STEP-BY-STEP PROCEDURE

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Step 1: Introduce the topic with these remarks:

“If we look back at meetings we’ve attended or conducted that have

not been too successful, we are likely to conclude that not having an

agenda or having only a poorly planned one was a major reason why

the meeting was a flop. The focus of this next activity is on how to

prepare a good agenda.

In this activity, we will also review why it’s important to have an

agenda. You will have an opportunity to work in small groups to prepare

one agenda together.”

Step 2: Discuss the importance of having an agenda for every scheduled

meeting. List participants’ ideas on the flipchart. Make sure they realize

that agendas:

_ Clarify which tasks and issues need discussion.

_ Put items into an order for discussion.

_ Help to identify how much time will be needed for a meeting.

_ Provide a way to measure the accomplishment of tasks.

_ Provide an outline for writing a report after the meeting.

State how to prepare an agenda. Discuss and record on the flipchart the

pros and cons of preparing the agenda before the meeting:

1. Pros:

_ It saves time in the meeting.

_ Items can be put in logical order.

_ Group members can prepare and bring resource materials to

support items on the agenda.

2. Cons:

_ It reduces spontaneity.

_ Participants cannot decide whether or not all of the items are

important for a particular meeting.

Step 3: Tell participants that the next 45 minutes will be spent putting together

a sample agenda. Then present the challenge: To set up an agenda for a

two-hour problem-solving session. Here’s the scenario:

“You work in a manufacturing setting. It has come to your attention

from several sources that the sales department makes promises to

customers that cannot be kept under the current production schedule.

You are calling a meeting with key people from sales, production,

shipping, information technology, and sales support departments. Your

goal is to solve the problem of scheduling so your company can keep its

promises to customers.”

Distribute Handout 40.1, Sample Agenda, and go over the parts of

an agenda:

_ Date and time of meeting

_ Names of those serving as team leader, facilitator, and recorder

_ Goals and objectives for the meeting

_ Topics, issues, and or activities

_ Processes to be used

_ Name of person responsible for each part of the agenda

_ Time allotted for each item on the agenda

Step 4: Divide participants into teams of three, and give each trio one large sheet

of chart paper and a pad of 3” x 3” self-sticking notes. At the top, they

must write the goal of the meeting, as well as starting and ending times.

Demonstrate how to use the chart paper to sketch out the agenda’s

skeleton. Use one sticky note for each component of the agenda. Start

with the normal items included in an agenda, such as

_ Introductions

_ Administrative details

_ Breaks

_ Closure

Each team should use the self-sticking notes for these items, and place

them on the paper. Show them on the flipchart how this is done:

Each team should first brainstorm all of the parts of this two-hour

meeting. For each topic or issue, they should prepare a separate sticky

note, which is physically placed on the large agenda sheet they are

designing. Encourage people to move items around until they get a flow

that makes sense and that provides some variety to the agenda, while

still accomplishing their goal. Tell them that agenda items are commonly

listed down the left of the page, in one column.

Step 5: When all the teams finish, post the agendas where everyone can see and

discuss each design. You are likely to see different designs that can achieve

the same goal. Praise creativity and variety of methods used in the design.

Step 6: Review agenda basics, and be sure you include these tips:

_ Stick to your agenda as much as you can. Periodically review what

you think has been accomplished, and preview which items are left.

Make adjustments as needed, using group consensus. Make sure you

keep to the announced times for breaks and adjournment.

_ It is very common to end up with too many items on an agenda, so

don’t be surprised when everything isn’t covered. Summarize those

items that weren’t covered, and decide with the group whether they

can be accomplished by an individual or a sub-group, or held until

the next meeting. Make a record of this decision, so individuals or

sub-groups can give reports at the next meeting. Also note the items

that will be incorporated into the next agenda.

_ The agenda can be used as an outline for preparing the minutes of

the meeting or a similar report.

Step 7: Summarize the importance of having a well-planned agenda with the

following words:

“Remember: An agenda is the roadmap you need to reach your chosen

destination.”

Break (7 minutes)

Agenda item

Agenda item

Summary

Closure

Name of Organization or Group

Date

Time

Place