Getting To The Meet Of The Matter (Part Three)

THE saying ‘treat others how you would expect to be treated’ comes into play when you are chairing a meeting. Interpersonal skills are the key to making it a success and participants need to be given respect and consideration.

That doesn’t mean it has to be like a friendly chat between mates! Be business like, and firm. You will find some people need to speak up a bit more – and others you might need to tell to shut up! So don’t let people who like the sound of their own voice dominate proceedings – sometimes the quiet ones have better ideas and opinions that you need to draw out of them. Avoid putting people on the spot, though, instead, gently encourage them to give their views.  Keep the meeting on track by discouraging those who digress away from the subject with lengthy contributions you could do without.

Be careful to add a summary every so often, particularly when what has been offered up from the floor may not have been fully understood by all in the room. Perhaps a couple of snappy sentences so everyone is able to follow the discussion. Use clear, simple language and try to ensure contributors spell out their message more clearly if jargon is used. Otherwise others will switch off quickly – while some may need a nudge to wake them up!

Make sure your concluding remarks are memorable. Summarise points, identify conclusions reached, agree action points, and thank people for their attendance. If possible, finish on a positive note as that’s what will be remembered.

Where meetings are concerned it’s all about preparation, preparation, preparation. Without it, you will be found wanting – and those attendees who sat through it won’t want to listen to you again!


  • I have enjoyed the meeting series. I have often been to them and felt the person in the chair was not in full control.
    Taking the role is an important one and the groundwork does have to be done.
    Without it you are on a hiding to nothing.

  • Meeting are overrated. There are too many of them an they are generally not needed.
    There are far better ways to communicate than all getting together in a room which is always hard logistically.

  • Meetings are far too frequent and need to be curtailed in some companies.
    They really are stopping the productive element of the business in some cases and it is a waste of time and resources to keep meeting, often for the sake of it.

  • Meetings can be unbearable when they are not chaired properly.
    A lot of people trying to get their voices heard without any sense of direction as to where the meeting is going.
    If they are done right then they can be very fruitful. But you have to do your homework as I have seen people literally switch off because they have become disinterested.

  • I take meetings regularly and there are some good tips here.
    Being natural is another. Don’t try and pretend to be someone you are not. people will see through that.

  • As I have said the groundwork has to be done otherwise the meeting will not be a success.
    Companies are littered with people who think they can chair one, and actually they can’t.
    The Apprentice on tele is a classic example of the delusional.

  • For meetings to be successful a lot of that has to go into it.
    Without that thought it is a recipe for disaster.
    Preparation is everything.

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