More than 25 million meetings are conducted every day, the majority of which are completely unproductive. Unproductive meetings lead to corporate waste to the tune of $37 billion per year. Most business gurus believe the majority of meetings are a waste of time, while some even go so far as to say they can be done away with entirely. Most businesses are not ready to abandon meetings entirely, but at least you can make them productive. One of the best ways you can ensure your meeting is both productive and doesn’t take longer than it should is to prepare an agenda. Here are 3 reasons why your next meeting needs an agenda.

  1. Helps people come prepared

If all you want to do is communicate information, you don’t need to hold a meeting, you can just send an email. Generally, meetings are held for the purpose of giving, receiving and sharing information. If people don’t know what the meeting is for, they can’t come adequately prepared to share information or provide input. An agenda gives them some idea of what’s going to be discussed or covered so they can come prepared.

  1. Helps people stay on track

Meetings have a way of quickly devolving and derailing into unproductive territory. An agenda helps keep you on track by providing an outline of what needs to be covered in that meeting. Anything that comes up that needs to be addressed but isn’t on the agenda can be assigned to someone to put on the agenda for a future meeting or another meeting created to deal with the issue.

  1. Allows everyone to participate in time management

When you schedule a 30 minute meeting to cover 6 points, you know you have approximately 5 minutes to cover each point. This helps you budget the time you have allotted for the meeting. When employees know it’s supposed to be a 30 minute meeting and 15 minutes in you are only on point 2, they are less likely to interrupt or go off on side tangents. By setting a specific time frame for the meeting and providing an agenda, you allow the entire group to participate in time management. You also help them better gauge whether or not this is the right time to bring up questions or concerns.