Setting an agenda for a meeting is a crucial but easily dismissed management tool, although the capacity of the chairman to stick to it plays a role in how effective the meeting becomes.

When setting an agenda, it is useful to consider the interaction of the thee basic reasons for having a meeting:

To impart information

To collaborate and build knowledge

To gain permission for a course of action.

Often meetings have these things mixed up, creating confusion, so being clear about the role of an agenda item, and grouping them together by their function can be extremely useful.  Better still, have three meetings, but often this is not practical, as in a board meeting, or complex negotiation, so create breaks in the proceedings as you proceed from one form to another.