Establishing Clear Roles and Responsibilities in Your Meetings

To manage your meetings more effectively, you need to establish clear roles and responsibilities in your meetings.  Establishing these roles will help to give all the participants a clear understanding of what is taking place during the meeting. Assigning roles also alleviates the tasks you have to manage, leaving you free to focus on the role you are to manage within the meeting time. In this article, we will look at the role of the Chairperson, Minute Taker and the Attendees. You will also learn how these roles may vary for large and small meetings.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Meeting Chairperson

It is the responsibility of the meeting chairperson to direct the proceedings of the meeting. They are your time managers, referees and enforcers of the rules. If you delegate the responsibility of the chairman to someone else, make sure that you are confident that they can handle the role. The chairperson must be able to lead the meeting and be firm throughout the meeting.

The responsibilities of the chairperson include:

  • Being aware of the rules of the meeting
  • Keeping to the aim or objective of the meeting
  • Remaining fair with all participants
  • Starting the meeting
  • Handling the transition from one agenda topic to the next
  • Introducing the next presenter
  • Handling any disruptions that may arise

Some qualities a chairperson should possess include:

  • They should have some level of authority
  • Demonstrate flexibility
  • Remain impartial throughout the meeting
  • Display maturity

The role of the chairperson is an essential one and should not be combined with additional roles. They should be free to focus on the tasks associated with the role of the chairperson. If you assign the role of chairperson to someone else, make sure you meet with the person in advance of the meeting to coordinate the agenda and set expectation.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Minute Taker

Some of the qualities of a good minute taker include excellent listening and writing skills, attention to detail, and strong communication skills. The person you select for the role should be able to maintain focus and not miss crucial meeting information. It is best to select someone who is not directly involved in the meeting.

Tasks of the minute taker before the start of the meeting:

  • Determine what tool to use for recording the minutes
  • Become familiar with the names of the attendees and who they are
  • Obtain the agenda and familiarize themselves with the topics

Tasks of the minute taker during the meeting:

  • Take attendance
  • Note the time the meeting begins
  • Write down the main ideas presented in the meeting as well as the name of the contributor of that information
  • Write down decision made and who supported and opposed the decision
  • Note items to be discussed at the next meeting
  • Note the end time of the meeting

Tasks of the minute taker during the meeting:

  • Type up the minutes of the meeting
  • Proofread the minutes
  • Send the document to the meeting owner

Roles and Responsibilities of the Attendees

Although you cannot force responsibility on to your attendees, you can attempt to influence them. The meeting attendees are the biggest success factor of your meeting. The following are responsibilities your attendees could assume:

  • Be prepared to contribute to the meeting
  • Arrive early for the meeting
  • Prepare for the meeting by jotting down ideas and questions ahead of the meeting
  • Read the agenda before the meeting
  • Ask questions during the meeting
  • Take notes during the meeting
  • Share ideas in the meeting
  • Avoid carrying side conversations
  • Remove distractions like cell phones
  • Keep to the allotted time

You can communicate the expectations of the meeting attendees in the meeting invitation or send a separate email to the attendees.

Variations of Roles for Large and Small Meetings

Managing larger meetings requires more resources and assigned roles than for smaller meetings. In small meetings, one person can assume multiple roles. The following is a list of roles you may need to add for a large meeting:

  • An extra minute taker for better accuracy
  • Someone to distribute the meeting materials
  • A person to greet attendees
  • Someone to run the audio and visual equipment
  • Someone to manage the hospitality aspect
  • A co-chairperson
  • A person managing the presentations

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Posted in: Meetings.
Last Modified: January 7, 2015

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