How to Set and Follow the Agenda

Setting an agenda for a business meeting is essential. Knowing what you're going to talk about; the purpose of the meeting; and the decisions that need to be made, are important when you don't want to waste any time. An agenda should outline all of the items up for discussion in order of priority. It is the Chairperson's responsibility to set the agenda for the meeting and to ensure that each item gets dealt with during the meeting. The agenda is usually decided beforehand and sent to everyone who will be present, so they can approve or add topics to be discussed. The chairperson usually goes through each of the items on the agenda at the beginning of the meeting, so that everyone is clear about the aim.

You might hear the following expressions:

On the agenda today

Up for discussion this morning are the following...

Just to go through the agenda...

There are quite a few items on the agenda today.

Just a few things to discuss on the agenda so let's keep this as brief as possible.


Usually, you will want to get straight to business and avoid too much discussion or small talk. Here are some expressions that will help you to get started:

Let's get straight to/into it.

Shall we get down to business?

Let's work through the agenda in order.

I'd like to begin with...

I'll get the ball rolling with...

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