Don’t Attend A Virtual Meeting Without A Detailed Agenda
Updated on Feb 28, 2023
With a move towards remote work, many people’s meetings are now virtual – carried out through video conferences rather than in stuffy rooms. Moving meetings online brings many benefits, but it can also lead to less rigid structures, such as throwing out the agenda because you’re “just jumping on a call.”
While that may not seem like a big deal at first, failing to include a detailed agenda for a video meeting can actually send things completely off the rails, wasting everyone’s time while getting very little done. We’re going to take a look at why agendas are important to video meetings, how they can keep you on track, how you can make sure you’re using them, and some tools to get the job done.
Why Video Meetings Go Off the Rails
There are many reasons that a video meeting might go off the rails, but it generally comes down to one thing – a lack of focus. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t paying attention, but rather that the meeting itself lacks direction, which is often due to having no agenda.
Without an agenda, there is no focused discussion. So, as you’ve no doubt experienced, you end up talking in circles without achieving much of anything at all. People aren’t sure what exactly they are supposed to be talking about or for how long; items get missed and important tasks aren’t followed up on.
What’s more, while video meetings may seem simpler than in-person meetings, they actually require more focus than face-to-face talks, meaning you’re more likely to get distracted and lose track of important topics than you would if you were sitting in the same room. So, even if you weren’t using agendas in your physical meetings, doing so in virtual meetings is still vitally important.
Why an Agenda Keeps Video Meetings on Track
Agendas are vital to video meetings because they keep things on track. A good agenda should outline what will be discussed as well as the amount of time each topic will take. Depending on the formality of an agenda, it should also include the time, location (online), and a list of participants.
The agenda’s informational items guide you through the meeting while leaving everything else at the (virtual) door. This means fewer tangents and a more streamlined call. The meeting organizer can easily track which topics have been covered, who is supposed to contribute, and the timings, so you don’t run over or be caught short.
Additionally, knowing what you are going to discuss in a meeting, thanks to an agenda, will inform who needs to be in a meeting. Far too often, team members are wasting time and resources in meetings that aren’t relevant to them – an agenda helps establish exactly who should be in a video meeting by outlining what will be discussed.
What’s more, an agenda also serves to document what will be done going forward. Firstly, through the use of action items, which are closed tasks that an individual or team should accomplish after the meeting. If there are ongoing action items, they may also be points on the agenda for updates.
In addition to specific action item tasks, the agenda also documents more general next steps on a team or company level. This creates an ongoing record of decisions made and the overall direction, which can be referred back to over time.
Ask for an Agenda Before Attending a Meeting
So, we know that agendas are important and that not having one can be really counter-productive, but what are you supposed to do if they aren’t standard practice for video meetings at your company? You need to ask for one!
If you are in charge of organizing meetings, it’s simple enough to start introducing agendas for virtual calls – you just start writing them ahead of meetings. However, if you’re not in a position to just write them yourself, you need to communicate your desire for an agenda to those in charge.
The best way to do so is to send the responsible party a message that is firm, clear, and to the point, outlining what you want and why. Writing an agenda for a video meeting is extra work, so whoever is responsible may not be too inclined to start. However, you can use the points we outlined above, in your own words, to explain the benefits of having an agenda for every meeting – and the potential pitfalls if you don’t!
Once you do start using agendas, the benefits will quickly speak for themselves, and agendas should start to become part of your meeting culture. If you build it into your wider company culture, then every meeting – even if it is only between two team members – will have some kind of agenda, making every call more productive and people more focused.
We’ve put a handy Spike Notes Template that can be used over and over again to keep your meetings on track. Download it by clicking here.
How to Write a Team Meeting Agenda
Whether you’re holding the meeting or not, understanding how to write a team meeting agenda is an excellent skill to have, giving you a comprehensive understanding of how a meeting should run. Below, we’ve included a step-by-step guide on how to write a team meeting agenda:
Start with the meeting's purpose
Begin the agenda by clearly stating the purpose of the meeting. For example, “The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the progress of project X and plan next steps.”
List the attendees
Next, make a list of the attendees who should be at the meeting. This will help ensure that everyone who needs to be there is present.
Set the time and location
Specify the time and location of the meeting to make sure everyone knows when and where it will take place.
Review the previous meeting's minutes
If this is not the first meeting of the project, include a brief review of the previous meeting’s minutes. This can help remind everyone of what was discussed and what action items were assigned.
Discuss project updates
Provide an update on the progress of the project. This could include the status of each task, any issues or roadblocks that have arisen, and any changes to the project timeline.
Review action items
Review any action items that were assigned in the previous meeting and ensure that they have been completed or are still in progress. If any action items have not been completed, discuss why, and determine a plan to address them.
Discuss new business
This section is for any new topics that need to be discussed that were not previously on the agenda.
Identify next steps
Determine what the next steps are for the project and assign action items to team members as needed.
Schedule the next meeting
Decide on a date and time for the next meeting and communicate it to all attendees.
End the meeting with a brief summary of what was discussed, any action items assigned, and the date and time of the next meeting.
Remember, a detailed meeting agenda can help keep your team on track and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Be sure to distribute the agenda to all attendees before the meeting to give them time to prepare and come ready to contribute.
Team Meeting Agenda Example
Discuss the progress of project X and plan next steps.
Project Manager, Web Designer, Social Media Manager, Financial Analyst.
Time and location
Tuesday, March 1st at 2:00 pm in Conference Room A.
Review of previous meeting minutes
Brief review of the action items assigned in the previous meeting and their status.
- The Web Designer will give an update on the progress of the website redesign.
- The Social Media Manager will provide an update on the social media marketing campaign.
- The Project Manager will discuss any issues or roadblocks that have arisen during the project.
- The Financial Analyst will give an update on the budget and spending.
Review of action items
- The Web Designer will report on the completion of the homepage redesign.
- The Social Media Manager will provide a report on the results of the social media campaign.
- The Project Manager will update the team on progress made to address any roadblocks.
- The Financial Analyst will discuss any budget issues that need to be addressed
- The Web Designer wants to discuss the possibility of adding a new feature to the website.
- The Social Media Manager has a new social media campaign idea to share.
- The team will prioritize the new feature suggestion and determine if it’s feasible.
- The team will discuss the Social Media Manager’s new social media campaign idea and decide if it should be implemented.
- The Project Manager will assign action items to each team member to complete before the next meeting.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 8th at 2:00 pm in Conference Room A.
The Project Manager will send out an email to summarize the meeting’s main points and assign the action items to each team member.
Spike Video Meetings – A Key to Success
Virtual meetings are a vital part of modern businesses, which is why Spike offers Video Meetings as part of the all-in-one productivity app. Spike gives you one-click video meetings right within your inbox. This means being able to go from fixing an agenda in your emails to talking in a video meeting without ever breaking your flow. There’s no swapping from app to app, and thus no context switching to distract and disengage you.
Spike Video Meetings are perfect for simple one-to-one calls or full team meetings, with screen sharing to get on the same page; simple access through 1-click meetings; and a range of Emoji Reactions to add a little personality.
What’s more, Spike Video Meetings aren’t limited to the team using Spike – you can share a link and in a single click, anyone can join the meeting whether they’re using Gmail, Outlook, or any other email provider. It allows for internal and external video calls with no apps to download, no time limits to look for, and no hassle for participants.
Spike even offers a unified Calendar that brings together all your schedules from all your accounts and displays them right within your inbox. From within this calendar, you can schedule video meetings, with links automatically included in event invites without the need for any extra apps or software.
Importantly, Spike also provides the tools to create and share agendas with your team. Online Notes are personal or collaborative notes right within your Inbox – add text, images, videos, code, to-do lists, and more all within a collaborative environment. You can share your Note with anyone (even if they don’t use Spike) to build out the best agenda possible and use the built-in chat and comments to really focus on what’s important to your meeting.
Additionally, with your video meeting agenda created and shared with Spike’s Online Notes, you can take meeting minutes as you go, which everyone can immediately see and act upon – whether it’s information for the record or an interactive action point list for a team to work through.
Better Meetings with Agendas in Spike
With more and more meetings taking place online, it’s vital that you find ways to stay focused, on track, and productive. Without an agenda, it’s easy to lose time on tangents or even include participants that have no need to be on a call. With an agenda, your meetings will run smoothly – hitting each point within the designated time and laying out clear action points and next steps to move forward.
Spike offers the tools for online Video Meetings and the space to create, share and collaborate on agendas before and after your call. This is in addition to the range of other features – from Voice Notes to automated email sorting – that will help take your productivity to the next level.
The future of email is here,
are you ready for it?
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