Is Agenda Theater Ruining Your Meetings?
In the 49th episode, we look at the importance of preparing a clear, outcome-oriented goal for the conversation.

Opis epizode

Clearing our inboxes, clearing our Slack messages, or managing our to-do lists, preparing an agenda can make us feel like we’ve accomplished something. And when we go through our detailed, bulleted agendas with our colleagues before or during a meeting, it sure feels like productivity is happening. But research shows that these feelings may in fact be leading us into the trap of agenda theater: We sink time and effort into agendas that create the appearance of effective meetings, without actually improving how meetings are run. And you might assume that detailed agendas will improve your meetings, they can lead to a false sense of accomplishment. Instead of spending a lot of time and effort on the process for your meeting, think about what outcomes you want to achieve.


  • Start with the why. What’s the specific purpose of this meeting? What do you hope to accomplish?


  • Move on to the what. What topics, themes, and information do you need to cover? What questions do you need answered? List them out.


  • Consider the who. Once you know why you’re meeting and what you hope to talk about, you can determine who needs to be there—and who doesn’t.


  • Don’t overthink the how. Some goals benefit from structured, facilitated conversations. Other times, free-form conversations are sufficient. Don’t be afraid to figure out a structure in real time based on how the conversation naturally flows.


  • Beware the when. It’s tempting to put time limits on everything: 10 minutes for the first topic, five minutes for the second, and so on. But it can be difficult to stick to these schedules. Instead of sharing a rigid timeline with the group, estimate how long you think things will take and use that as your own personal guide to move things along.


Instead of locking down an in-depth agenda for every meeting on your calendar, just make sure you know why you’re meeting in the first place. Prepare a clear, outcome-oriented goal for the conversation.


Do you practice preparing an agenda for every meeting?

Have you ever been caught in agenda theater?


Willias, A, Feldman, D., and Wisniewski, D. (2022, October). Is Agenda Theater Ruining Your Meetings? Harvard Business Review.

Naroči se

Mark Kalin je izkušen manager, podjetnik, innovator, mentor, predavatelj in strokovnjak za vzpostavljanje inovativnih ekosistemov in transformacij kultur ter strokovnjak za vzpostavitev visoko zmogljivih virtualnih timov, z zelo bogato izobrazbo in poslovnimi izkušnjami.

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