Why you should demand an agenda for meetings, and how to do it — nicely

Here’s the email that Seeking Alpha’s head of bus dev, Guy Cohen, sent to someone who requested a call but gave no agenda:

Hi xxx,

Would be happy to chat – can you provide details around what you’d like to discuss? This way I can make sure:

1) I’m the right person for you to be speaking with.
2) I can be prepared and make the meeting as efficient for the both of us as possible.

Best,
Guy

Notes:
(1) Accepting requests for calls or meetings with no agenda can waste time, because in many cases the meeting is irrelevant or unnecessary. Once someone emails you the agenda, you can often continue (and even finish) the discussion by email. Email is far more efficient than a meeting or phone call, because you can reply to emails whenever it suits you.
(2) Guy’s approach can also be used for meeting requests from people inside your company: “Happy to help — can you provide details of what you want from me at the meeting? That way I can make sure I can be prepared, and help you in the most effective way possible.”
(3) Lesson for people requesting meetings: follow Aaron White’s advice.

6 thoughts on “Why you should demand an agenda for meetings, and how to do it — nicely

  1. honestly, this is one of the most useful advice for any kind of meeting. Whenever I meet anyone for the first time (supervisor, mentor/mentee, networking colleague) I always provide a suggested agenda as a framework.

    You’d be surprised at how much more effective and valuable those meetings become. Wish I’d learn this back in college or even high school.

  2. Pingback: Friday Finds | Live Half Full

  3. Pingback: How to maximize your chance of getting a meeting or call with someone | A Founder's Notebook

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