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Run More Efficient Meetings: 15 Tools for Shared Agendas, Minutes, and Scheduling

Aja Frost
Aja Frost / September 27, 2016

Meetings are a great way to get your team on the same page, discuss ideas, and plan for the future. They can also be a tremendous waste of time, taking up 31 hours of your work time per month on average.

That's why we tend to daydream, do other work, or even fall asleep during meetings. They're a necessary evil—and we're not even sure they're necessary in the first place.

Instead, meetings should be an effective use of everyone's time, that one chance you have to push the agenda forward and make sure everyone has what they need to do their best work. That requires meetings that fit everyone's schedules, are well planned, and include actionable minutes so the meeting isn't forgotten as soon as it's finished.

These tools will help turn your meetings into productive sessions, ones that take up less time and get more accomplished.

App Icon:  Best for: Price
DoDoSharing information with meeting attendees$10/mo. per user
WorklifeWorklifeCreating agenda templatesFree; from $6/mo./user
Meetin.gsMeetin.gsScheduling meetings$12/mo. per organizer
MinuteMinuteEasy-to-read agendasFree; from $3/mo./user
SolidSolidPlanning meetings on your ownFree
MeetingKingMeetingKingOne-off meetingsFree; from $9.95/mo.
Minutes.ioMinutes.ioEffective note-takingFree; from $9/mo.
Agenda MakerAgenda MakerPreparing for meetings on-the-go1.99
Less MeetingLess MeetingA visualized agenda timeframeFrom $12/mo.
Minute-itMinute-itEasy meeting prepFree; from $27/mo.
Lucid MeetingLucid MeetingAdvanced meeting agendasFree; from $19/mo.
Meeting TickerMeeting TickerCalculating a meeting's ROIFree
Meeting CalculatorMeeting CalculatorPersonal meeting insightsFree
Team Meeting ChecklistTeam Meeting ChecklistPlanning a productive meetingFree
Team Meeting TimerTeam Meeting TimerKeeping discussions focusedFree

All-in-One Meeting Apps

You need a calendar app for scheduling the meeting. A time-zone tool to find a time that works for everyone. A notes app to plan the meeting—and another app to take notes during the meeting.

Or, you could do it all in one app. These tools help you plan, schedule, and share meeting info from one place, so nothing gets lost along the way.

Worklife (Web, iOS)

Best for creating agenda templates

Worklife

Meeting agendas and minutes make it easier to stay on track and follow up with your decisions—but the more time you spend making them, the less productive they become. That’s where Worklife’s template library comes in. With customizable agendas for one-on-ones, project status updates, basic meetings, and more, you can get up and running with less effort.

Once you’re actually in the meeting, there’s no need to create separate minutes. Simply type directly on the agenda. The minutes are updated in real time, so you everyone in the meeting can add notes at the same time, with an edit history to keep track of who wrote what and when. When you're done, Worklife's Slack, Evernote, and Google Docs integrations let you save those minutes to your team's collaboration tools.

Action items can be embedded into your notes, so participants get an overview of what needs to be done. Worklife will even send you an email reminders about unfinished tasks before the next meeting. It also syncs with your Google Calendar or Outlook account to make sure you don't forget that next meeting.

Price: Free for unlimited projects and users; from $6/month per user Business plan for company branding, team templates, and Trello, Asana, and Zapier integrations

Meetin.gs (Web)

Best for scheduling meetings

Meetin.gs

For a one-stop shop for scheduling meetings along with communicating, taking notes, and managing tasks, take a look at Meetin.gs. It handles every part of the meetings process.

Once you decide you’d like to meet, you’ve got two options. You can set your availability and let others book a slot on your calendar; Meetin.gs integrates with your calendar and contacts in Google Apps, as well as communication tools like Skype and Google Hangouts. This helps you skip the inevitable back-and-forth of finding a time that works for everyone. Alternatively, you can invite people to a date and time you’ve selected.

Each meeting comes with a shared workspace. Add topics for discussion, upload relevant files, and share your notes. Changes are saved instantly, so you can also use this workspace during the meeting to record your discussion and discussions.

After the meeting is over, Meetin.gs will automatically send an email to the participants summarizing any action items you created.

Price: $12/month per organizer Pro plan for unlimited meetings and participants

Agenda Planning Apps

Perhaps you already have tools to schedule your meetings, and just need a way to keep the discussion on track and record what's discussed. These tools will help you plan your meeting agenda, notes, and more.

Minute (Web, iOS, Android, Windows)

Best for easy-to-read agendas

Minute

Minute delivers everything you need to know and remember about a meeting on a single page.

The meeting agenda—which can be created independently by the meeting organizer or collaboratively by the team—is at the top. If the agenda changes during the meeting, simply drag and drop each item into the new order.

Each topic of discussion comes with an optional timer, making it easier to get through everything you need to without running over.

Underneath the agenda, you’ll see the meeting’s attachments, including documents from from Google Drive and Dropbox or notes from Evernote. Attendees can write real-time notes under those files, create tasks and assign owners and deadlines, and add decisions. You can also add private notes, which no one else will be able to view.

When the meeting has ended, you can export the topics, notes, decisions, tasks, and documents to your Google Drive, Dropbox, or Evernote accounts, or email them to meeting attendees for future reference.

Price: Free for 1 month of meeting history; from $3/month per user Light plan for 3 months of meeting history and attachments

Solid (iOS)

Best for planning meetings on your own

Solid

If you’re more interested in prepping and taking good notes than sending material to other attendees, Solid is a good option. This elegant app connects to your Google Calendar or Office 365 account to show you what’s on your calendar for the next week.

Every meeting gets its own blank “Notes” page. You can add action items, decisions, or “open issues.” Create an order for your meeting by grouping related items under sections. If you’d like to attach a file, Solid lets you embed it along with your notes.

To help keep you on track, the app tells you how much time is left in the meeting and how many topics you still need to address. Once the meeting is over, Solid sends you an in-depth summary of your notes. You can also share this summary with others via email, Evernote, Slack, or (using Zapier) Google Docs.

Then, check your unfinished tasks from every meeting with the “action items” tab in Solid. You'll also find a detailed analysis in Solid about how much total time you’re spending in meetings, when they’re taking place, who you’re meeting with, and so on.

Price: Free

See Solid integrations on Zapier

MeetingKing (Web, iOS)

Best for one-off meetings

MeetingKing

Tools that require every participant to have an account can be inconvenient, especially when you’re working with people outside your company or having frequent one-off meetings. Enter: MeetingKing. It lets you send agendas by email, so you’re the only one who needs to be a user.

Organizers can use MeetingKing’s agenda templates or create their own. No need to fill out time, length, attendees, location, or other logistical information—that info is pulled in automatically from your connected Google Calendar, iCal, or Outlook account.

Agendas are organized into topics. During the meeting, you flesh out each topic by adding short bullets, which you can save as tasks, decisions, or notes. For instance, if your first topic is “monthly paid search budget,” and Sarah tells the group about November’s results, you might add a note for November ROAS: 200%. If you decide to increase the budget, you’d save Double budget as a decision.

Every task you create can have an owner. When someone is assigned a task, they’ll get an email—and a follow-up email if they don’t finish it before the due date. It’s also possible to add and comment on tasks from your email inbox.

MeetingKing’s parking lot feature helps you avoid runaway discussions. Each time someone brings up a topic that’s not on the agenda, you create an item for it in the “parking lot.” Don't discuss that topic now—instead, next time you’re making a meeting agenda, check the parking lot for topics you need to include.

Price: Free for attendees; from $9.95/month Pro Single plan for 1 organizer

Minutes.io (Web)

Best for effective note-taking

Minutes.io

It’s tough to take notes and stay engaged at the same time. Usually, you end up talking or typing, not both. Minutes.io solves that with an actionable agenda.

With the app’s clean, easy-to-read template, you can quickly create agenda items and add in your notes. Every item can be categorized as “agenda,” “decision, “done,” “todo,” or “idea,” and given an owner and deadline. To quickly move around and make changes, use Minute.io’s hotkeys.

Once the meeting has wrapped up, email a copy to each of the attendees. Holding a similar meeting? Copy your agenda so you can reuse it.

Because Minutes.io works offline, it’s a good choice for meetings on the go.

Price: Free; from $9/month Monthly plan for custom branding and faster support

Agenda Maker (iOS)

Best for preparing for meetings on-the-go

Agenda Maker

Imagine that you’re walking down the street or sitting on the subway, when you suddenly realize you’ve got a meeting coming up with no agenda. Agenda Maker is made for those moments. As the name suggests, it has just one function: Making agendas. Simply start a fresh one, type out your agenda items, drag and drop them into order, and if you’d like, add notes and allocate time to specific items.

Agenda Maker's best feature is automatically calculating and allocating time for your meetings based on the items you drag and drop in your agenda. You can also create multi-day agendas, create sub-agenda items, and set default times for agenda items.

Sharing your agenda is also straightforward. Email it to people, send them a PDF version, or print a copy before your meeting.

Price: $1.99 on the App Store; $0.99 in-app purchase to add meeting attendees and minutes

Less Meeting (Web, iOS)

Best for a visualized agenda timeframe

Less Meeting

Less Meeting encourages you to have productive meetings by visualizing your meeting time. Here’s how it works:

Before the meeting, the organizer sets an overall time limit, along with set times for each item on the agenda. During the meeting, a countdown timer at the bottom of the agenda shows how many minutes you have left. It’ll turn yellow when there’s five minutes on the clock. If you go over, it’ll turn red. Meanwhile, agenda items turn yellow when there’s a minute left of their scheduled time.

You can also add bullet-style notes, documents and images, action items, meeting goals, and links to previous agendas. Or create agendas using the Outlook plugin, or Google Apps and iCal template, and sync your tasks with popular to-do apps. Less Meeting includes keyboard shortcuts to streamline the minutes-taking process.

If you’re on your phone or iPad, you can drag and drop your notes into the order you need. Working in a Wi-Fi-free zone? The app will store your changes and sync them you’re back online.

Price: From $12/month 1 Pack plan for 1 user

Minute-it (Web)

Best for easy meeting prep

Minute-it

If it takes too much effort to prepare for a meeting, you probably won’t do it. Luckily, Minute-it can do it for you. Integrate the tool with your Outlook, Google Calendar, or iCal account, and Minute.it will automatically generate agendas for your scheduled meetings. You can then list your discussion topics, allocate time to each item, and upload your materials in minutes.

Once all the attendees have shown up, the agenda’s built-in countdown timer will help you stay focused and on-topic. Participants can add comments, notes, deliverables, decisions, and deadlines to the doc in real time—transforming it from schedule to fully fleshed-out minutes.

Minute-it automatically emails the meeting notes to everyone present. Then, attendees can log into their dashboard and view notes from previous meetings, along with an overview of any outstanding action items.

Price: Free for 1 user; from $27/month Starting-out plan for up to 3 users

See Minute-it integrations on Zapier

Lucid Meeting (Web)

Best for advanced meeting agendas

Lucid Meeting

Client meetings are far different from company meetings, which are far different from board meetings, which are far different from investor meetings. If you’re running lots of different types of meetings, you need a tool that can handle them all.

Lucid Meetings is an all-in-one app for every meeting under the sun.

Thanks to its large collection of templates, you can quickly whip up a professional-looking template. Keep things basic with topics of discussion and their estimated duration. Or, take things one step further with a smart list, which will dynamically update to include any notes or action items you created in previous meetings.

If you want others to add to your agenda, you can give them editing privileges. You can also assign a “read-only” view.

Everyone can add notes while the meeting is live. But you won’t see the entire agenda at once—to keep people focused, the app zooms into the current topic of discussion. It also give you a signal when you’re almost out of time and when you need to move on.

Deciding anything as a group? Create a motion. You can make voting public or anonymous, which is useful when you’re discussing sensitive topics.

To help you gauge how well meetings are going and where you can improve, Lucid Meetings sends a quick follow-up survey to each attendee after the meeting, along with the meeting notes and a summary of their action items.

Price: Free for personal use; from $19/month plan for 1 organizer

See Lucid Meetings integrations on Zapier

Apps for More Productive Meetings

Maybe you don't need a tool to schedule your meetings or keep your talks on track. You might just need a tool that reminds you of the time spent in meetings, and helps you find ways to get more value out of that time. These handy tools do just that.

Meeting Ticker (Web)

Best for calculating a meeting’s ROI

Meeting Ticker

Next time you’re questioning whether or not to hold a meeting, try Meeting Ticker. After you plug in how many people will be attending, the average hourly rate, and the estimated meeting length, this nifty tool will tell you how much the meeting is costing you. Watch as the meter rapidly adds up until you click "Stop the bleeding."

Meeting Ticker

It’s far from an exact science. But when you’re on the fence about a meeting, seeing its dollar value might be helpful.

Price: Free

Meeting Calculator (Web)

Best for personal meeting insights

Meeting Calculator

To get a snapshot of your meeting habits, connect Meeting Calculator to your Google Calendar account. In a few seconds, it pulls in data from every event that had two or more attendees and a start and end time from the last year. It'll then crunch the numbers and give you interesting stats on how many hours you spent in meetings, their average length, the percentage of meetings you’re creating versus being invited to, and more.

Price: Free

Team Meeting Checklist (Web)

Best for planning a productive meeting

Team Meeting Checklist

The Team Meeting Checklist was created to make the collaboration process go more smoothly.

It lays out the 25 essential conditions of a good meeting, starting with the prep work (“meeting location is set,” “clearly defined objective is set,” etc.). There are several items for the meeting itself, like “one topic will be discussed at one time,” and “everyone will leave the room knowing what’s happening next.” Finally, the checklist covers what will happen after the meeting, including “participants will receive a follow-up within 24 hours” and “unfinished business will be put on the next agenda.”

Having a clear, easy-to-follow outline is helpful for the organizer—but the checklist is even more helpful for setting expectations for attendees. Once you’ve checked the requirements that apply to your meeting, you can email the list to your participants.

Price: Free

Team Meeting Timer (Web, Android)

Best for keeping discussions focused

Team Meeting Timer

Need a no-fuss way to end your meetings on time? Open Team Meeting Timer, set the length, and watch the countdown start. When time runs out, end your meeting.

You could use any timer for this, but since the Team Meeting Timer is boldly visual, it’s perfect for leaving up on a screen in your conference room or video call, where everyone can see it. The app also provides prompts to help you get the meeting moving along, such as "Sum up key discussions" when the end time is getting close.

Price: Free


Not everyone's a fan of meetings, but they can be productive–especially when you've got tools to streamline meetings and keep everyone focused on the agenda.

But before you can run a productive meeting, you need to get it on everyone’s calendars. Check out the 16 best meeting scheduler apps to figure out the best meeting time for everyone. And if you're working with remote team members, or trying to schedule meetings across time zones, learn how to run a remote team meeting to make your next meeting more effective.

Conference table photo by Benjamin Child via Unsplash.

Updated June 22, 2017 to remove the now-defunct Do.com.

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