Write clear, concise and condensed meeting minutes and still keep your sanity!

If you take minutes it goes hand in hand that you probably have a bit to do with agenda preparation.

Some things to consider when you’re preparing an agenda:

1      All agenda items should be numbered.

2      Times written beside each agenda item either as the time ie 7.30 pm or an expected amount of time allowed eg ½ hour.

3      Names written beside those people who are responsible for speaking/presenting on a particular agenda item.

4      Status report of those items which have background material eg ‘to be tabled’, ‘attached’.


Tips to assist the minute taker and the chairperson in setting an agenda 

  1. Use the action column from the previous meeting’s minutes to work out what is outstanding. Avoid overloading matters arising.  Some subjects may need to be carried over to the main part of the agenda.
  2. If appropriate, gather new items of business from participants.
  3. Ask yourself the following questions when considering whether or not to include an item:
  • Is the item in line with the meeting’s objectives?
  • Is the item of relevant concern to all participants?
  • Is the issue one within the group’s authority?
  • Is the subject appropriate to the level of the group?
  • Do the participants have all the information it needs to discuss the topic? If the item is to be included on the agenda, then you should be able to answer “yes” to the first four questions.  If you answered “no” to the last question, refer it to a sub committee or staff member for further research.

4. Avoid overloading the agenda. Be realistic about what can be covered in the timeframe available.

5. If appropriate, contact people before the meeting to check they have completed their allocated tasks from the previous minutes.


Free template

A free template can be accessed here.

An agenda can often be the most valuable tool in ensuring a successful meeting. A good agenda will ensure all topics are covered in a timely manner.


Do you have any extra tips to assist in agenda preparation?

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