If maximum contribution is to be forthcoming from all participants, the purpose of the meeting should be recognised by all. The most tangible expression of this is the agenda which should be circulated beforehand to all those invited to the meeting. The agenda should:
- Give the time and place of the meeting.
- List the topics to be covered, indicating who will introduce them.
- Have any relevant papers attached.
- Give the time the meeting will close.
The Agenda: This is the outline plan for the meeting. In most formal meetings it is drawn up by the secretary or a personal assistant in consultation with the chairperson. The PA must circulate the agenda well in advance of the meeting, including any accompanying papers. The PA also requests items for inclusion in the agenda.
Regular meetings often start with the minutes from the last meeting followed by ‘matters arising’ which forms a link with what has happened in the previous meeting. Most meetings conclude with ‘any other business’ (AOB) which gives everyone the opportunity for any genuine last minute items to be raised; though more formal meetings may have AOB items listed on the agenda.
An example of an agenda might be:
- Apologies for absence.
- Minutes of last meeting.
- Matters arising (from minutes of last meeting).
- Item 1 – Training & Development.
- Item 2 – Report on Funding.
- Item 3 – Finance & Equipment.
- O.B. (Any Other Business).
- Time and date of next meeting.