What’s the/our agenda? This is a question many of us have had to confront and often with difficulty because once there is no agenda then there is no activity. Nothing moves! All activities in the world run on an agenda of sorts whether it’s intentional or not. The event can either be social (personal) or political, but an agenda is a prerequisite all the same.
We can define an agenda as a docket, calendar or schedule. It is a list of meetings/event activities in the order they are to be taken up, from the beginning with the call to order and ending with an adjournment. Every event rotates and breathes around an agenda. Before the organising committee plans or even thinks through the tasks ahead, the agenda must first be established. Without one, the event is left to fate because it will be hard to know the flow of the activities. The agenda is the magic wand of an event.
There are different formats, depending on what activities you want to execute at a particular time of the event. If it’s a board meeting, the agenda could include the previous minutes, an address from the chair, presentations and then a conclusion. If it’s a social event; it could include speeches, presentations, entertainment, food and photo opportunities. The sequence of activities matters so that the events manager is on top of things and disasters are avoided. Know the agenda through and through and stick to it. If there are any changes, these should be communicated to all those concerned.
Note, caution is mandatory when planning an agenda for an event which involves dignitaries as it can be quite challenging to follow the relevant protocol. But as an events manager, you are expected to take the initiative to find out the right order to avoid embarrassment. It’s always great to get it right from the start otherwise the event may end up in shambles, especially when people notice that decorum is all wrong.
Also know that it’s through an agenda that you will be able to choose the appropriate guest of honour and the right target audience for your event. It should be relevant to your guest of honour and guests in terms of their work, interests or lifestyle. The agenda will also help your invited guests decide if they should attend the event or not, depending on whether it covers their interests and adds value to them in some way or another. The agenda will also give you a clue if your event is worth media publicity and attention. The media you engage with will always ask the question; WHAT’s the Agenda of the event? The answer will determine the level of media interest.
No matter the type of event organised, its agenda format should always be kept simple, easy to understand, relatable to your invited guests and interesting.