New Manager’s Guide to Chairing a Meeting Effectively

Chairing a Meeting is very important for every business. They provide numerous ways of finding solutions, making decisions, sharing ideas and even building good relationships between colleagues. They are the sole reasons why companies are successful in the first place. 

When many brilliant minds meet, many important and out-of-the-box solutions and ideas emerge. However, not all meetings run smoothly and some result in arguments between colleagues and worst-case scenario, someone leaving the job. It is important to have a meeting chair to ensure that meetings run smoothly. In this blog, we will dive deep into the roles and responsibilities of a chairperson, the skills required to become a good chairperson and certain etiquettes that every chairperson must have.

The Roles and Responsibilities of a Chairperson to Chairing a Meeting

The person appointed as the meeting’s highest-ranking official representative is the chairperson. The meeting’s chairperson is in charge of running the whole thing and making sure the rules of order and the time are followed at all times. Along with ensuring that everyone respects one another, abides by the meeting’s rules, always sticks to the agenda, and is treated equally, they also serve as the meeting’s leader and maintain order.

Most importantly, they are also in charge of making the final say. This is also why it is quite difficult to become a chairperson because they have to stay neutral and make big decisions that can make huge differences.

Here are all the important roles and responsibilities of every chairperson:

1. Putting the meeting in order

The meeting’s chair will ensure that everything runs well. A chairman must check that everyone involved in the meeting has received the required notice and that everyone who is supposed to be there is indeed there.

2. Rules are Maintained

The meeting’s chair must ensure that all regulations are followed. This could be the general meeting rules, a meeting-specific rule, or the unique rules of a business or organisation.

3.The agenda is Followed at All Times

The meeting’s business must proceed in the order specified in the agenda, according to the chairman. With the approval of the gathering, he may change the sequence. When he discovers that a crucial topic needs to be discussed, but just a few items at the top have been addressed in sufficient time, he may take the initiative to change the sequence.

4. Maintenance of Order

Making sure the meeting is in perfect order, and peaceful is one of the chairman’s main responsibilities. The meeting’s business cannot be conducted efficiently and on schedule without flawless order. The participants may disrupt the meeting by making disparaging statements about one another, having private conversations while the discussion is going on, disregarding the chairman’s orders or decisions, breaking meeting regulations, etc. The meeting’s chairman has the authority to take action to preserve decency, order, and discipline.

5. Ensuring the Management Committee Functions Properly

The chairperson is in charge of ensuring that each meeting is properly organised, run in accordance with the bylaws, and that business is handled in an orderly and effective way. The committee chairperson must establish and lead the team while getting the most out of each member. This includes identifying and overseeing the procedure for the Committee’s renewal through the hiring of new members as well as routinely evaluating the Committee’s performance.

6. Conversations Stay within the Meeting

It is his responsibility to make sure that none of the attendees bring up any topics that are not related to the meeting’s objectives, whether by discussion, amendment suggestions, or other means. The chairman will also watch out for any discussion of topics for which there is no particular motion before the house.

7. Everyone Gets to Speak

The moderator is responsible for ensuring that each participant has a fair opportunity to speak. Unless it is required to elaborate on anything that someone has already said, he should not let one person speak more than once on the same subject. The chairman is responsible for ensuring that members of the minority group, if any, are given the opportunity to express their opinions, regardless of how few there may be.

8. Correct Voting 

Making sure the sense of the house is accurately determined is another important responsibility of the chairman. It indicates that voting is carried out flawlessly and that the results are announced correctly. In the event that a special resolution is required, he will ensure that the vote difference is accurate. When a poll is required, he must request that the secretary set one up. In counting votes, the chairman takes the help of the secretary as well as of the ‘tellers” appointed by him.

9. Keeping Minutes

Following the conclusion of the meeting, it is the chairman’s responsibility to sign the minutes in order to confirm them. Similarly to this, the chairperson must ensure that the secretary records all pertinent information during a meeting so that minutes can be created afterwards. The purpose-specific comprehensive agenda page is annotated by the chairman himself.

10. Maintain Order

The chairperson occasionally has to deal with difficult persons or contentious conversations. They must be stern, and consistent and constantly remind everyone of the meeting’s rules.

11. Reaching Final Decisions

The chairperson must bring all of the issues raised together and make a decision. If there are several viewpoints, they should be summarised, and the possible outcomes should be made explicit. The chairperson should explain and confirm the decision made before moving on to the next item on the agenda.

The Skills Required to Chairing a Meeting

The Skills Required to Chairing a Meeting

Active Listening 

The ability to “actively listen” is one of the most crucial abilities you’ll need to have in order to be a successful chair. Active listening entails putting all of one’s attention on the speaker and paying close attention to what is being said, despite any outside distractions. You must put all of your attention on the speech while paying attention to the subtle cues the speaker gives off with their tone and body language.

It’s crucial that you refrain from thinking about how you will respond or how you will feel while the conversation is happening. If you listen to the communication in its entirety before composing your response, you will be better equipped to comprehend its whole significance. This gives you the chance to show the other meeting participants how concise and compelling you can be.

Active listening is crucial because the Chair’s behaviour has such a significant impact on the behaviour of the other attendees. The majority of attendees will listen attentively rather than drifting off if the Chair maintains complete attention on the speaker. The speaker gets the impression that their input is valued as a result of active listening. For some of the more timid attendees, this may be the deciding factor in whether the meeting goes well.

Impartiality

A chair must also be able to establish objectivity by gathering information and weighing all arguments equally and equitably. This is a crucial quality. It is crucial that you refrain from consistently using your role as Chair to support ideas that align with what you may, in your own mind may, think is the best course of action. Try getting another participant to genuinely make that argument if you want to have a motion brought up at a meeting you are chairing.

In extreme cases, you can decide that it’s important to forgo objectivity in order to support the group in choosing a particular course of action that you believe is crucial. But keep in mind that the Chair’s primary focus should be the group’s goals and objectives as well as the fairness of the meeting procedure. Avoid becoming involved in a discussion because if you do, you run the danger of losing credibility, which is difficult to reclaim.

Adaptability

As you will be able to readily modify your conduct to elicit remarks from the various set of participants, your ability to relate to and work with a broad cross-section of personalities will be a distinct benefit. You can ensure that everyone, regardless of status, will feel confident to contribute to the meeting by combining this skill with active listening.

Assertiveness and Diplomacy

To ensure that progress is made in accordance with the agenda’s timeline, you must be able to keep control. It should always be the Chair’s goal to strike a balance between hearing everyone out and getting the business done. Active listening will make it more likely that everyone will receive a hearing by preventing one person from controlling the conversation.

It is more likely that you will need to be assertive and polite to make sure that everyone has a chance to contribute, the more divisive the issue. You don’t have to be obnoxious or rigid. You will urge others to listen to what is being said and to think it through carefully before making your own point by ensuring that each speaker has a chance to speak without interruption.

The most crucial thing is to prevent conversations on a certain topic from taking over the meeting without a conclusion. You must keep such arguments under control as the chair before they get out of hand. Remind everyone of the purpose of the meeting and be firm when ending the discussion.

Empathy

In board meetings, the chair frequently deals with a variety of strong personalities, but you should never forget that, beneath the boisterous and forceful appearance, you are constantly dealing with people. You must respect other people’s opinions and their right to express them, show consideration for the board members’ sentiments, and uphold any confidences that you are given.

Empathy is a management skill that is necessary to help people attain their full potential. The empathy that is an element of emotional intelligence and is demonstrated by a board member helps to create a more unified workplace and establishes the standard for how other directors should communicate with one another.

Leadership

Leadership is a crucial trait for board chairs to have, as you might assume. Not only when leading debates but also when directing the entire board meeting procedure.

The chair, for instance, is responsible for starting and ending the meeting on time, which is essential for successful meetings with involved participants. Making ensuring decisions are made and recorded is a crucial skill. The chair should demonstrate leadership in terms of delegation and strategic thinking in order to carry out their duties to the best of their abilities.

Etiquettes Before, During and After a Meeting

Before the meeting starts, it is best to understand the purpose of the meeting, the goal of the meeting, and the agenda of the meeting and take any necessary steps to make the meeting more productive. Many meetings involve the use of devices for presentations. As a chairperson, always make sure they are tested in advance. Lastly, it is also your responsibility to make sure all the people are present in the meeting.

During the meeting, at first, introduce yourself and ask other to introduce themselves. Next, make sure everyone is clear on what the meeting is about and mention all the rules that must be followed. You should also take notes for future reference and ensure everyone gets to speak their minds.

After the meeting is over, make sure all the points are covered and discussed. Next, ask questions around the table and once you have answered all, outline what the next steps everyone has to take are. Right before calling the meeting off, thank everyone for their time and support.

Conclusion

The job of a chairperson is way more difficult than people usually imagine because being a neutral judge in any discussion is difficult. Now imagine sitting with the best people, and the decision you make has an immense impact on a business. A chairperson can not learn to manage meetings within a day. It takes experience, which can be gained only with time. Moreover, you can always gain and use the skills we just mentioned to become a better chairperson in no time!

14 December 2023

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