Agenda – Definition,Elements and Importance

Definition: Agenda originated from a Latin word meaning “things to be said.” It was used in English to mean “a list of things to be done” in the early 15th century and is still used in that sense. The current use of the term in modern English is believed to date from the mid-19th century.

What is an Agenda?

Agendas are the most important tools in the meeting planner’s kit. They are a way for people to suggest what should be discussed and for the meeting organizer to consider when deciding what to focus on. Generally, it is best to have a relatively simple agenda that reflects the main topics you want to discuss in a business meeting.

Agendas can provide structure and focus for meetings, but they can also help attendees understand the purpose of the meeting and prepare for their participation. Participants themselves can write meeting agendas or create an outside party (e.g., a facilitator).\ It is typically prepared by the chairperson of the meeting and distributed to the participants before the start of the meeting.

Agendas may be simple lists of topics to be addressed, or they may be more detailed and include proposed solutions for issues to be discussed. Often the agenda is prepared after the circulation of notice to include members’ opinions and ideas on what should be discussed. For example, suppose an association’s governing body is deciding whether or not to change its bylaws. In that case, members can submit their opinions to the secretary, who will include them in the agenda.

If a meeting involves secret or confidential items, such as national defense or security, an agenda may not be circulated before the meeting.

Who prepares an agenda?

The agenda of a meeting is the content that will be discussed during the meeting. An agenda can be prepared by anyone involved in planning the meeting, but the chair of the meeting most often prepares it. The facilitator is responsible for organizing the meeting, providing information to attendees, and helping facilitate discussion.
The agenda of a meeting is usually drafted at the beginning of the meeting by the facilitator, but it can also be prepared at any time before or during the meeting. An agenda should be written clearly and concisely so that all participants have an understanding of what is on it.

Elements of Agenda

An agenda is a detailed plan of how a meeting will be conducted. The elements of an agenda include:

– A list of the people who will attend and their agenda topics (agenda items) and roles (e.g., chair, note taker, timekeeper).

– A list of materials to be reviewed before the meeting.

– Topics for discussion at the meeting. These are sometimes called “action items” or “action points.” Each topic is written as one or more action items.

– Procedures to follow during the meeting, including how much time should be devoted to each agenda item and how decisions will be made.

– How much time should be devoted to breaks and lunch.

What terms are used in preparing and using an agenda?

  1. Action items –Action items are those tasks that will need to be completed by an attendee at a subsequent meeting.
  2. Attendee – A person who will be attending the meeting in person
  3. Chairperson -The Chairperson is in charge of the meeting and calls on people to speak.
  4. Meeting- A meeting is a formal discussion between two or more people to work toward a goal.
  5. Minutes- The meeting minutes record the decisions, agreements, and any further action to be taken.

Features or characteristics of agenda

  1. In most cases, the agenda is sent along with the notice of the meeting.
  2. The agenda of a meeting can be written before or after the signature of the convener, but it’s better to write it before.
  3. It is organized in order of importance.
  4. Controversial issues are usually unpopular, so write them at the end.
  5. The secretary determines the actions and content of the meetings with the approval of the higher authority or convener.
  6. It is a brief but explicit piece of writing.

Importance or necessities of agenda

  • The agenda is an organized list of topics to discuss in a meeting; it helps the attendees focus and ensures that no essential topics are overlooked. The importance of the agenda is as follows-
  • If the members of the committee or meeting know what topics will be discussed in advance, they can take time to prepare for it.
  • It helps to make a prompt decision if you have all the facts.
  • A meeting agenda typically has a set order of topics, which helps the chairperson conduct the meeting smoothly.
  • Having an agenda ensures that everyone will speak and that all the topics you need to discuss will get covered.
  • The agenda keeps the meeting from going off-topic or having too many tangents.
  • If you’re the organization’s secretary, it helps to write the minutes and resolution of the meeting.
  • Agenda helps to hold a meeting with a specific topic of discussion. It also helps members to get a broad idea of what they can discuss in the meeting.

What if there were no agenda?

There is no agenda; then, the meeting will probably be disorganized and time-wasting. Members of a meeting may spend time talking about what they should talk about rather than talking about it. It may be difficult for everyone to know when the meeting has finished or how to end it. People may try to take control of the meeting by using personal attacks or hostility. This may cause the meeting to achieve nothing or very little.

The solution to these problems is for everyone in the meeting to know what they are supposed to be doing. For this to happen, someone needs to make an agenda that contains all of the information people need. The agenda should contain everything that people need to run the meeting efficiently and successfully.

If there is no agenda, then it is likely that the meeting will have problems running smoothly and achieving its objectives.