Formatting a meeting agenda template involves establishing a structure for the presentation of information by topic, including the time to be devoted to each topic, its presenter or discussion leader, expectations regarding pre-meeting preparation, and the process and desired outcome for each topic. The ideal agenda template is clearly laid out and void of extra graphics or fancy styling, so that participants can quickly identify the topics to be addressed, as well as the purpose and expectations for each topic.
The meeting agenda provides a road map for the meeting, enabling participants to move effectively through each agenda item and arrive at its conclusion within the time they've committed. Topics that are easily or quickly addressed should be placed immediately following standard opening items such as introductions, a review of the agenda, and a review of prior meeting minutes or actions.
The ideal agenda template ensures that participants understand what is expected of them, not only in terms of pre-meeting preparation, but also during the meeting. Participants need to know if a topic is included simply as information sharing or if critique and input or a formal decision are expected of them during the meeting. Additionally, by laying out the process and time limits for the presentation of information, discussion, action or input, the agenda template helps participants remain focused and limits the time the presenter or meeting chair must take to bring participants back on topic.