Businesses can’t run without meetings. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. They happen internally, externally, with clients, stakeholders, vendors…and the list goes on. With the scope and frequency of online conference knowing no limits at the present time, being prepared is a non-negotiable. With AI based meeting tools like AIRA, there’s so much that you can accomplish from your meetings.
A very important part of preparing for meetings is having meeting documents ready beforehand. This holds all the more relevant when we’re hopping on and off multiple online meetings throughout the day. Going into a meeting well prepared helps you accomplish so more out of it- with a game plan, you can obtain better results, both during and after the meeting.
Undoubtedly, the document you need the most before you start your meeting is the agenda. Yes, you heard it right. What is a meeting agenda, and why should you even bother creating one? We’ll answer that and more here, so go on reading. On a sidenote, with online meetings just exploding our work days, and beyond, you may want to check out AI meeting tools like AIRA. These tools can very intelligently record, transcribe and analyse your meetings, elevating your online conference experience to truly next level.
Let’s look at some of the ways in which preparing a meeting agenda can help us.
1. Sets a clear direction to your meeting
Ever set out from home without knowing where to get at? Unless you are in a mood to steer away on the freeway and zone out, there will always be a destination you want to go towards. A meeting agenda is a document that serves just this purpose. If you want to lend a firm direction to your meeting, and avoid straying off topic, have the agenda prepared in advance. Additionally, if your meeting goes into all random directions, the participants will get disengaged and their value addition to the meeting might get diluted. What’s even worse is when they feel they wasted time staying on through an unfocused meeting, with little motivation to join the next
2. Helps participants prepare for the meeting
Often times, participants enter into a meeting only to discover items they’re either not involved with, or don’t have updates about. With highly collaborative and at the same time distributed teams, there could be tasks, or parts of projects that a participating member might not have all details about.
It is thus crucial to prepare and circulate and agenda well in advance, so that all participants know the discussion point of the meeting, any related backdrop, and if they need to research any topics before hand to contribute effectively. Also, if the meeting happens to be one in a series of recurring meetings, the agenda also encapsulates the action items generated through action item software that emerged from previous meetings and where they stand currently.
Be sure to check out intelligent AI based online meeting tools like AIRA that can not only generate meeting notes for you, but also analyse what was discussed in your online conference. Below is a diagram that captures the various components of a typical weekly stats meeting
3. Enables participants to provide feedback on the content and course of the meeting
The ultimate objective of a meeting is to discuss topics that are relevant, and fall under the purview of people who will attend it. When the meeting planner curates and shares the agenda with the attendees beforehand, it allows them to review the topics that will be discussed. They can, in turn, share feedback as appropriate.
This could entail so many different things. Some scenarios include irrelevant topics, addition of more topics, adding relevant team members etc., updates from past meetings in the series etc. As such, having an elaborate meeting agenda prepared and circulated before your online conference can eliminate random changes, or adjustments during the actual meeting
4. Helps assign roles to participants
The meeting document can also assign roles to participants. If you’ve attended meetings, you’d know that having a facilitator guide the discussion can help everyone from straying off topic, and also ensure all sides of the issue are discussed without any bias. Another such role is that of a scribe, who’s responsible for capturing key ideas, meeting highlights, notes etc. This clearly is a role not many people are enthusiastic about. We therefore recommend using AI based meeting tools like AIRA. It can record, transcribe, and analyse your online conference.
5. Helps identify a decision-making process that will be used in the meeting
Oftentimes, meetings are conducted to arrive at a consensus, or a decision of some sort. People at various levels of the organizational hierarchy have varied degrees of authority. Let’s consider a board meeting for instance. There are some standard voting mechanisms that are applied to arrive at a decision. The meeting agenda can identify in advance what mode of voting will be adopted. It can list out options like Majority vote, Group consensus, Leader’s choice etc.
A bonus item in this article is the below meeting checklist, which can come in handy while preparing for your next meeting
In conclusion, preparing for your online meeting/ online conference doesn’t have to be a Herculean task. If you follow the simple guidelines above, preparing an agenda can be quite easy. Additionally, if you are looking to optimize your online meetings even further, consider AI based meeting tools like AIRA. You can request a demo here.