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Colorful Agendas Capture Attention

Each week, Instant Meeting presents an idea or activity that you might use to make staff meetings more interesting, teacher-centered, educational, or fun.

Brief Description/Purpose

You can create lively, graphic meeting agendas on a flip chart to help keep the group on track, clarify the work to be done, and have some fun at the same time.

Materials Needed

  • flip chart paper
  • watercolor markers in various colors
  • paper and pencil

Time Required

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And don't miss our Great Meeting series. Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb offer a short course on creating meetings that work, based on their popular guide, Great Meetings. They present ideas to help you learn how to lead meetings that generate ideas; analyze problems; define a vision; evaluate ideas and make decisions; plan for long-range needs; encourage group participation and keep groups on track; and much more.

Allow 30 minutes for designing your first fun agenda. After that, 10 minutes will usually be enough.

"Instant Meeting" Idea

Every meeting needs to have a clear purpose and desired outcomes as well as an agenda to make sure that people know what the meeting is about and what the task is. Just having a flip chart version of the purpose, outcomes, and agenda written up and hanging at the front of the room will help keep everyone on track. But agendas don't need to be boring or monochromatic.

Imagine that you are leading a committee charged with reorganizing the way the elementary school library space is arranged. Your typed agenda for this meeting is:

Meeting Purpose:
To start the process of reorganizing the library space by identifying the key characteristics of an ideal space and creating some suggestions for layouts that fit the characteristics.

Desired Outcomes:

  • List of characteristics of an ideal space
  • A list of suggested layouts
  • A list of next steps

3:30 -- Meeting introduction
3:40 -- Visioning exercise to describe the ideal elementary library space and identify the key characteristics
4:20 -- What are some possible layouts that would meet the characteristics identified?
4:50 -- Wrap up: review outcomes, set next steps, evaluate the meeting
5:00 -- Adjourn

You can start by making the agenda colorful and easy to read.

  • At the top of a flip-chart page create a long rectangular box in red or purple, big enough to fit the name or abbreviation of the group that is meeting. Take a yellow, watercolor marker and fill in the box. Over the yellow write the group's name in red. Remember to print in clear, 2" high letters.
  • Write the title "Meeting Purpose" in red and underline it. Then use any dark-colored marker to write out the purpose. You may have to abbreviate it to "identify characteristics of ideal space and create suggested layouts."
  • Write the "Desired Outcomes" title in red and underline it. When you do the bulleted items under it, alternate colors from one outcome to the next, for example blue, green, blue
  • Write the "Agenda" title in red and underline it. (You may need to start on a new flip chart sheet.) Below it, list the time in black, then write an abbreviation of each of the work items. Keep the times in black and use alternating colors from one task to the next.

If you are feeling adventuresome, you can add little stick or star figures reading books, or little star people gathered around someone reading. You can add a star burst behind the word "vision" or wrap the words "wrap up" in a ribbon and bow. There is no end to the creative touches you can add so long as the agenda is still legible. You can choose different formats and draw the agenda like a flow chart from beginning to end or put the steps in the agenda along a path or roadway.

For additional information, see the chapter "Integrating Graphics Into Your Meetings" in (pages187-201) in Great Meetings, Great Results!

The key is to have at the start of the meeting a useful, fun agenda that clarifies the work to be done. You will use this meeting agenda to bring people back to the task at hand if they wander off track.

This idea was submitted by Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb, authors of Great Meetings, Great Results!