It is very common to get meeting invites without any agenda. Also, often times recurring meetings do not have their agenda updated every week. Imagine being invited to a meeting and not knowing what it is about? Also, are you supposed to be prepared for the meeting? Are you one of the presenters? How often do you sit in discussions that run over time? How do you know any of these if there is no agenda?
Include an agenda in any meeting. This helps to keep the discussion focused. When you identify a name next to each agenda item and how much time they have to make their point, it helps them to be prepared. As the leader, it helps you to do your job well. A little preparation can go a long way. Send the agenda as soon as you can reasonably do so. Also ask the team for inputs on if they think something else should be included. This gives them an opportunity to speak ahead of time & avoid surprises.
As the leader, it is also important that you respect everyone’s time and interest. Having a clear agenda with time limits for each topic sends the message to the team that every minute matters. If anyone is late for the meeting, move on to the next topic instead of keeping the rest of team waiting. For a recurring meeting, this sends a strong message on the importance of punctuality.
When you find someone going on a tangent, you can point to the agenda objectively and tell them that for the purposes of this discussion & in the interest of time it will be good if we can focus on the topics at hand. If their topic sounds very interesting, you can offer to either set up a separate meeting or to add to next week’s agenda. This will help them to save face as well. Keep in mind, it is not just about what you do, it is also how you do it. You want your team to leave the room feeling respected & considered.