by Tree Bressen
First, some basic agenda planning principles:
- Use meeting time efficiently by being in sync with natural urges and by planning well
- Keep an ongoing agenda collection list
- Rotate the agenda planner roles
- Assist new members in learning how to use the system
- Screen items to determine which things should be on for a particular meeting and in what order (see below)
- Consult with the people involved in each item to ensure seasoning and preparedness
- Turn in items by 1/4 ahead (e.g., a week ahead for a monthly meeting), and post agenda ahead of time
- Approve agenda at start of meeting
- When an item comes up in meeting that isn’t on the agenda, put it onto the ongoing agenda list unless the group agrees to change topics
- Don’t go more than 90 minutes without a break
Here is a list of useful questions to ask as you consider what agenda items to include. This list is intended to be suggestive rather than exhaustive; you may come up with other questions for your group.
WHO will be present:
- to sponsor or present an item?
- to participate in making the decision?
- to facilitate the meeting?
- How long has an item been waiting?
- Are there deadlines for action?
- Where are people at with this issue, are they ready for it?
- What else is going on for individuals and the group?
- Find a balanced mixture of “light” and “heavy” items.
- Consider the length of meeting.
- What are the priority issues for the group right now?
- Does this really need everyone’s time?
- Should it be handled by a smaller group or a manager either before or instead of going to meeting?
- Would it be addressed better by posting something in writing?
- Is there research that needs to be done ahead of time?
- Is there documentation that needs to be posted ahead of time?
- Is the sponsor ready to present the item?