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An agenda (Switzerland: agenda ) or agenda is the programmatic and temporal structure of a conversation .


The agenda is an important aid for an efficient and goal-oriented meeting and can avoid the “banklessness” of discussions. Human contacts planned in advance in the form of conversations (such as meetings , discussions , negotiations or assemblies ) require prior planning of the course of the conversation. For this purpose, the matter to be discussed and the discussion goal can be broken down into individual topics, which can be presented in abbreviated form as items on the agenda (TOP, Switzerland: agenda items ). The number of items on the agenda indicates the complexity and expected duration of the discussion. The agenda items are usually brought to the attention of the participants and, if necessary, other invited parties with the invitation.

Word origin

The agenda is a misunderstood loan word from the daily order ( English order of the day ). The House of Commons ( English House of Commons ) knows in his session history ( English order of business ), the later being treated agenda ( English order of the day ) for the public laws ( english bills ). While the motion ( English motion ) has to be submitted by a member of parliament and triggers a debate , the "order of the day" includes the administration 's order as to how the parliamentary readings were to be held. It was not until 1854 that these unwritten rules of procedure were enshrined in law. Anyone wishing to submit an application had to have it entered in the application book ( English order book ). It announced the agenda of the future meetings and was a “note book of the house”, which contained submitted motions, interpellations and already determined items to be discussed .

The agenda eventually came as a technical term of the parliamentary system to France , where they have a loan translation to the 1789 French ordre du jour learned. As a political catchphrase , from February 1791, it also appeared in German texts as “order of the day”. For Johann Wilhelm von Archenholz , the term was already considered to have been introduced in 1793 when he reported on the meetings of the Paris Jacobins from January 4, 1793.

Agendas in laws

The legislature has prescribed an agenda for important meetings. Pursuant to Section 29 (2) BetrVG , the works council chairman sets the agenda and leads the negotiation; in accordance with Section 43 (2) BetrVG, he has to invite the employer to the works and departmental assemblies with notification of the agenda. With the convening of general meetings has Aktiengesellschaft according to § 121 para. 3 act G specify the agenda. The starting point for the agenda of the ordinary general meeting is Section 119 (1) AktG. The resolution points mentioned here (Section 119 (1) No. 2 to 4 AktG) must be observed at every ordinary general meeting. Amendments to the articles of association and measures to raise capital must also be included in the agenda of the ordinary general meeting in accordance with Section 119 (1) No. 5 and 6 AktG. In this context, it is particularly possible to create authorized capital as a recurring resolution point. According to Section 121 (3) sentence 1 AktG, the invitation to the General Meeting must also contain the agenda. In accordance with Section 126 (1) AktG, shareholders can submit countermotions up to 14 days before the start of the general meeting.

In all parliaments , the agenda plays an important role, so that it is a legal issue. In § 20 Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag is prescribed that date and agenda of each meeting with the Council of Elders are to be agreed, it is the members of the Bundestag , the Bundesrat and the federal government share. According to Section 15 (5) of the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Council (BRGO), the place, time and the provisional agenda of each meeting of the Federal Government are to be communicated; it determines the agenda through a resolution in accordance with Section 23 (2) BRGO. According to Section 23 (5) BRGO, items that are not on the agenda may not be negotiated or decided upon if a country objects. According to § 48 GemO NRW, the mayor sets the agenda for meetings of the municipal council . In doing so, it must include proposals that are submitted to it by a fifth of the Council members or a parliamentary group within a period to be determined in the rules of procedure.


Even in the Voluntary Sector on the agenda is of particular importance. It is to be determined for general meetings and as a rule brought to the attention of those involved in advance. A regulation on the time , deadlines and modalities of the announcement can be made in the association's statutes . An error in the creation, dispatch or resolution of the agenda can have significant legal consequences . If, for example, it is mandatory to send the agenda to meeting participants 14 days before the start of the meeting, delayed dispatch can invalidate resolutions of the meeting if this is regulated in the articles of association, rules of procedure or common practice. As a rule, no resolution can be made on items that are not on the agenda. The law stipulates that the "subject of the resolution" is specified in the invitation ( Section 32 (1) BGB ).

Rules of the agenda

General rules can be derived from the statutory rules on the agenda. The agenda is drawn up by the chairman of the meeting or the administration , who should put together specific items on the agenda (avoid “miscellaneous” or “other”). An agenda must begin with the agenda item “Opening” and end with “Closing”. This means that only the content between these two TOPs can be legally effective and, for example, challenged . If a vote is required for individual items on the agenda , this must be indicated. At some meetings, the agenda must be sent before the meeting begins, otherwise the meeting is void . A meeting minutes is based on the agenda items and records the contributions made by the participants.

With the invitation to the meeting, the participants are usually asked to introduce items on the agenda. These are then - if there are no procedural questions against it - placed on the final agenda. The agenda often also determines which items are presented for information, advice or voting. If a resolution is necessary or expected on one or more items on the agenda, this final list of items must be sent out a specified period in advance of the meeting so that the participants can prepare for the discussion that precedes the resolution . This period is often two weeks , depending on the rules of procedure . Items on the agenda that have the character of a resolution must clearly describe the subject of the resolution. If a topic gives rise to ambiguity, if it is not ready for a decision or if decision-making is otherwise difficult, it can be postponed to the next meeting in order to enable additional documents or separate deliberations.

Content of an agenda or agenda

The following sequence is possible for committee meetings :

  1. opening
  2. Determination of presence
  3. Determination of the quorum
  4. Election of teller (s) and secretary
  5. Report by the chairman / president and, if applicable, other officials
  6. Discharge / discharge
  7. Topic 1
  8. Topic 2 etc.
  9. Date of the next meeting
  10. Termination.

In the case of working group meetings , the items on the agenda relating to the passing of resolutions do not apply. Further formal or partly formal and partly content-related agenda items such as information round-robin, resolution of the agenda or election of the chairperson can be found on the agendas of various committees, depending on the democratic and organizational structure and current practice.


The agenda sets out the topics to be dealt with at the meeting in order to enable discussion and, if necessary, resolutions. Another task of an agenda is to inform the members of a committee or a working group in advance about the topics to be discussed and decided upon, thereby enabling them to prepare properly for the meeting. In this way, a committee or working group meeting prepared by an agenda enables an influence on the opinion- forming of other members in contrast to the mere circulation procedure . It is therefore important who has an influence on the drawing up of the agenda, when the agenda is announced to the members and whether the agenda can be changed later. Such procedural questions are often set out in rules of procedure.

Many items on the agenda the agenda serves as a reminder and recalls the not yet processed topics. The participants can use the agenda as a central theme in the course of the conversation when orientating themselves . As part of time management, it serves as a control instrument to determine whether the specified time periods can be adhered to. It also serves as a disciplinary tool so that the participants can deviate from the topic less easily. If this does happen, the chairman of the meeting can "call up the agenda" at any time.


  • Hermann Meier: On the agenda. Technique and tactics in gatherings, meetings and discussions. 3. Edition. VS-Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2011, ISBN 978-3-531-17835-6 .

Web links

Wiktionary: agenda  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Agenda item  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Association for the Swiss German Dictionary (Ed.): Schweizerisches Idiotikon . Volume XIV, Dch (Tch) to Dw-rg (Tw-rg). Schwabe Verlag, Basel 1987, ISBN 3-7193-0995-9 , Sp. 868 , agenda item ( online ). The unusual in Germany and his word derived verb "traktandieren" for "on the agenda or agenda set" knows the Duden ( agenda , traktandieren ).
  2. Duden .
  3. Horst Maeck, The goal-related conversation , 1990, p. 129
  4. Gerhard Köbler , Etymological Legal Dictionary , 1995, p. 399
  5. Rudolf Haym (Ed.), Prussian Year Books , Volume 3, 1859, pp. 160 f.
  6. ^ Leon Kellner / Gustav Krüger, building blocks: Journal for New English Word Research , Volume 1, 1906, p. 428
  7. ^ Friedrich Kluge, Etymological Dictionary of the German Language , 1967, p. 767
  8. Johann Wilhelm von Archenholz, Die Pariser Jacobiner in their meetings , 1793, p. 28