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Agenda vs Minutes

Agenda and minutes are two of the most important ingredients of a meeting. There are many
things on the mind of the person who arranges the meeting such as the schedule, timing,
venue, the guests, the meeting plan, and so on. It, therefore, becomes necessary to be aware
of the differences between agenda and minutes.
Agenda
Agenda is a word that is used to describe the schedule or the program of a meeting. It is a list
of things that need to be done or discussed during the meeting. Any formal meeting that is
organized requires making its agenda. There is a sequence in which items are taken up and
discussed during the meeting and the agenda of the meeting clearly mentions this sequence.
This agenda is circulated among the guests well before they actually arrive at the venue at the
time of the meeting so as to allow them to familiarize with the topics that will be discussed
during the meeting. Another objective of the agenda is to make sure that the participants
prepare accordingly and are not caught unawares.
Minutes
Minutes is a term that is used to refer to an official record of the proceedings during a formal
meeting. These minutes serve as records of what happened during a meeting as also to remind
people after some time if they forget. These minutes are also useful for all those who are not
able to attend the meeting as they get to know everything that took place during the meeting.
Minutes contain the name of the venue, the date and time of the meeting, and the list of all
those who attended the meeting. These minutes also contain the name of the person who
takes these minutes.

Agenda
Agenda is a document that outlines the contents of a forthcoming meeting. It is usually sent
along with the notice of the meeting. It comes from the Latin word “agendum” (singular)
which means ‘a thing to be done.’ It is the route map of the meeting. The specimen notices
above already contain a hint of how it is written. The agenda may be a part of the notice or
may be attached as an annexure. The convenor/secretary prepares it in consultation with the
chairperson and gets his approval.

Features or characteristics of agenda


The features of agenda can be state as follows:
 Generally, agenda is sent along with the notice of the meeting.
 It is written at the end but before or after the signature of the convener of the meeting.
 It is arranged according to the importance of the end.
 Controversial topics should be written at the end.
 The topics are determined by the secretary with consulting the higher authority or the
convener of the meeting.
 It written in brief but explicit manner.

Importance or necessities of agenda


Agenda is the explicit topics to be discussed in a meeting by the members. No one can ignore
the importance of an agenda. The necessity or importance’s of an agenda are as follows:
 As it is circulated in advance, the members of the committee or meeting can take
preparation to discuss the topics accurately.
 It helps to take prompt decision.
 Since it has a set of order, it helps the chairperson to conduct the meeting smoothly.
 It can ensure covering all the topics that will be discussed in a meeting.
 It helps to control the unnecessary talking in the meeting.
 It is helps to write the minutes and resolution of the meeting.
 As it is served earlier, the members of the meeting can exchange their thought and
ideas informally before holding the meeting.

Corporate Meetings
Corporate Meetings are very crucial part of business activities. They are a significant means
of formal communication. Meetings are a venue for generation of new and innovative ideas.
These meetings are multipurpose in nature actually. They aim at discussing feedback and
receiving feedback on the spot. The information of prior importance is given during
meetings. They are a true means of conveying feelings and expressions. Meetings involve
people of the company. Meetings, thus, encourage participation and motivate them.
Participants in a meeting, if given responsibility, turn out to be more productive and
contribute to organizational success.
Corporate Meetings thus turn out to be a place where various aspects of business
management are discussed- the performance of the company, the mission and vision of
company, the weaknesses of company, the obstacles faced and how to overcome them.
Effective meetings involve presentations and lead to personality development. Efficient
meetings save time, money and resources of the company.
While conducting business meetings, certain things have to be taken care of. Decisions
should be based on facts and based on circumstances, they shouldn’t be based on
presumptions. The participants should be optimum in number, not too much. Don’t go off
track or don’t forget the agenda of the meeting. Avoid distractions during meetings, such as-
looking here and there, talking on phone, fiddling, etc. Decision-making should be
unambiguous. Don’t waste time waiting for latecomers. Start discussion on time.
A successful and effective business meeting is one which is well planned. It should be
planned well in advance that who all would be the participants in meeting, the time, venue,
and agenda of meeting. The agenda of the meeting should be clear to all. Do not try to make a
fish market in meeting. Respect everyone’s views. Respect the leader. Try and co-operate. It
has to be ensured that the decisions that are reached through a meeting should be
implemented. Also, all participants must get minutes at the end of meeting.
Corporate Meetings tell where the company is and where is it heading. They are
communication drivers behind organization’s success. Successful Corporate Meetings are
productive, creative, well- focused, timely and well-led.
How to Conduct a Meeting?
Communicating in a meeting is an essential part of effective communication. Some meetings
are not conducted in an efficient manner due to which they fail in accomplishing the sole
objective of the meeting. It may be because:
• They do not involve participation of all, or
• They may be too long, or
• They may be unsystematic, or
• They may lack a clear agenda, or
• They may not begin on the planned time, or
• They may end without any conclusion.
As a result, such meetings lead to agitation and sheer wastage of time. In order to ensure
effectiveness of a meeting, it must be planned, systematic and rational.
The process of running an effective meeting includes the following steps:
Plan the meeting: Plan the meeting in advance. With the plan clear in mind, the
objective of the meeting can be well accomplished. Planning includes-
• Outline the objective of the meeting.
• Decide the attendees/participants of the meeting.
• Plan an agenda for the meeting, i.e., the topics to be discussed, the sequence in which
they will be discussed, in how much detail they will be discussed, the time given to each
agenda topic, etc.
• Plan the starting time of the meeting, plan for the breaks, and also plan the
approximate time by which the meeting should end.
Announce/declare the meeting: After planning the meeting and before actually
beginning the meeting, the participants should be delivered a message/memorandum to make
them aware and ready for the topics to be discussed in the meeting. Give each participant
responsibility for the agenda item. Issue the agenda.
Conduct the meeting: Be punctual. Try and arrive before time for the meeting. The
meeting should begin on time. State the objective of the meeting in the very beginning so that
all are clear with the purpose of the meeting. Give a brief introduction of the
members/participants so that all are familiar. Circulate notes and handouts. Involve all
attendees during the discussion. Encourage new ideas from the participants. Respect their
ideas. Ask for a feedback. Make sure that there are no distractions during the meeting (such
as ringing cell phones, or participants fiddling with pen, or gossiping, etc.). Give a quick
review of the issues discussed in the meeting. Make sure that all the issues are discussed
within the time frame. If time does not permit discussion of all issues, ask the participants if
they are comfortable in discussing those issues in next meeting. Fix and decide upon the time
for the next meeting.
Evaluate the meeting: Assess the meeting after it is conducted. Distribute an
evaluation form to all participants which provides you a feedback on the effectiveness of the
meeting. To get credible and honest feedback, do not give a space for name of the attendee on
the form. Ask questions such as whether the objectives of the meetings were well met, did it
involve participation of all, which part of the meeting did the attendee found most
constructive and which part of meeting was not significant.

Minutes
The minutes of a meeting are the record of the discussions/decisions therein. They have an
official status; they are useful in law, and in some cases required by law to be written.
Minutes are final when they are approved by the members of the group to which they relate,
generally in the next meeting, and signed by the chairperson, secretary and other authorizes
person of the meeting.
Minutes are required
 To confirm any decisions made.
 To record any agreed actions to be taken.
 To record who has been allocated any tasks or responsibilities
 To prompt action from any relevant attendees.
 To provide details of the meeting to anyone unable to attend.
 To serve as a record of the meeting’s procedure and outcome.
 Notice vs Agenda
 The words “notice” and “agenda” are commonly used in the corporate meetings.
People generally misunderstand these two words and use them in place of each other,
which is not a correct practice as both the terms have different meanings and usages.
 Notice
 “Notice” is an announcement which is used to communicate all of the desirable
members to attend a meeting. In a notice, all the required information such as the date,
time and the venue of the meeting is given for the meeting. In order to allow the
members to be prepared for the meeting, the notice should appropriately be sent at
least seven days in advance to the date of the meeting.
 In the case of educational institutes, important information such as the changes in
school or college times, information about a function, or some other important event
as a vacation or examination are normally given by drafting a notice to let the students
know about the event. Issuing a notice to the employees is also a common practice to
get their explanation for any theft or fraud. Issuing a notice to a party in a judicial
matter is also essential to give him an opportunity to defend himself.
Agenda
 A list, an outline or a plan of matter to be discussed or things to be done in a meeting
is called the agenda of the meeting. The topics or agenda of the meeting are arranged
in order of preference indicating which point is to be discussed first. An agenda in
advance, is mandatory for the success of any meeting. Without proper planning and a
well laid out agenda, there is always a possibility of confusion and chaos during the
meeting. During the election process, political parties also declare their agenda. In the
agenda they declare the policies they follow and programs they plan, to educate the
electorate so they can cast votes accordingly. An agenda is also set for a UN meeting.