We all know agenda are important to effective meetings. While there are many ways to build the agenda, we want to offer some of our ideas.
We end each committee meeting by developing the agenda for the next meeting. This enables everyone to focus on what is to be done the next time, reminds everyone of the responsibilities they have been assigned, and gives everyone the opportunity to suggest new agenda items.
During meetings we note which items need further attention at the next meeting and use that as the starting point for the next agenda. As the meeting concludes, we write the new agenda on a flip chart, assigning responsibility for each to a member (or members) of the committee.
It is important that everyone have the opportunity to add agenda items. If members do not feel they can bring their concerns to the table, they will not feel ownership of the committee or its work. When individuals dominate what can be on the agenda, participation, and ultimately attendance, will diminish.
Committees are encouraged to send the agenda to all members a few days before the meeting. This serves as another notice of the meeting and location, as well as a final reminder to members who are responsible for agenda items.
Committees may determine a process to add or remove agenda items between meetings as events warrant. These procedures should be agreed upon by all committee members.
We open each meeting with a review of the agenda and an opportunity for members to add new business items. They do so with the understanding that if the other committee members have not been provided with information in advance about these items and given the opportunity to prepare, these new items may not be considered at that meeting. These items may only serve to introduce an issue for consideration at the next meeting or to provide information.
Obviously, it is important to follow that carefully developed agenda during the meeting. We will discuss that aspect of agendas and meetings in a future blog.