Agenda overload is the root cause of many meeting dysfunctions. Prioritizing helps people prepare and ensures that the right people attend.
We’ve all been there. The meeting agenda is vastly overloaded with timeframes that are unrealistic. Some of the agenda items refer to documents that require thought as well as discussion. Other agenda items simply cannot be dealt with until other issues have been resolved.
What’s Really Going On?
When we are presented with overloaded agendas chances are the organization is under extreme time pressures and feels the need to address all of its issues in a single meeting. As well, there may not be a specific goal for the meeting in which to assess whether an item is really a priority.
Inexperienced managers fail to provide their teams with effective meeting structures. They get caught up in the demands of the workloads then fail to help their teams identify the overall purpose of their meetings.
Strategies for Meeting Success
To avoid agenda overload, do some pre-meeting research beforehand to determine which issues are the most pressing and need immediate attention. Set up sub-committees that can drill down on more complex issues then send out minutes of their discussions to the team before scheduled meetings. As well, create plans for dealing with documents that require more time and attention. Perhaps these items can be dealt with outside of meetings by email and other methods?
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Technology & Business Blogger