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Creating a meeting itinerary is essential to keeping your meetings organized and time efficient, as well as for helping employees understand their tasks and responsibilities. Itineraries should be created beforehand, to give all parties involved a chance to review the agenda and implement any changes, if necessary. All attendees should be handed a copy as soon as they walk into the meeting, or sooner, if possible. Giving everyone a chance before the meeting to brainstorm about each topic being discussed will help maximize your organization's creativity and problem-solving abilities.
Hold a meeting before the meeting. Discuss the following with meeting planners: What topics will be covered in this meeting? How long will discussions take? What do we want accomplished by the end of the meeting? Who will be speaking? If there are tasks to be assigned, to whom will they be assigned? If you're planning the meeting alone, use a sheet of paper to answer the above questions.
Type the itinerary. Put the title of the meeting, day, date, time and location at the top of the page. For example, "Weekly Briefing- Wednesday, June 6, 2011 -- 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. -- Conference Room."
List the topics that will be discussed during the meeting in chronological order. If the topics will be introduced by anyone but you, put their name next to their topic. Include the time of day you plan to discuss each topic, as well as the length of time you expect each subject to last. For example, "11:10 a.m. -- Discussion of December candy sales -- Denise Robinson -- 3 minutes."
Give yourself extra time. To make room for delays, pad how long you think each task will take with two minutes. Even if things get off track, adding hidden minutes will ensure that you more or less finish the meeting on time.
Leave spaces between each topic on the itinerary for people in the meeting to take notes about each discussion.
Print the itinerary and distribute a copy to each person who will attend the meeting. People who don't have a special role in the meeting can get their itinerary when they walk in; those who have a role in the meeting should have their itinerary at least two days beforehand, so they have ample time to prepare what they need to say.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.