Home Communication Roles Of A Meeting Chair: Before, During And After Meetings

Article Categories

Roles Of A Meeting Chair: Before, During And After Meetings PDF Print E-mail
Written by Christian Yaw Gbewordo   
Monday, 07 January 2008 12:35


Most meetings are used to discuss, to inform, to decide, to organise or to plan. They can be used to coordinate activities, clarify objectives, and evaluate information and they are helpful in solving problems and generating new ideas. Meetings are costly so as the Chairperson it’s your responsibility to ensure that time is not wasted at such sessions through good planning. 


It might be your first time to Chair a meeting, or you’ve being chairing meetings without achieving much results and so you’re also asking “What Should I Do As Chair Of A Club/Committee Meeting?”

In this presentation, I will seek to succinctly outline some the fundamental roles, responsibilities of the Club President, Committee Chair during meetings.

Many of us have experienced the frustration of wasting valuable time at ineffective meetings. While ineffective meetings gobble up valuable time and decrease team productivity, effective meetings can greatly contribute to a team's success.  Team success, in turn, contributes to the success of the organisation.

Meetings can be a very powerful communication tool and can improve productivity within any organization be it Rotaract, LEO, Scouts, etc. As with tools, there are certain procedures and techniques you can use to maximise its effectiveness and productivity.

Productive meetings don't just happen, a lot of ‘behind-the-scenes’ work must be carried out.
One of the principal factors that contribute to productive meetings is well-clarified and communicated roles.
The four basic meeting roles present within any meeting be it a regular club meeting, board meeting, special meeting, fact-finding meeting will include:


  • Chairperson: determines the meeting objectives and plans, and is responsible for the overall direction of the meeting.
  • Facilitator: manages how people work together in the meeting, helps meeting participants clear up conflicts, and solve problems quickly.
  • Recorder: keeps track of the vital information from the meeting and keeping it visual, makes sure the information is accurate, and helps to distribute it among participants.
  • Participants: a group of individuals with a variety of skills, talents, and personalities; responsible for getting the job done, generate ideas, analyse information, make decisions, and implement action plans.

The focus of each role is different, and usually a different person is assigned each role. Sometimes, depending on the kind of meeting, one person may perform multiple roles. However, the Chairperson role and the Recorder role should be performed by different team members.

The Distinction between a Meeting Facilitator and a Chairperson
The Chairperson is driving, or focusing on the content of the meeting, whereas the Facilitator is managing the process of what goes on during the meeting. The Chair is allowed to have an opinion, however, the Facilitator must remain neutral.


Three Fundamental Meeting Stages
A basic meeting structure that has proven helpful in overcoming potential meeting pitfalls includes these 3 deep-seated stages:

  1. Preparing for the meeting
  2. Conducting the meeting
  3. Evaluating the meeting


When it comes to meetings, the expression, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," rings true. An hour or two of preparation can save several hours spent at meetings each month.

Responsibilities of the Chairperson before the meeting

  • Schedules meeting
  • Prepares the agenda
  • Clarifies roles and responsibilities



Responsibilities of the Chairperson during the meeting:

  • Start the meeting on time
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities
  • Establish ground rules and guidelines
  • Participate as a team member
  • Follow the agenda and keeps the meeting focused on agenda items
  • Retain the power to stop what’s happening and change the format
  • Push for accountability
  • Summarise key decisions and actions
  • Record recommendations and allocate responsibilities for specific tasks
  • Make the most of talent present -  ask questions to draw out people with talent and experience
  • Allow time to hear experts’ (if present) points of view but allocate time with clear directions, for example, "We have five minutes to hear the technical reasons why we should support this”.
    For important issues when time is limited set up a sub-committee to collect facts, review the situation, and prepare recommendations to be considered at the next meeting.
  • Close the meeting on time and on a positive, appreciative and graceful mode.


  • Improve each meeting - aim to make each meeting better than the last by analysing what it achieved.
  • Carry out the "post mortem" when you can still remember details of what happened.
  • Get informal, objective feedback from the participants the meeting and make a note to correct any inadequacies. 
  • Follow up on agreed commitments - if you want action taken make sure it is perfectly clear who is responsible to carry out the tasks recommended by the meeting.
  • An agreed commitment is necessary as to who does what, by when. This should be confirmed in writing and is best done in the minutes and again in a follow up reminder to the person who has agreed to take on a task.


I trust the above guidelines will help the Club President, Committee Chair or any Meeting Leader improve the quality of meetings organised.

Last Updated ( Monday, 14 January 2008 13:01 )

Who is the Platform for?