The Hidden Agenda Of Agendas



Experts on managing meetings (yes, such people exist) tell us that if we want to lead a successful meeting we must have an agenda.

  • An agenda provides structure.
  • An agenda allows participants to be better prepared.
  • An agenda focuses discussion.

As positive as agendas are said to be, they are not egalitarian.

Because any agenda that lists the topics to be discussed also determines – by omission – items that won’t be discussed. 

Just as streaming services control what we see by front-loading profitable titles, an agenda controls what is seen by front-loading topics the person running the meeting considers important.

As Tristan Harris, Google’s former Design Ethicist has said, 

If you control the menu, you control the choice.

Controlling choice – whether with online shopping or in meetings – may not always be a positive thing…

…but it is a powerful thing.

~ mike


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