Before the meeting starts (sometimes given at the same time as the Notice of Meeting), you need to let all those invited to attend the meeting what it is that's to be discussed and the order that these items will be mentioned in. Known as an Agenda, this lets everyone prepare for the meeting in advance so that they can bring up any important points at the relevant time.
A formal agenda should always contain the following information:
- The word Agenda
- The name of the organisation, group or person calling the meeting
- The date and time of the meeting
- The meeting venue
- Minutes of the Last Meeting
- Matters Arising
- Your meeting's topics listed one after the other
- Any Other Business
- Date and Time of Next Meeting
The first 4 points here make up the header section for the Agenda, so the order of the information may vary - as in the example agenda shown above, where the word 'Agenda' appears after the rest of the header information.
A numbered list should then be given, with 5 of the points fixed as shown in the list above, and any points specific to this particular meeting listed in the middle of them. That is, start with Apologies (who can't attend the meeting), Minutes of the Last Meeting (even for a first meeting - this just becomes 'not relevant') and Matters Arising (points still to be addressed from the previous meeting's minutes).
Next come specific points for this meeting, and then round off with Any Other Business (sometimes abbreviated to AOCB - for Any Other Current Business) where any relevant items not already discussed in the meeting can be mentioned. Finally, the last point on the Agenda should be a note of when the next meeting will be (or TBA, if this is still 'to be arranged').
Next: Agenda Example