When you’re planning to chair a meeting, how do you feel?
Excited, anticipating the energy that will flow around the room, buzzing with the ideas that people will come up with?
Or dreading it, hoping that you can cancel it, and get on with something that will be a better use of your time?
Hopefully, it’s the former, but if it isn’t here are some tips that will help you chair meetings that will bring results and action. After reading through, identify what your role as a chairperson of a meeting should be:
Have a PAIR: This is an acronym for Purpose And Intended Result. You should have a real purpose before even calling a meeting. No purpose, no meeting. When you chair a meeting, ensure everyone knows and understand why it’s being held and what the intended result is going to be.
Ask for input on the agenda: By asking for input from meeting attendees, you ensure everyone knows they are there for a reason and the meeting items will be important for them to listen to
Send the agenda out before the meetup: That way, everyone knows what’s being covered and they can prepare for their part accordingly.
Conduct a learning roundtable: Ask people what they have learned since the last meeting and what they have applied. Ask for results obtained so people can see you are progressing as a team and as a company.
Watch a TED talk that’s relevant to the meeting subject: Not the whole talk if it’s too long. Pick a snippet and play that. It’s great to hear ideas from an expert in their field, even for just a few minutes.
Run a team activity: Download a five or ten-minute activity and play it with the team. It will be a good icebreaker and will get people’s spirits up.
Change locations: Consider taking people to a coffee shop or somewhere else offsite so that they enjoy new surroundings and have a different perspective on what they are discussing.
Take all the chairs out and stand up!: That will certainly focus the mind! You’ll be surprised by how quickly you get things done, as well!
Engage the team in brainstorming: You want to do activities that will keep the team occupied and active all the time. Try getting a brainstorming session running, with one of the team (not you) responsible for note taking on the flipchart.
Make the last few minutes ‘action-oriented’: This means finding out from all attendees what actions they are going to take as a result of being there for the time they have taken. Make sure the actions are agreed and the time taken for application noted.
Summarise what you have agreed and ensure everyone knows their responsibilities: You don’t want people coming back at the next meeting and saying they didn’t know what they needed to do.
Agree on the next meeting date: Only do this if you have a specific PAIR for that meeting.
Agree who will write any minutes up and assign responsibilities for actions: This way, people will understand what they must do next
Your role as meeting chairperson is to ensure it goes as planned and is recognised by all attendees as a useful spend of their time, plus by chairing meetings effectively, you encourage attendees to come up with ideas and actually look forward to attending.
Still have unanswered questions about how to chair a meeting? Then check out our chairing meetings training course.
Originally published: 13 March, 2019
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