6 Essential Tips For Chairing The Perfect Meeting
If it falls to you to act as a chairperson for a meeting, it’s a sign that you are a trusted and competent member of staff. Nonetheless, if you do not have much previous experience of chairing meetings, it can be a rather daunting prospect. However, some planning and preparation can help you to get the most out of the occasion. Here are some tips to help you.
What is the role of the chair?
The chair should make sure that all the items on the agenda are discussed, and that all the attendees have the opportunity to participate. The discussions should result in clear outcomes.
Other roles include ensuring that the meeting runs to schedule and that the relevant people are invited, and that there is a nominated note taker or other means of recording the proceedings so that a summary of the main points can be made.
Define the purpose of the meeting
Set out clear objectives for the meeting. A structured agenda will make sure that all the main issues are discussed and given an equal hearing. Think about what you want the meeting to achieve, and ensure that the items on the agenda will lead to a decision or point to a further course of action.
Provide invitees with notice of the agenda in advance so that they know what to expect and can prepare their contributions.
Decide who needs to be there
Research shows that small to medium sized meetings are the most effective. Therefore make sure that you only invite people who are essential to the purpose of the meeting. This will create a more focused and dynamic tone.
Organise the practicalities
You will need to ensure that the meeting is held at the most suitable time, date, and venue. When selecting a place for the meeting, consider whether you have adequate space. If you are based in a small office or the attendees will be travelling from multiple locations, then hiring a meeting room at a purpose-built conference centre may be the best solution.
Your role as chair is not to impose your own views, but to facilitate a well-balanced discussion. Therefore you need to control the proceedings so that they are not dominated by one or two voices or points of view. Firmly but politely stop anyone who has been speaking for too long, and ask someone who has not yet spoken for their contribution.
Listen to everyone with your full attention, but make sure that the meeting is moved on to keep up with the schedule and does not overrun.
Wrap up the meeting with the key points
Towards the end of the meeting, go over the key points and the decisions that have been made. This will ensure that everyone has the feeling that the meeting has been worthwhile and there is a clear outcome. You may wish to ask for feedback on how well the participants thought the meeting went, either directly or through a follow-up email.