The agenda is one of those terrifying things that convince many women that running a
meeting is very hard indeed. The agenda is simply the programme for the meeting; the order in which the business is to be taken. It always begins in the same way with the Chairman's opening words and the apologies. It carries on through the reading of the minutes; works through the correspondence and on to the really important business. Then what time is left is given to small matters that the people at the meeting may wish to discuss, and these are tucked away, like after-dinner conversation under that comfortable heading—General.
The agenda is very useful. Everyone at the meeting can run her eye down and see exactly what is coming, and when it is coming. The Chairman can tell by looking at it, just how long to let the discussion on support for the Saturday dance ramble on, when there are some important financial matters still to be discussed. And besides if Mrs T. insists on wanting to discuss things out of turn, the Chairman can always point out to her that what she is interested in is included further down the agenda.
The best way to arrange an agenda is for the Secretary and the Chairman to get together beforehand and to sort the business out in order of importance, and set it down under Item 6. Then, if possible, at a committee meeting or an annual meeting, each person present should have a copy of the Agenda in front of her.
Chairman opens meeting and takes any apologies.
Minutes of the last meeting read by the Secretary, confirmed by the meeting and signed by the Chairman.
Business arising out of the Minutes.
Secretary reads the correspondence.
Business arising out of the correspondence.
Business of the day, arranged in a suitable order.
Arrange the date of the next meeting.
Chairman closes the meeting.
This is the first article on running a meeting. Next time we shall work through the agenda, and set down some of the things a good Chairman must say and do to make the meeting a success.