The word 'Agenda' literally means things to be done. In relation to general meetings it denotes the programme or the list of the items of business to be transacted at the meeting. The agenda helps systematic transaction of business at the meeting without omission of any item of importance. The chairman of the meeting usually takes up items of business in the order they arc set out in the agenda but the order may be changed with the approval of the members, if necessary.
We have already observed that it is the duty of the secretary to draw up the agenda and he may do so in consultation with the chairman. It may be noted that the secretary prepares two types of agendas—one for the guidance of the chairman and the other to be sent to the members along with notice of the meeting. The agenda kept for the use of the chairman is usually prepared on loose sheets of paper, termed the 'Agenda Paper,' leaving a wide margin on the right hand side so that the chairman and the secretary may make notes against each item of the agenda.
It contains the wording of the resolutions to be passed together-with the names of the proposers and seconders, if pre-arranged. The agenda prepared, to be sent to the members, is usually set out in the notice of the meeting itself. The idea behind circulating the agenda in advance among the members is to enable them to come prepared for the necessary discussion at the meeting.
Preparation of agenda :
The following guiding principles may be kept in view while preparing the agenda:
1. The routine matters should be put first in order and the contentious matters later. If matters which are expected to precipitate good discussion are placed first, then for want of time, the items regarding routine matters may remain unpassed and the day-to-day working of the company may be held up.
2. All items of similar or allied character should be placed near each other to facilitate quick disposal of the business as a whole.
3. All items listed in the agenda must be within the scope of the notice calling the meeting.
4, It should be in a summary form but clear and explicit.
Crew has summed up the importance of a properly drawn up agenda as under:
"A properly drawn up agenda prevents many questions being put to the chair, considerably shortens the meeting, and helps to get the sense of the meeting in an intelligent and expeditious manner. Further, a well arranged agenda prevents much confusion and irritation through members' speaking on insufficient facts" (Crew on Procedure of Meetings).