Depending on the type of meeting conducted, selected individuals are given roles and responsibilities to carry out to ensure meetings are run effectively and efficiently. Generally, meeting participants include a chairperson/ facilitator, a minute taker or note-taker, and the meeting attendees although other roles can be assigned. There are several responsibilities of the chairperson in a meeting. This post will discuss such responsibilities of the chairperson as well as other stakeholders in the meeting.
Responsibilities of the chairperson include:
- The chairperson convenes the meeting,
- Introduces the agenda
- Keeps discussion in line with the agenda.
- The chairperson can be elected or appointed
- Control the meeting so the time spent is not wasted time
- Ensures discussions do not move across to inconsequential or irrelevant tangents.
- The chairperson should call the meeting back to order as required
- If new ideas or problems, not related to the agenda, are brought up, the chairperson can ensure that they are placed on the agenda for the next faceting.
- The chairperson should also ensure that the minutes for the previous meeting are available and make certain that minutes for the upcoming meeting will be taken appropriately
The deputy chair is responsible for assuming the role of the chairperson when they are absent. Not all meetings require an official deputy chairperson. For informal meetings, a volunteer can step in when required.
If a deputy chair is required, that person should have the appropriate skills and be fully informed about the matters to be discussed at the meeting.
Although a treasurer will not be present or required at many meetings, in some instances, such as committee meetings, the treasurer is a person who is specifically appointed to look after financial matters. This person might be required to report to the meeting or can be referred to if there are questions regarding financial matters.
The minute taker/ recorder/ secretary produces a written summary of the meeting.
Minutes include all actionable items mapped against the personnel responsible for actionable items.
More on responsibilities of the chairperson
The minutes also document any decisions made.
The minute-taker is responsible for making an accurate and concise record of what was discussed and agreed to at the meeting.
The level of formality of the meeting will determine how detailed the minutes will be.
It is advisable in meetings where more than two people are present that a person other than the chairperson takes the minutes. One of the responsibilities of the chairperson will be to be involved in the proceedings of the meeting and is unlikely to have the time required to fully or accurately document the outcomes.
A minute taker for business meetings might be a secretary or personal assistant who is not actually involved in the meeting.
One of the responsibilities of the chairperson or the meeting convenor will, in many instances, brief the minute taker prior to the meeting. This briefing will serve to explain to the minute taker what is required—in terms of detail and format of the minutes. Formats and expected content will vary, depending on the purpose and style of the meeting.
Meeting participants are stakeholders in a meeting. They are the people whose opinions and ideas will be sought or to whom the information will be presented or who will be asked to participate in decision-making etc.
As meeting participants have a particular interest or stake in the meeting, participants/ attendees informal meetings (as opposed to ad hoc or informal meetings), also have their own responsibilities besides the responsibilities of the chairperson. Hence, such stakeholders should ensure that they:
- Have and have read copies of the minutes from the previous meeting.
- Have and have read the meeting agenda
- Arrive on time
- Have considered the agenda items prior to the meeting
- Have prepared statements they wish to make or questions they wish to ask prior to the meeting.
- Participate fully in each meeting while respecting the ideas and opinions of others.
- Give their full attention for the duration of the meeting.
- Are prepared to accept responsibility for action items where appropriate.
Attendees should come to meetings prepared, contribute proactively to discussions, keep discussions and information relevant, and follow through on assignments. They should allow each speaker time to speak and should not interrupt. They should pay attention—not use their mobiles to text friends, or doodle on paper. Mobiles should always be turned off in a meeting. This shows respect for the other meeting attendees.
Sometimes a meeting will be held in order to present specific information. Guest speakers might be invited to present or managers, supervisors, or employees from within the organization might be presenters.
One of the Responsibilities of the chairperson is to introduce the guest speakers, very briefly outline what the speaker will be presenting, and should ensure that the speaker is able to complete the presentation with no untoward interruptions.
Once a presentation has been completed the chair might coordinate a question-and-answer period.
Guest speakers, either internal or external, should be fully briefed regarding what is required of them. They should also be advised of the expected number of meeting participants and of the required outcomes of the presentation.
- Be properly prepared
- Arrive on time
- Speak clearly and utilize appropriate technical equipment (overhead projectors, data projectors, sound equipment, etc)
- Make sure the information they present is relevant and appropriate
- Stick to the time allocated for them to speak
- Anticipate likely questions