The Amazing Agenda
Most people chairing a meeting will use an agenda of some sort whether it's a printed copy handed out to all attendees or a scribbled bit of paper that only the chair can read.
However it looks, an agenda is essential for a successful meeting. Creating an agenda forces you to consider why you're having a meeting, what you hope it will accomplish, who needs to attend and how long it might take. Having an agenda also makes it much easier to keep a record of what decisions where taken at the meeting, important for follow up.
Preparing an agenda:
Be specific, otherwise the meeting will waste time defining them.
Limit the number of topics so that they can be covered.
Allocate responsibility for each item on the agenda to an individual.
Progress from the easy to the difficult
Ensure large topics are structured logically and flow from giving information to discussion to a decision.
Arrange topics logically in order to avoid duplication.
Set a start and finish time for the meeting
Set a time for each item on the agenda according to its importance.
Consider allowing a break if the meeting will last longer than an hour.
Ensure all those who will be affected are notified that the meeting is taking place, even if they themselves are not invited.
Send the agenda out a few days (or as long as time will allow) before the meeting. Avoid sending it out too far in advance however as things may change in the interim causing the agenda to be altered. If this happens ensure that everyone receives an updated copy before the meeting
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