Writing an Agenda for an Incentive Trip or Executive Retreat

How to Produce a Concise Retreat Meeting Agenda

Business people arriving at hotel reception area
Event planners are expected to produce an agenda for the meetings and events they organize. Blend Images - Erik Isakson / Getty Images

Event planners are the ones tasked with producing a concise yet informational agenda for the meetings and events they organize, including agendas for week-long corporate retreats. Whether the agenda is for one day of meetings for branch managers or four days of team-building exercises for new hires, the basic elements remain the same.

Tips for Writing the Agenda

Writing an agenda for an event—especially a multi-day event—is sometimes challenging because the agenda (or at-a-glance itinerary) needs to be brief while providing all necessary information.

After all, most attendees will be familiar with the programs being offered and don't want to lug around an extensive document to find out where they should be and when. It's your job as an event planner to make the attendees' life as easy as possible.

The basic elements of an agenda should contain the following pieces of information:

  • Name and location of the event.
  • Day and exact time of each event/activity down to the quarter-hour.
  • The kind of event such as creative brain-storming session vs. a strategic goal-setting session vs. panel discussion with team leaders
  • Pertinent information about the event such as how to dress for a gathering if it's a lunch, dinner or cocktail party (i.e., business casual vs. black-tie)
  • Tip: Always let attendees know where they can find additional information such as the host organization's website.

Sample Meeting Agenda Format

Most agenda formats have a header section in the center of the page with one to three lines of text with the name of the event, the name of the organization hosting the event and the date that the event starts.

The agenda is then organized in two columns: the left side column contains dates and times. On the right side is the name of the event along with details about the activity.

Your agenda should be easy to follow, and if it's a one-day event, try to get everything on one page. Remember, the general itinerary is one of several items you are tasked with preparing along with other formal invitation materials like electronic and printed invitations.

Because attendees will be receiving multiple pieces of communication material from you, there will be plenty of opportunities to provide in-depth information in another document.