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Chairing Meetings

gasmaskteam 500x375Many people find it hard to chair meetings effectively. The secret of success lies in preparation, preparation, preparation. Take time in advance to work through the four Ps of successful chairing:

Purpose Why are you holding the meeting? Is it to give information and let people air their views? Is it to get ideas? Is it to build consensus about the way forward? Is it to take decisions? Is it all four (in which case you may need more than one meeting)? What do you yourself want to get out of it?

People Who is going to be there? What are their concerns? What do you know about how they handle meetings and relate to each other?

Priorities What are the key points you need to cover at the meeting? What might come up which is of lower priority?

Plan On the basis of the above, what is your plan for how the meeting should go?

Next, work with the Secretary of the meeting to start to implement your plan. Agree the agenda, timing, venue and the minutes of the last meeting (if appropriate). Make sure your priorities are high up the agenda, not at the end.

At the meeting, give every participant due attention. Acknowledge differences of view and aim to broker consensus. If issues are raised which are not for this meeting, acknowledge them too, then "park" them to be dealt with later. Use other members of the team to support you in handling "difficult" people. Keep the discussion moving forward.

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