What is a chairperson?
A leader is essential in any group, project or organization. This is to ensure that everyone stays on track in achieving the groups target or goals. The same is true with meetings, there is a leader as well to guide the flow of the agenda. In a meeting, this person is referred to as the “chairperson” or simply the “chair”.
Here are the main responsibilities of a chairperson:
- Ensures the meeting flow sticks to the agenda
- Members respect each other
- The rules of the meeting are observed
- Encourages decision making
- Supervise or prepare notices, agenda, reports, meetings and follow ups
Every group, team or organization is unique. Each may require a different approach in terms of chairing meetings. But we have outlined basic ways on how to effectively chair meetings to ensure that the best positive outcome is achieved.
1. Set goals
Before the meeting starts it is important to determine what the goal of the meeting is. Specifically, what outcome or decisions should be agreed upon during the meeting? This can be used as metrics to measure the effectivity and efficiency of the meeting as well.
It is important to release advance notices about relevant meeting information to members. The notice should include the following:
- Project/Agenda item head
- Time of the meeting
- Place of the meeting
- Relevant documents
- Minutes of the preceding meeting if applicable
3. Time Management
During the meeting, one good way to ensure that everyone stays on track is to set a time frame per agenda item. The role of the chair is to make sure that time frame is observed. If possible, put the timer on a screen for everyone to see.
4. Encourage and Manage Participants
If the floor is open for discussion, observe who are talking too much and those who are not. Manage those who talk too much by interrupting them politely and encourage those are remaining quiet for their input. If there is a conflict among members, step in by reminding them of the goal of the meeting and negotiate among members in order to arrive at a decision.
Once the meeting is done, you may evaluation sheet to gather the opinions and suggestions of the members in terms of facilitating the next meeting. Improve on areas that makes the meeting effective and avoid those that slows the progress of the meeting.