Agendas and Meeting Minutes

Meeting Agenda

An agenda is the framework that helps meetings run effectively and efficiently. It is a step-by-step outline of the topics to be covered at the meeting. Effective agendas enhance group accomplishments by informing members of accomplishments and priorities within the group, ensures adequate consideration of all issues, events and projects being undertaken by the group but most keeps the discussion focused and on track and it also makes effective use of participants' time.

To be most effective, the chair or president should create the agenda prior to the meeting. The chair plays the lead role in planning the agenda and is responsible for arranging the facilities and chairing the meeting. The chair and the secretary communicate the information to those who should attend the meeting. Members should contact the chair well before hand with topics they would like discussed.

Gather Agenda Items

Items for the agenda will come from a variety of sources: a review of the minutes from the last meeting, new correspondence, ongoing university and departmental issues, SFSS campaigns, projects and events that could be beneficial for the memberships, elections, reimbursements etc. By involving the members in this planning, you will gain more commitment for the activities of the group. Keep in mind that the agenda items should relate to the mandate of the group.

Consider The Needs Of Members

The social interaction and networking that take place at meetings can make for a more effective and harmonious group. This is often overlooked when there are many tasks to accomplish.

Identify why members are involved and consider this when creating the agenda. Some members are involved because they want to make a contribution and be involved in the planning of activities. Some members are there for the companionship or social interaction. Others may be looking for mental stimulation that could be fulfilled by speakers and educational programs or they may want to develop their skills by taking on leadership roles.
Be sure to plan some time to set the climate of the meeting. Informal socializing and interaction among the participants establish a positive, constructive atmosphere.
Consider the length of your meeting. Two to three hours is the maximum time. This provides adequate time to accomplish the meeting's goals and ensures that members leave feeling energized and productive.
Refreshments and snacks can be included and will act as energizers when the meeting is lagging.

Time Allocation

Assess each agenda item and assign a realistic amount of time for discussion. This is not easy, as everything may not fit into the meeting time frame.  You may have to establish the priority of items, delay some topics or consider other ways to handle them.

Approaches For Agendas

The order of the topics on your agenda depends on the approach taken.

Common Order

The following agenda outline is commonly used:

  • Call to order
  • Approval of agenda
  • Reading and approval of minutes
  • Officer reports - treasurer, president, Secretary, etc
  • Old Business
  • New business
  • Discussion or open floor
  • Adjournment

With this format, the most important decisions tend to be left to the time of the meeting when the participants' energy is flagging.

Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes are the official written record of the proceedings of meetings, which identify the issues of discussion, participants and decisions made at the meeting. It is an essential tool of communication to allow for transparency and accountability to the membership. Hence it is essential that minutes from each meeting should include the following:

  • Date and name of the group
  • Records of the names of people present: check to see that your minimum quorum is met. Please don’t include student numbers but it is optional to include their email address
  • Elections: record the names of people elected to new positions including their contact information.
  • Include the next meeting time and location so students can find your upcoming meeting!

Once done, meeting minutes should be emailed to the Organiser at organiser@sfss.ca. Remember that your core funding is activated upon receipt of meeting minutes. Old minutes are archived and can be accessed in the database system via sfss.ca.