allows the recipient to add anything if they want, and everyone ends up being on the same page — the essential point of an agenda.
So all in all, I think the agenda is worthy of a place in your system. As with most things, it is all about putting your own creative spin on these processes so that people get to see your personality shine through. Have fun with it!
About the author
Chloe Slade is the Marketing Manager here at Cone and focuses on creating content that brings business and lifestyle together. Chloe is a keen makeup lover, foodie and loves to work from luxurious destinations.