An agenda is a list of topics to be introduced and discussed during a meeting. Agendas are useful for many meetings such as those in government institutions, nonprofit organizations and businesses. Agendas generally include a reading of the last meeting's minutes or notes, relevant announcements, a review of the topics for discussion and a roll call. Although agendas take time to set up, in the long run they can save time and resources.
Complete Discussion Goals
Agendas provide an outline of discussion topics. The outline prevents the moderator or members of the meeting from forgetting important topics to introduce. When all topics are thoroughly discussed, valuable decisions can be made as a group during the meeting instead of hurriedly making plans outside the meeting. Input and suggestions from a variety of perspectives improves the quality of performance by members.
Read More: How to Put a Discussion in Meeting Minutes
Assists in Communicating Important News
Agendas provide an opportunity to inform members through announcements about critical events, goals and tasks. Agendas enable members who might not have access to everyone in the organization to announce important news and hear news of interest. Without an agenda, announcements may not be communicated to all the members, which can result in confusion and resentment. Agendas also recap previous meetings to help members review the progress made and narrow the focus for the current meeting.
Provides Equal Opportunity to Contribute
Agendas generally mention items to be discussed for the next meeting. This gives the members a chance to ponder the discussion topics before the meeting. At many meetings, outspoken members are more than eager to participate while reserved individuals may be more hesitant. However, knowing what is going to be discussed enables members to research topics of interests, think about how the topics apply to their realm and then make thoughtful, quality contributions at the meeting.
An agenda prioritizes the most important activities, boosts productivity and focuses the members. The mere presence of an agenda creates a formal atmosphere and discourages members from wasting time. The agenda prepares the moderator and encourages consistency and organization. An agenda also sets the objectives and gives the members a goal. This organizes the thoughts of the members, direction of the meeting and the action after the meeting.
Contributes to Archives
A collection of past agendas is an ideal record for external and internal institutions, organizations and the public for viewing the progress of your organization. The documentation helps the public and organization members assess past decisions, remind them of previous events or important figures and formulate feasible goals. The roll call also helps administration determine the most dedicated members by counting attendance and reviewing contributions to the meeting. This can help with decisions on which members to promote or assign the role of addressing the public.
Dianne Heath has been writing professionally since 2009. Her work has been published in "The Hill," a political commentary publication, where she covered the water wars between Georgia, Florida and Alabama, as well as within California. Heath is pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.