Difference Between Agenda and Minutes (With Table)

Meetings are the process of group communication, where several people come together and discuss their business or other related things. Both Agenda and Minutes are an important part of the Meeting. Both of these have their importance as the agenda gives the topics to be discussed and minutes gives the report of all the discussions.

Agenda vs Minutes

The main difference between Agenda and Minutes is that the Agenda is the list prepared before the meeting that contains all the topics that are to be discussed and is in the future tense, whereas Minutes are the conclusion of the meeting prepared at the end.

Agenda are considered to be the list prepared before the meeting, which contains all the important topics that need to be discussed in the meeting. It is sent to all the members and is approved by the Chairman only. It gives the member knowledge about what is going to be discussed.

The Minutes is the record of all the discussed topics in the meeting; it is prepared after the meeting ends by the secretary and confirmed by the chairman after getting the approval by its members. It is important as it contains all the details of what happened in the meeting.

Comparison Table Between Agenda and Minutes

Parameter of ComparisonAgendaMinutes
MeaningList of all the topics that need to be discussed.Record of all the discussion.
UsageUseful in discussion for Chairman.Serves as evidence for the decisions.
PreparationPrepared before the meetingPrepared after the meeting
RecordingNotice of meetingHas a separate book
Written (Tense)Written in the future tenseWritten in the past tense

What is Agenda?

An Agenda is a plan which consists of topics and activities that has to be discussed during the meeting. An agenda is made by the secretary and distributed among the members before the meeting. It is never written in the present or past tense but is always is in the future tense because of the reason that it is prepared in advance.

Important things that an Agenda should include:

  1. Location
  2. Date
  3. Timings
  4. Topic 
  5. Topic Description
  6. Time distributed to each topic
  7. Name of each member

Importance of agenda

  1. Explains the objectives: agenda serves the main purpose of explaining the objectives of the meeting in detail. It creates chaos if the objectives of the meeting are not clear to every member in the meeting. Therefore it solves this problem.
  2. Time for Preparation: it gives time to its member to prepare and know all the information about the activities that are going to be discussed in the meeting. Therefore they don’t have the excuse that they didn’t have the time to be prepared.
  3. Maintain the Focus: agenda cuts all the time wastage and maintains the focus of the meeting so that everything should be discussed properly without wasting much time.

What is Minutes?

Minutes or known as Minutes of Meeting, is a detailed note of everything that has been happened during the meeting. It is the conclusion of the meeting prepared after the meeting ends by the secretary after discussing it with all the members. Unlike the Agenda, the minute of the meeting is never written in the future or present tense. It is always written in the past tense, and the reason behind this is that it is prepared after the meeting ends.

Items to be included:

  1. Time and Date of the meetings
  2. Name of the Members
  3. All the topics discussed in details.
  4. Decisions taken

Minutes of Meeting is important because of following reasons: 

  1. Legal Protection and proof: it records all the discussed topics and activities that have been discussed; therefore, if any legal formalities are required, it acts as legal protection. 
  2. Provide Guidance: it guides as it contains all the detailed information about all the activities and topics and the decisions that have been taken in the meeting.
  3. Helpful while making the necessary changes required after discussing all the aspects.
  4. It saves a lot of time as everyone is aware of their respective roles.
  5. It is helpful for those who, due to some reason, missed the meeting. Therefore, they acquire all the knowledge through it.

Main Differences Between Agenda and Minutes

  1. Agenda is the detailed list of the sequence of events of the meeting; it is a statement that contains the subjects that have to be discussed, whereas the Minutes are the record of the meeting of all that has been discussed.
  2. Agenda is useful for the chairman and the members as they get to know all the topics for the discussion in advance, whereas Minutes of Meetings serve as important evidence and proof of whatever has been discussed in the meeting.
  3. Agenda is prepared before the meeting by the secretary and sent to the member after approval by the Chairman, whereas Minute of Meeting is prepared after the meeting by the secretary, approved by the members, and finally confirmed by the Chairman.
  4. Agenda does not have any book of its own and therefore is recorded in the notice of meeting whereas minutes as its book of recording known as minutes book.
  5. Due to its preparation Agenda is always written in the future tense, and as minutes are prepared at the end, it is always written in the past tense.

Conclusion

Both the Agenda and Minutes of Meetings are important to be prepared as the Agenda lays down the foundation of the meeting and the minutes complete the process of the meeting. Also, the agenda is helpful for the members as well as the chairman as they get the time to prepare the topics that are going to be discussed and have knowledge of it before the meeting starts and on the other hand, minutes plays an important role if any member forget or need to know the information about what all happened during the meeting.

References

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0170840608096388
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