How to Create a Meeting Agenda / Signup Form From Scratch

This is part of a series of How to Do X posts I will be adding to explain how to perform discrete tasks with the WordPress for Toastmasters solution.

While I provide a default meeting event template site administrators can modify, some may find it easier to create their own from scratch, so the signup sheet and printable agenda meet their needs exactly. Or you may be organizing a special event that does not follow your standard meeting format.

First, decide whether you wish to create:

  • A single event for a specific date
  • An event template that will be used as the basis of multiple event documents. A template can be set up for a recurring schedule, such as First Monday or Every Friday, and the software will calculate matching dates.

For a single event, go to the RSVP Events menu and click Add New.

how to add an event
How to Add a Single Event

For a Template, go to the Event Templates section under RSVP Events and click New Template.

How to add a template
How to Add an Event Template

Events and Event Template documents are features of the underlying RSVPMaker template, documented in more detail at RSVPMaker.com.

To add a role, click the Toastmasters Role button on the button bar.

add role button
Add Role button

Clicking that button will display a dialog that allows you to specify the type of Role this is.

add role dialog
Add Role Dialog

The standard roles are listed on a dropdown list. You can also select “Custom” and type in the name of a role specific to your club, such as “Joke Master.”

The other options are:

  • Count – the number of times the role should be displayed on the signup form and agenda. For example, you might set Count to 3 if you plan to have 3 speakers.
  • Indent – a formatting command, indents the role slightly.
  • Agenda Note – an explanatory note associated with the role, displayed on the agenda but not the signup form.
  • Total Time Allowed – blocks out required time on the agenda. Can be used to warn if long speeches will consume more time than you planned for.
  • Extra Time – adds a buffer, for example for transitions between speeches.

When you save your choices, a blue placeholder image will appear in the WordPress editor. To change your choices, double-click on the placeholder image and the dialog will be displayed again.

role placeholder
Placeholder for a role in the WordPress editor

Another button allows you to add an Agenda Note. Think of these as “stage directions” for your meetings and/or directions and explanations for your signup form.

agenda note button
Agenda Note button

The dialog for an Agenda Note includes a text area for entering your message.

Agenda Note dialog
Agenda Note Dialog

Other options include:

  • Display On – choices are “agenda” (the default, will be displayed on the agenda only), “web” (the signup form) or “both”
  • Bold? / Italic? /¬†Font size – basic formatting options
  • CSS Style (advanced) – advanced formatting options for web designers
  • Link (web address) – option to have a link displayed following the note
  • Editable field – to be explained in more detail in a future post
  • Time Allowed – If the note describes an activity that will consume time on your agenda, you can assign the planned amount of time here.

When you save your choices, a red placeholder will be displayed in the WordPress editor.

agenda note placeholder
Agenda Note placeholder (red)

Here is what the signup sheet would look like with just a couple of roles and a single agenda note (here, the agenda note has been set to Display On: both).

signup form
Roles and Agenda Note on signup form

And here is what the printable agenda looks like with a minimal setup.

printable agenda
Roles and Agenda Note on printable agenda

You would then continue adding roles and agenda notes until you have the structure desired. Roles and agenda notes can be manipulated by cut-and-paste or drag-and-drop.

It is also possible to edit the underlying placeholder codes (called “shortcodes” in WordPress jargon) rather than the images.

text mode
An agenda document viewed in the WordPress editor’s Text mode.

The system of buttons, placeholder images, and popup editor dialogs is meant to be easier for those who are not comfortable working with code. One thing you might want to add, which does require adding a small amount of code, is a button on the signup form that allows members to record planned absences.

To include that on your agenda, add this code where you want the button to appear:

[tm_absence]

For more details, see

Tracking Planned Absences Through the Agenda

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