Preparing an agenda
A well-run meeting will have a clear and concise agenda. An agenda is usually a one-page document that outlines what will happen at the meeting and what topics will be discussed. It is the list of business (essential topics) to be dealt with, in order of presentation. An agenda advises attendees of both the meeting purpose and the role they are expected to play.
Before the meeting, someone, usually the chairperson or meeting convenor, is responsible for preparing a draft agenda.
Items for the agenda will come from a variety of sources including:
- a review of the minutes from the last meeting
- ongoing issues from previous meetings
- new correspondence
- the organization’s calendar
- input gathered from the meeting convenor and other stakeholders
Depending on the purpose and type of meeting, attendees should be given the opportunity to add relevant items to the meeting agenda.
The agenda guides the meeting process and helps participants stay focused on the issues. It also reduces the possibility of a business being overlooked or forgotten in the meeting.
Components of an agenda might include:
- Purpose of meeting
- Statement of meeting’s purpose
- Acceptance of the previous meeting’s minutes
- Major agenda items
- General business
- Matters or business arising from the minutes
- Date of next meeting
- Time allocation
- Allocation of responsibilities
Alternately, an agenda might include:
- Call to order: The person leading the meeting (the chairperson or president) says, ‘The meeting will come to order.’ This is how the meeting is started.
- Minutes: One of the secretary’s jobs is to take notes during the meeting and write down everything that was discussed. During the meeting, the secretary will read the minutes of the previous meeting.
- Officers’ reports: Officers of the group/ club include the chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary, and treasurer. A report is given by each of the officers during the meeting.
- Committee reports: The chairperson of each committee tells the group what the committee has been doing.
- Unfinished business: The chairperson presents items discussed at the previous meeting that need to be discussed further.
- New business: The chairperson presents new topics for discussion. New business sometimes is referred to as special order.
- Special interest program: A guest speaker is invited to speak about a topic of interest.
- Announcements: The chairperson or another member shares information with members about upcoming events and activities.
- Adjournment: The chairperson moves to adjourn the meeting and closes the meeting.
Each agenda item should have specific time frames attached, for example:
- Welcome: 3 minutes
- Presentation: 30 minutes etc
This sample agenda outlines the topics to be discussed, the people who will be responsible for them, and the time frames of topics.
|Internet Marketing Association |
Wednesday 14th July 20XX, 10:00 am in Board Room
|Opening remarks||President||3 min|
|Acceptance of the previous minutes||President||2 min|
|Guest speaker||Alan McFarlane Project Officer,|
|Business Arising from the previous minutes|
|Establishing contact with the UK association||Kate||5 min|
|Employee induction program update||Helen||15 min|
|Membership report: Statistical report|
New member program intro
|Financial report: Status of budgetExpected outgoings in||Mary||10 min|
|New items of business|
|Initial ideas for next publicity campaign||Subail||15 min|
|Christmas party||Heidi||10 min|
|Close 12 noon|
Following an agenda does not always imply unquestioning devotion to it. For example, if an unplanned deviation could produce a clarification or the bonding together of meeting participants, then it might be necessary to allow the deviation.