Do you ever feel like you can’t get your day to day work done because you’re spending all your time working on agendas? I hate that feeling. I’ve always viewed agendas as a means to an end not the end itself. Meetings do have their value, as they are a great opportunity to enhance your relationship with those involved. I don’t think we will ever be able to get rid of meetings all together for that reason. But I do think we can be efficient, intentional, and productive with the kind and number of meetings we hold.
One great way to manage your time is to make it the responsibility of a volunteer to set the agenda for your meetings. I like to have as many volunteers lead as much as the meeting as possible as it gives them ownership. This means you will have to do more prep work and clearly communicate with the volunteer about your meeting goals.
At some point you need to be able to cap the amount of time you’ve put into agenda preparation. If you let preparing for meetings get away from you it can take all your time. I use a similar agenda format for each meeting. I will also create a draft version of the agenda and add too it throughout the week. My agendas have a consistent flow so volunteers know what to expect.
If I spend too much time trying to figuring out what I want the meeting to focus on that is a good sign that you might not need to meet with that group quite as often. When it gets close to the meeting I like to have things as nicely prepared as I can but at some point I need to get back to other work. Include an “other updates” or “other business” section in your meetings to cover those agenda items you’re afraid you might have missed.