May 232019
 

Establishing Roles and Responsibilities for Your Meeting

Establishing clear roles and responsibilities in your meeting helps to manage the meeting effectively. When roles are established, the participants have a clear understanding of what is taking place because the person in a specific role has a job to fulfill. Assigning roles also alleviates the task you have to manage. This way you can focus on the role you are to manage within the meeting time. Remember that you do not have to do it all. Get others involved.

In this module, you will learn the role of the Chairperson, Minute Taker, and the Attendees. Finally, you will learn how to vary the roles for large and small meetings. Let us begin first by identifying the role of the Chairperson.

The Chairperson

The meeting chairperson is responsible for directing the proceedings of the meeting. They are time managers, referees, and enforcer of the rules when they are broken. The chairperson does not necessarily have to be you all the time, but when you do defer the chairperson’s duty to someone other than you, make sure you are confident the chairperson you choose can handle the role. The chairperson must be able to lead the meeting and be firm throughout the meeting.

Here are additional responsibilities of the chairperson:

  • Be aware of the rules of the meeting if present
  • Keep to the aim or objective of the meeting
  • Remain fair with all participants
  • Start the meeting
  • Transition from agenda topic to the next
  • Introduce the next presenter
  • Handle disruptions

Some of the qualities a chairperson should possess are as follows:

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

The role of the chairperson is essential if the meeting is to have some form of control. If you are the chairperson, make sure you do not take on additional roles. You want to remain focus on the tasks associated with the role of the chairperson. If you select another person to be the chairperson, it is a good practice to meet with him or her in advance of the meeting to coordinate the agenda and set expectations. You want to avoid miscommunication during the meeting, which could hurt the credibility of both your chairperson and yourself.

The Minute Taker

Taking minutes requires some basic skills. For instance, a good minute taker will possess great listening skills, and attention to detail. Furthermore, they should have excellent writing skills and communication skills. The person you select must be able to maintain focus and not be carried away with the meeting, missing crucial meeting information. It is best to select someone who is not directly involved in the meeting, allowing them not to participate. Here is a list of tasks the minute taker should handle:

  • Before the meeting
    • Determine what tool to use for recording the minutes (ex. Laptop, paper, recording)
    • Become familiar with the names of the attendees and who they are
    • Obtain the agenda and become familiar with the topics
  • During the meeting
    • Take attendance
    • Note the time the meeting begins
    • Write the main ideas presented in the meeting and the contributor of that information
    • Write down decisions made and who supported and opposed the decision
    • Note follow up items
    • Note items to be discussed in the next meeting
    • Note the end time of the meeting
  • After the meeting
    • Type up the minutes immediately after the meeting (if manual notes or recordings were taken)
    • Proofread the minutes and correct any errors in grammar and spelling
    • Save or send the document to the meeting owner

Using a template helps to keep the minute taking consistent. Remember to meet with the person you choose to be your minute taker before the meeting to go over the template.

The Attendees

The attendees are not excluded from assuming a role or having a responsibility in the meeting setting. Of course, you cannot force the responsibility on to your attendees, but you can attempt to influence them. The attendees are the biggest success factor of your meeting. If they feel that they accomplished something in the meeting, they will applaud you. However, if they walk away feeling they wasted their time, this could affect your credibility. The following are responsibilities your attendees could assume:

  • Prepare
    • Be prepared to contribute to the meeting
    • Be prepared to arrive early and avoid being late
    • Be prepared for the meeting by jotting down ideas and questions ahead of meeting
    • Be prepared by reading the agenda before the meeting
    • Be prepared for a long meeting by getting enough rest the night before
  • Participate
    • Ask questions
    • Take notes
    • Share ideas
  • Productive
    • Avoid carrying side conversations
    • Remove distractions like cell phones and PDA’s
    • Keep to the allotted time if on the agenda

Setting up expectations is the best way to communicate the role of the attendees. This is accomplished in either the meeting invitation, or separate email to the attendees. In any case, it is worth the time. Remember that all participants play a vital role in the meeting. Your job is to remind them of their role and the responsibility that comes with that role.

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