The basis of any meeting is the agenda. An agenda gives a meeting direction, structure and purpose. You need to allow sufficient time to accomplish what you set out to do. It is important to decide the content of the agenda which involves the Chair and Secretary gathering items from other committee members. If there is an employed manager they will usually be involved as well.
As an example, an agenda for a meeting to set up a new organisation might look like this:
- Welcome and introduction.
- Presentation of research findings.
- Need for a new service.
- Discussion of draft aims and objectives.
- Election of steering committee.
- Decision on time and place for next meeting.
- Allocation of tasks arising from the meeting's decisions.
It is important to stick to the agenda and not to be side-tracked by other issues. This does not mean other issues are not dealt with, but that they should be dealt with in an appropriate fashion, for example, after the meeting agenda has been completed but before the closure. Also, keep an eye on the time. Rushing decision-making can be as fraught as paying too much attention to matters which are irrelevant.