A Great Example of Damn Good Communication: This Simple, Surprising Meeting Agenda

Mark Rader Benefits Communication, Fun Stuff

Not long ago, a good pal of Jellyvision found himself at the inaugural board meeting for a California-based start-up called Cornershop.

Cornershop’s CEO Oskar Hjertonsson handed out the agenda below. Our pal took a copy of that agenda, and passed it along to our CEO, Amanda, with a note about how it was a perfect example of surprisingly delightful and effective business communication (aka, the sort of thing we geek out about).

We reviewed the agenda… and we agree. It’s great. So great that it needs to be shared:

Here’s what we like about it:

1. Meeting expectations are crystal-clear

Most agendas contain a list of topics to be checked off…and that’s about it. The topics are broad, and include things like “Introductions,” “Financial Presentations” and the obligatory “Q&A.”

This agenda goes beyond that. It’s not a list of topics, it’s a list of goals, along with clear expectations for success. No one needs to feel anxious about offering an opposing viewpoint during the “heated discussion.” And it sets limits for that discussion. Once you’re building consensus, the time for heated discussion is over.

2. The language is conversational, candid and funny

The writing sets the tone for the meeting. It’s frank, funny, and purposeful. It doesn’t put on airs, and it avoids corporate jargon. The phrase “Make sure everyone’s on the same page (figuratively speaking)” welcomes the attendees to speak informally. The phrase “Reach joyful consensus and wrap up with spontaneous hallelujah moment” adds a splash of self-awareness. The writer’s personality shines through and it signals that the attendees can let their guards down and be themselves.

3. It’s short

Oskar could have made this list longer. He could have made “get to know each other” and “define goals” into separate bullets. He could have broken down each of the key issues to be heatedly discussed—we’ve all felt the temptation of sub-bullets. But Oskar kept it short, and he was wise to do so.

There’s a rule of thumb among content creators: a list of bullets should be no more than five items long. Go longer than five, and the bullets start to feel like a lot of work. The audience feels overwhelmed and starts to disengage. Even if you’re planning to cover a lot of topics in a meeting, err on the side of highlighting only the most important topics, like Oskar did here.

And in deference to his wisdom…that’s it. Thanks to Oskar Hjertonsson for making this, and to our eagle-eye pal for passing it on. It’s a damn good meeting agenda!