Few people are born natural leaders, and if you number among the many who find being the centre of attention challenging, being asked to chair a big meeting at work might be somewhat unpalatable.
Picture the scene: the end of a huge project is nigh, and as one of the main coordinators, you’ve been asked to chair the meeting in your boss’s absence.
How do you undertake this feat of leadership without crumbling? Are you capable?
Good news: you can do this! And there are some brilliant ways you can combine productivity techniques, mental strength and nothing but your own, fantastic self to run it like a boss!
Here’s my favourite three tips for chairing a meeting:
1. Remember that prep is key
The most important thing you can do before chairing a big meeting is prepare everything you’ll need once sat at that table.
There’s the agenda, obviously, but there’s lots surrounding it, too. What do you need to send to people beforehand that relates to each item on the agenda? Are there specific reports or articles from which they’ll benefit before entering the room?
And, back to that agenda. Setting efficient meeting agendas is a skill that takes time to develop, but the key lies in allowing everyone to have their say on it well in advance. Remember – if you can get agreement from everyone that the agenda is solid, they can’t moan about it on the day.
Writing good meeting minutes revisitedI'm not sure why people are writing a lot of minutes at the moment (or at least looking for information about it), perhaps it's to do with the fact that our roles are becoming more diverse and we're being asked to do tasks that
2. Go back to basics
Over the years, and with technology advancing at a stonking rate, meetings have become more complex and cumbersome than they need to be.
How many times have you sat in a meeting only to wonder what on earth you’re doing there while the projector is fiddled with, or people struggle to recall old reports on their laptops?
Try this for size: go back to basics. Print the agenda out and ask everyone to enter the room with nothing more than a pen and notepad.
Do the same yourself. If your reliance on technology means you haven’t handwritten anything for ages, practice that old art once more to ensure you can take notes quickly and effectively during the meeting.
The more complex the setup and technicalities of a meeting, the harder it will be to chair.
3. Don’t try and be someone else
This might be the first time you’ve chaired a big meeting, but that doesn’t mean you need to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Providing you’ve got your prep right (see tip 1), your only job is to keep everyone as tightly knit to it as possible, without stifling their input.
Achieving this is relatively easy; just be yourself. Chances are, everyone in the room knows the real you, and they’ll work out instantly if you’re putting on a front.
And you know what? If you appear to be acting out of character, they’ll assume you’re out of your depth, ill prepared or – worse – not taking it seriously enough.
Get your Free Managing Meetings EBookFree Subscriber Download Subscribe to the Flipping Heck! Blog, and receive your Free subscriber download of “Managing Meetings” What the book covers: What is a meeting? Why do we need them? Who benefits from them and where did all the free doughnuts go? Types
Meetings are always one of two things: a complete waste of time or incredibly productive.
Clearly, you want the latter to be the case for the meeting you’re charing, and with my tips above, you’ll show everyone that you’re not only capable of being at the helm – you’ve got the company’s best interests at heart, too.
Go forth and be awesome – because that’s what you are.
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