Every trip and meeting needs an agenda. With the travel ones, even if you don’t give it to the traveller, it’s always good to have one for your own sanity to make sure you’ve not missed anything. For meetings, it is a great way of keeping everyone on track, they can help with the minutes if you are taking any, and they also remind you at a later date what the meeting was about.
Save them with a Naming Convention
Historically, I’ve used a simple Word template to create my agendas. Nowadays there are cool apps like Travo for your travel ones if you like to keep things electronic (I’m getting there!), but if you keep with Word, you need a naming convention to save them. I know this might sound a little unimportant, but trust me, when you have 20 people travelling at one time and you need to find their agenda quickly when they are screaming down the phone at you that their meeting overran and they missed their flight, this will save your life.
This is how I do it: firstly, I put the dateof departure or the date of the meeting. Backwards. If the meeting is on 2nd October 2016, you need to write it 2016 10 02. This means that every single one will be in date order. I still see people now saving documents with 02 10 2016. All this will do is put your agendas in a random order and you will never find them.
You then need to put their name (forwards or backwards, but do it the same way for all of them), and then the trip or meeting name. So, for example, you will have: 2016 09 27 Pearson Yvette New York.
I start with the title of the meeting, the invitees, and the date/time/location of the meeting. I’ve worked for companies with multiple offices and it proved super useful to have the location on there. I once had someone else’s excutive come to me while his PA was out and told me he’d lost his pen. When I looked back at the agenda and learned which room he was in, I went straight there and found his pen!
The content of the agenda is a little more difficult as you will have to get input from the attendees. Once you have this, try to be as detailed as possible. Have sub sections where necessary. A good PA will be able to add in at least a few on their own.
I also add in line the person who will be speaking about point, along with an approximate amount of time they will have. This definitely helps the meeting not overrun. I find this especially useful when there are lots of points to talk about.
Finally, I add lines into the agenda where a key decison is required. This can be things like: “Management to confirm they approve the contract”. This acts as a prompt in the meeting and helps ensure important things aren’t missed. A lot of meetings these days go off piste very easily so it’s a good reminder of why they are all there. I often pipe up in a meeting to bring everyone back to the meeting objective.
Make sure everyone involved in the meeting has a copy of the agenda in good time. 100% of the time someone will want to change something, so make sure you have enough time to make that change and redistribute.
Travel agendas are a completely separate beast. As I mentioned, if you are using atravel booking system, then you won’t need to worry about a travel agenda on Word – you’ll just be able to download it from your system and email it out as necessary.
But if you don’t use a travel booking tool and still book the old fashioned way, these are some of the things you should include/highlight to your traveller:
1. Time zones
I used to book trips for someoe who travelled around multiple countries in one trip, often circumventing the entire globe. I used to send his itineraries to his wife so I always made sure to include the time difference.
2. Airport changes
I would always highlight if the traveller was departing from a different airport from where they arrived. For example if they arrived into JFK but departed out of Newark – I’d make this VERY clear on their agenda. I came to realise that a lot of travellers travelled a little blindly so this was important.
3. Hotel phone numbers
This was useful for the agenda I used to send to the traveller’s wife. But it was also useful to have all the hotel contact details to hand in once place.
4. Emergency contacts
Trust me on this one, make sure you have the airline or travel company out-of-hours numbers on there. You don’t want them to be calling you at 3am when their flight from Sydney to LA has been cancelled or when their car in San Francisco hasn’t turned up. On that point – save those numbers in your executive’s phone, write them as appointments in their diaries, and permanent marker them on the back of their hands!
Finally, make sure that everyone involved in the meeting or the travel is