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for advisers and leaders in financial advice

  • Writer's pictureJason Dunn


An agenda is an outline, or roadmap, of the meeting. It is a critical element of the meeting structure, setting the scene for the meeting from the outset, gaining agreement and understanding with the person that you are meeting with, and the foundation of a highly engaging discussion with participants.

It is hard to understand why anyone would not utilise an agenda at the beginning of every meeting, For the most part, they should be fairly standard, and a well-designed template can be customised in a minute. Yet, my experience from sitting in on thousands of meetings is that a majority of advisers do not use an agenda – they generally wing it. In the instances where they are used, the minimum outcome is that the first impression of the adviser is that they are organised and professional.

In my mind, an agenda is a no-brainer for every meeting. Yes, every meeting!

An agenda in this context relates to setting out the topics you will cover in the conversation, and it is not necessary to go into too much detail. Use your agenda to build momentum and clearly outline what you want to cover in this meeting – consider the agenda as HOW the meeting will progress.

It should be written, simple, and easy to understand.

The actual points of an agenda should be specific to the prospect or client and the meeting you are about to conduct, and it can be as simple as:

1. About you

2. Concerns you have about protecting your income/financial security/future, etc

3. Current situation and any other needs

4. How I/we can help

5. Next steps

Whilst this is a fairly rudimentary example, it does demonstrate that even a simple agenda can be effective and an improvement on having no agenda at all. Craft your agendas specific to the client/prospect and the purpose of the meeting, make it a written list of points with the prospect/client’s name at the top, and run through it with the meeting participants at the beginning of the meeting.

I have also observed how a short list of five key questions can be used very effectively, particularly when an adviser is working to develop new and more effective questioning techniques. Listing your questions will ensure you ask what you really want to ask.

Alternatively, I have known advisers to use the same five questions for each meeting, which will still engender a sense of importance for the person you are meeting with.

An agenda is just one, although it is a highly effective one, of the elements of beginning a prospect/client meeting with a high level of engagement and positioning you as you want to be positioned.

We explore the design of meeting and agenda templates in much greater detail in our GROW Adviser Capability program and I will also cover these in future Adviser Best Practice articles.

Keep an eye out for my next article:

“You must have a defined objective and an advance for every meeting”

Until then, if you’re not already doing so:

Prepare a simple written agenda of key points to use when you open your next prospect/client meeting, use it at the beginning of the meeting and see what difference it makes.

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