Are you looking for the best examples and templates of well-organized, effective meeting agendas? Good.
The more prepared you are for your next meeting, the better the meeting is going to go. Meetings with agendas tend to finish earlier than meetings without them.
Plus, good meeting agendas promote engagement and participation in the meeting.
Our research found that agenda usage was a meeting practice that correlates with being happier and more productive overall.
We'll start with some general tips for better agendas, but you can also skip immediately to the templates below.
Meetings are one of your larger expenses, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars of people's time and focus. Taking up so much time and energy, it makes sense to take a couple of minutes to make sure that everyone’s time is well spent.
When you multiply the hours and salaries of every employee at every meeting, you will find that meetings are one of your biggest expenses.
Hour-long meetings typically cost between $300 and $3,000."
—From the book: Vital Meetings
A thoughtful agenda helps everyone show up to the meeting knowing:
With a solid meeting agenda, everyone can stay focused.
No matter how you organize your meeting agendas and notes, you can use these examples. It doesn’t matter whether you put your meeting agenda in your calendar invite, in a Google doc, in Word, or you use a meeting notes hub like Hugo — although every approach to organizing meeting agendas and notes has pros and cons.
What matters most, though, is that you have a meeting agenda at all. As many as two-thirds of all meetings don’t have one.
Plan the agenda for your next meeting, and you’re already doing better than the majority of meeting organizers.
Across many different types of meetings — whether they are weekly staff meetings, committee meetings, project check-ins, board meetings, or sales calls — there are common items you will see listed on agendas over and over.
You might think of these as the building blocks for your agenda. Depending on what type of meeting you’re having, choose what agenda items are appropriate.
Agenda topics usually fall into one of three categories:
⭐ PRO TIP: Be careful with how much time you spend on informational agenda items. Too many updates and long presentations may not only be boring, but they’re also not always necessary.
Instead, try sharing information beforehand, like in a Google Doc, slide deck, or even a Loom video. Save your precious meeting time for activities that involve everyone, like discussions.
Here are some of the key components of an agenda:
None of these basic agenda items are helpful without being applied specifically to your meeting. That is where seeing meeting agenda examples across a variety of topics will help you write your own agendas.
Below are sample meeting agendas. We’ve filled them in to give you a sense of how the meeting agenda should look. Downloading the template will give you a blank version.
If you’re just looking for templates to copy, skip this part and head straight to our gallery of 80+ meeting agenda templates that are free to download as Google Docs and Word Docs.
(These agenda templates also come standard in your free Hugo account.)
Just remember, however you decide to download these meeting agenda templates, put them to use. A meeting agenda is only going to lead to a better meeting if you use it.
The best agenda for a meeting is often a simple one. A simple agenda answers two questions for all attendees:
Here are three tips to that end.
If the meeting’s goal isn’t already made clear by the meeting’s title, put it at the top of the agenda.
Don't write: Pricing roll-out.
Instead write: Coordinate pricing roll-out
List out generally what needs to happen, but as actions, not nouns.
Don't write: 2021 hiring
Instead write: Determine budget and timeframe for 2021 hiring
Instead of including paragraphs of information in your meeting agenda, use bullet points to list out any areas of discussion or updates that need to be taken separately.
Don't write: Sales, Marketing, Engineering, and Product
Following the tips above, you can use this example of a simple meeting agenda for various meetings, especially short, casual meetings that don’t have many items up for discussion or decision.
You meet with your team regularly. Outside of meetings, you also have healthy team communication habits.
Because you meet more with your team than anyone, small improvements in your meetings can result in big gains. One of the best ways to introduce those improvements is via the meeting agenda.
We talked about this above, but a common mistake on meeting agendas is not explaining why the meeting exists.
We might have good meeting habits with customers and partners, but we can get lax when with our own team meetings.
It’s time to show your team members some respect. Every meeting should have a clear goal so that everyone who shows up knows why they showed up. (Turns out, people appreciate knowing why somebody invited them to a meeting!)
Here's a short video covering the dos and don'ts of stating your meeting's purpose.
The sample agenda is for a general team meeting. Often these kinds of team meetings are recurring meetings that happen once a week.
⭐ PRO TIP: If you have a huge decision to make, don’t put it first on your agenda.
Logic might tell you to start with the biggest, most-important discussion at every meeting...But, as with a good workout, it’s good to warm up.
If you have some smaller decisions to make, it can be helpful to start with them. This gets everyone engaged in the discussion while decisions are easy and the stakes are lower."
—From the book: Vital Meetings
Here’s a sample meeting agenda that could cover topics from various people and departments. This flexible agenda template leaves room for team members to add their own agenda items to the list.
Notice something about the same agenda here though: Updates are limited to two minutes per person. Keep the updates short. If someone at the meeting needs more detail, they can ask when the meeting is over.
Leadership teams should meet on a regular basis in a meeting where the biggest issues impacting a team or company are brought to the surface. This is less formal than a board meeting, but still highly strategic. Here’s an example agenda for this kind of executive meeting.
For more formal meetings that follow the traditional structure, make sure to use a more formal template.
Types of formal meetings include:
(By the way, the formal meeting structure usually follows a framework called Robert’s Rules of Order.)
This agenda template helps you organize the meeting, run it according to the proper procedures, as well as prepare meeting minutes in the process.
If you need additional guidance, see the best way to take meeting minutes.
Before you skip down to the board meeting template below, take heed to some important advice.
Tomasz Tunguz, managing director at Redpoint Ventures, says the key to a successful board meeting isn’t the meeting itself—it’s the preparation.
The most important aspect of [a board meeting] is the meeting memo. This way you don't spend half the meeting briefing one another.”
—Tomasz Tunguz, Redpoint Ventures
Here is his advice on how to create and circulate your board memo:
If this article has inspired you to set a solid agenda for your next meeting, you can use Hugo send and share your agenda, and auto-organize your meeting notes afterward.
All you need to do is set up a free Hugo account by connecting your work calendar.
To auto-add a template from this article, you’ll want to scroll back to that template and click “Get this template” followed by clicking the big blue button “Use template in Hugo”.
After a super-quick account setup, Hugo pulls in your meetings into a calendar-like view. Find the meeting you want to set an agenda for.
Click the meeting, and then in the “Prepare” area, click on the sample agenda template of your choice. The template content will appear in your agenda. Fill in the text with more information.
Hugo offers multiple ways to share an agenda, but one of the most popular is to create a “public link”.
This public link is actually quite private—only people who have the link can find it.
Flip the “Add link to calendar” switch in the bottom right corner to add a link to your calendar event description.
Or, to share by hand, click the Share button. Toggle the public link on. The link will automatically be copied to your clipboard.
You can also easily email it to everyone at the meeting by clicking the email button.
This link takes people to a clean, professional, branded page that shows your agenda. Here’s what that public sharing page looks like.
To recap, for a productive meeting agenda:
Now that you have seen various sample meeting agendas, it’s time to go out and create your own. Be sure to get a head start.
And if you want to learn how to run your meeting effectively, read this article on the ingredients of an effective meeting strategy.
Yes, every single one of the sample meeting agendas on this page, as well as the 80+ in our template library are free to use and download.
Once you have customized your sample agenda to your liking, you may want to share the document. While a link is the most pragmatic way to share an agenda—it allows you to edit your meeting agenda after the fact—sometimes you need a PDF because you either want to print the agenda or attach it as a file in some way.
To take your meeting minutes, fill in the meeting agenda document with more information.
Usually, this takes two to five bullet points under each agenda topic that summarizes key points and decisions.
Remember, meeting minutes should not be a verbatim accounting of everything that happened. They should highlight key information, decisions, and next steps.
Usually, you’ll want to take these notes in real-time during the meeting but you can also complete them from memory after.
Excel isn’t ideal software for meeting agenda templates. It’s difficult to format text in Excel so that it’s easy to read. You can’t even make bullet points in Excel!
Plus, all of Excel’s great features—sorting, functions, math—aren’t particularly helpful for agendas.
I strongly discourage you from using Excel to organize your meetings. If you need a chart or table in your meeting agenda, paste it into a regular doc or link to it.
Use small talk to grab attention. I used to work with a sales leader who would start every meeting with a couple of minutes of small talk. His favorite topic was sports. One day he told me this wasn’t because he was such a huge fan.
Sales meetings can be tedious, but by discussing something more interesting, he could command the group’s attention, he would transition to the business at hand.
Jump straight into the agenda. Because you’ve set an agenda and shared it with all attendees, assume everyone knows what the meeting is about. You don’t need to repeat what is already there. When it's time for the meeting to start, go for it.
You might say something like, "Okay everyone. Thanks for coming. First in today's agenda is..."
The order of an agenda is a prioritized list of what will be discussed and decided. Usually, the order should flow from the most important, largest topics, down to smaller issues.
An action item is a task that someone needs to complete outside of the meeting.
In your meeting notes or meeting minutes, note each action item:
Use these simple practices to transform what would've been an unproductive meeting... to one that's worth everyone's time.
Better staff meetings = a better workplace. Learn the dos and don'ts. Plus, grab 3 FREE agenda templates for team meetings. 🙌