Re: Planning the Agenda for the Meetings
From: Tree Bressen (
Date: Wed, 1 May 2002 09:00:02 -0600 (MDT)

>I'm wondering how much time it takes people to plan the agenda for the
>general meeting. 

>  I think at the last meeting, there were
>6-8 people in attendance and it took two hours to plan the agenda.  That
>seems to me to be a lot of time.  

When i first moved to Acorn Community in Virginia (pop. ~20) our meetings
had no planned agendas, we just showed up and figured it out on the spot.
CT Butler came through and suggested we start doing advance planning, so 3
people formed a committee to do that.  At first it took the 3 of us about 2
hours to plan the week's meetings, but once we got in the swing of it two
people could do it together in about half an hour.

I think 2-3 people, 4 at most, is the right number to do agenda planning
for a given meeting and that 5-8 makes the process unnecessarily burdensome.  

I also think that really doing agenda planning well does take significant
time.  Part of why we got it down to less than half an hour at Acorn is
because we didn't cover aspects like considering what format would be best
for an item.  This is a typical oversight--groups default to large group
"plenary" discussion when small groups or another format might be best for
some situations.  

>Would people be willing to say what are the criteria that you use for
>setting agendas for meetings?   

The following list is meant to be suggestive rather than exhaustive.  I
hope you find it helpful.

WHO will be present:
        · to sponsor or present an item?
        · to hear information or participate in making a decision?
        · to facilitate the meeting?

        · How long has an item been waiting?
        · Are there deadlines for action?
        · Where are people at with this issue, are they ready for it?
        · What else is going on for individuals and the group?
        · Find a balanced mixture of ?light? and ?heavy? items.
        · Consider the length of meeting.

        · What are the priority issues for the group right now?
        · Does this really need everyone?s time?
        · Should it be handled by a smaller group or a manager either before or
instead of going to meeting?
        · Would it be addressed better by posting something in writing?
        · Is there research that needs to be done ahead of time?
        · Is there documentation that needs to be posted or distributed ahead of
        · Is the sponsor ready to present the item?




Tree Bressen
1680 Walnut St.
Eugene, OR 97403
(541) 484-1156
tree [at]
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