3 Reasons Agendas Help You Avoid Meeting Remorse

What is Meeting Remorse?

You receive a calendar invite to a meeting from a colleague. Once the meeting kicks off, the host barrels into the discussion. You listen, and your mind starts to churn: “Why am I here? How can I get out of this?” Does this sound familiar? We call it Meeting Remorse — the sinking feeling you get when you know that a meeting will be a waste of your time.

As a team leader or manager in charge of ‘herding cats,’ this is a meeting nightmare. You alienate your team members. Getting people to commit to your meetings becomes much more difficult, and more importantly, making and tracking forward progress on your project takes much more time.

Avoiding Meeting Remorse: Send Out Your Meeting Agenda

So, how do you make sure the right people attend — and participate in — your meetings? The right place to start is at the beginning—your meeting agenda. Creating and circulating an agenda prior to your scheduled meeting is one of the keys to a successful, effective meeting. Why?


A ten-second scan of your agenda tells me what is going to be covered in the meeting. If none of the topics pertain to me, then I highly doubt I will have anything to contribute to your meeting and whether I’m vital to your conversation. By sending the agenda, you’ve made it easy for me to decide whether the meeting is a good use of my time.


If I know that my email marketing campaign design is going to be reviewed in the meeting, I will come to the meeting with the design alternatives and my recommendations. Better yet, I will have sent out the designs for the team to review prior to the meeting so others have a chance to understand the choices and formulate recommendations. Meeting time then becomes a great way to garner feedback and make informed decisions.


It’s frustrating when you have a short amount of time and a lot of ground to cover and someone steers the conversation off-topic. Having a shared agenda helps steer the conversation back to what needs to be done in THIS meeting. If the additional topic needs further discussion, it can be added to the agenda for the next meeting, taken off-line, or something on the current agenda can be postponed.

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To put these thoughts into action, try this:

Send Out An Agenda Prior to Your Next Meeting

  • Include the agenda on your meeting’s calendar invite
  • 24 hours prior to your meeting, send out the agenda via email; it serves both as a meeting reminder and a refresher on the agenda
  • If you want people to do something specific in preparation for the meeting, make sure it’s part of the agenda item (e.g. “- Email Design Review — please review attached designs prior to the meeting”)


Comment below to let us know how this small step improved the effectiveness of your meeting!

Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly has enjoyed over 25 years in technology marketing and business development in Silicon Valley across telecom, computer hardware and software, consumer and business services industries. Her prior NH-based start-up, JitterJam, went from idea to exit in 18 months. Follow Margaret on Twitter @mwdonnelly

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