In a well planned, well run, and effective meeting everyone knows their role. There are three vital roles, no matter how big or small it is, that every meeting needs to have. Those are a Chair, a Timekeeper, and Participants.
Let’s talk more about these three roles.
The Chair classifies what type of meeting it is right upon invitation to it. Also, they announce the guides and agenda of the meeting right at the start of it. The Chair also closes discussion five minutes before the end of the meeting to ensure that people can get to their next one. They take care of any other similar responsibilities that might come up along the way.
Because of these responsibilities, the Chair needs to be a strong leader. People need to listen to them and they need to know how to make people listen to them. The Chair is the person who runs the meeting. They are a leader in the strongest sense of the word.
“The leader is required to keep things on track, even when conversations are starting to stray. You want to be liked by your employees and coworkers and that sometimes means being tempted to join them in straying from the topic of the meeting. It’s up to you to be the one who steers the conversation back, even if that means being the bad guy.” – Cameron Herold
The Timekeeper’s role is a rather self-explanatory one. That doesn’t make it any less important. The Timekeeper’s role in a meeting is to make sure that everyone stays on schedule and that every point in the agenda is covered. They prevent the Chair and the Participants from lingering too long on any one point. Their role is vital if a meeting is going to be a productive one.
“Meetings take the time you give to them, so limit that time. Maybe cut it in half if the usual meetings tend to feel slow, and you can increase productivity immensely.” – Cameron Herold
It’s important to compress the length of a meeting to make it as productive as possible, but that means the Timekeeper needs to be at the top of their game. That means the Timekeeper needs to make sure no one is wasting time, even if they have to feel like the bad guy when they interrupt the topic of conversation that has strayed to the Chair’s new cat.
What’s a meeting without participants? The Participants in a meeting are not passive observers. They need to arrive at meetings prepared to contribute and stay interested throughout the meeting, no matter how long.
Participants are responsible for participating. It’s in the name! When ideas are needed, they give them. If they have ideas that don’t need to be handled in the meeting, they’re responsible for remembering it for a later date. The Participants are the base of a meeting. One is completely impossible without them.
According to Your Article Library some roles of the participants in a meeting are:
- Do homework/gather information
- Be punctual
- Participate actively
- Take initiative
- Follow rules
- Take responsibility
- Disagree agreeably
There are so many more, too. That just proves how important the Participants are, even if they aren’t big leaders like the Chair.
Every role in a meeting is important, these three are just the most vital. If you’re missing one, an effective meeting is impossible. Be aware of these roles and know who is who before every single meeting.
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2011 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.