Suggested Meeting Formats and Agendas
Suggested Meeting Formats and Agendas

A meeting agenda is an important tool for the smooth running of a community. It should be distributed to each meeting attendee and followed in similar fashion each meeting. A good and predictable agenda will allow you to accomplish your community's goals and present a professional appearance; important for members, prospective clients, and prospective students of alike.

Meeting agendas will vary from community to community for various reasons. Community size, community organization, location, and meeting type (virtual vs. live) to name a few. In addition, if a community has elected to formally incorporate, i.e., as a non-profit, most states will require that certain reports be made with each meeting and recorded for the record. There is an agenda format to fit every type of community so feel free to consult with other communities to find out what might work for you.

Meeting Length

Generally, 2 hours is considered ideal. Virtual communities seem to work best with a 1 hour format. And, it is important to stick to your agreed-to length. I suggest that in your announcement/invitation you allow 30 minutes up front to welcome newcomers, the media, potential students and prospective clients. A short welcome followed by an open floor for questions allows for a full 1 1/2 hour meeting that, after all, is for the benefit of community members.

Up front, it is a good idea to announce that materials for newcomers will be available at the conclusion of the full meeting. It is best not to hand out materials beforehand as it tends to distract from the meeting. Hint: If a media representative is present have a plan. Your knowledge of media relations and our profession can make or break the impression you make. I recommend you check the ICF PR reference materials at

Along with meeting agenda preparation ensure that the refreshments are available. Whether at the back of the room or at the table, depending on your setup, refreshments allow for a comfortable atmosphere.

1. Welcome
2. Review/Approval of Minutes 3. Treasurers Report 4. Committee Reports 5. Old Business
6. New Business

Time allotted for numbers 1-5 should be kept to no more than 20 minutes. If more time is needed then it might be a good idea to schedule a separate business meeting.

7. Professional Skills Development 8. Adjourn