Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio December
BY MARTHA COOKE
DEVELOPING THE MEETING AGENDA
The following checklist was adapted in part from The
Complete Handbook of Business Meetings by Eli Mina, AMACOM, New
York City, © 2000.
PRIORITIZING AGENDA ITEMSDoes the item fit within the group's operating philosophy and
the overall purpose of the meeting?Is the item for information only, discussion or
decision-making?Is the issue timely for this meeting?What research or supporting materials will be necessary to
address the item? Is there adequate time for preparation?Who will lead the discussion of each item? 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 dialogue.
SCHEDULINGSchedule routine items for the beginning of the meeting.Issues requiring a vote or decision should be scheduled early
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.Leave time at the end to discuss new business or to accommodate
issues that exceeded their designated time.Develop a numbering system for agenda items to make
minute-taking and future references easier.
FORMATS TO CONSIDERBegin the session with an icebreaker, or arrange for a comedic
sketch facilitated by a professional.Schedule a keynote speech addressing the group's operating
principles. Consider using a guest speaker for variety.Have small group discussions on pressing issues.Schedule a strategically timed refreshment break (coffee,
dessert bar, etc.) to encourage networking.
If a meeting agenda needs to be fleshed out or diversified,
consider the following elements.
MEMBER INPUTHow can we serve members/customers better?What creative fund-raising methods should we consider?How can we keep members/customers informed and abreast of new
initiatives?How can we collaborate with similar organizations to help
further our goals?How can we improve communication with the community, news media
and 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 we do to better facilitate the exchange of
feedback?How can we enhance the quality of meetings?
Solicit feedback from members to encourage their involvement and
integrate valuable ideas into the program. Some questions to
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