October 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio September 2002 Current Issue
September 2002 ChecklistPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:




The following checklist was adapted in part from The Complete Handbook of Business Meetings by Eli Mina (AMACOM;


  • Does the agenda item fit within the group’s operating philosophy and the overall purpose of the meeting?
  • Is the item for discussion, decision-making or for information only?
  • Is the issue timely for this meeting?
  • What research or other supporting materials will be necessary to adequately address the item? Is there enough time to prepare these materials?
  • Determine who will present information and take questions. If necessary, assign people to specific tasks.
  • Determine how much time to allot for each item. Allocate less time for routine and noncontroversial agenda items. Conversely, allow more time for items that are likely to provoke debate.

  • Schedule routine items for the beginning of the meeting.
  • Leave ample time for issues requiring a vote or decision, to ensure completion.
  • Schedule agenda items requiring creativity for the morning, when concentration is at its highest. Avoid addressing these topics immediately after lunch, when people are more apt to be sluggish.
  • Intersperse substantive items with lighter ones to avoid attendee burnout.
  • If the day’s schedule is long, allow for ample break time so attendees can check voice- and e-mail.
  • Leave time at the end of the meeting to discuss new business or to accommodate any issues that exceeded their designated time.
  • Develop a numbering system for agenda items to make minute-taking and future references easier.
  • Include question-and-answer sessions after speaker segments so attendees can interact with the presenter. varying formats Consider adapting any of the following elements.
  • Begin the session with an icebreaker, or arrange for a comedic sketch facilitated by a professional.
  • Schedule a keynote speech that addresses the group’s overall operating principles. Consider utilizing a guest speaker, rather than internal management, for variety.
  • Have small group discussions on pressing issues.
  • Schedule a strategically timed refreshment break (coffee, dessert bar, etc.) to encourage networking.
  • Consider holding a networking reception at day’s end if the schedule is too intensive to allow for attendee interaction.
    Solicit feedback from members both before and after the meeting to encourage their involvement and integrate valuable ideas into the program. Some questions to ask:

  • How can we serve members/customers better?
  • What creative fund-raising methods should we consider?
  • How can we keep members/customers better informed of new initiatives?
  • How can we collaborate with similar organizations to help further our goals?
  • How can we improve communication with the community, the news media and the general public?
  • How can we capitalize on the skills, knowledge and experience of staff and volunteers?
  • How should achievements and contributions be recognized?
  • What can be done to facilitate the exchange of feedback?
  • How can we enhance the overall quality of meetings?

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