How To Chair A Meeting

Carefully consider whether a meeting is really necessary. Can you achieve your objective by letter, telephone, or e-mail?


Delegate responsibility for:

  • Arranging a suitable venue and checking that the lighting, heating, ventilation, seating, and refreshments are all take care of 
  • Taking, preparing, and distributing the minutes


Prepare an agenda (and distribute it in advance) that gives information about the meeting: 

  • Where is the meeting being held? 
  • When is the meeting taking place (date, time, and finish time) 
  • Who needs to be at the meeting 
  • Why is the meeting taking place?


Start on time and keep a careful eye on the clock. Don't allow irrelevancies to steal time so that the meeting ends without a decision.


Give everyone an opportunity to contribute, keep people focused on the important issues, and summarize throughout the meeting.


Stay objective. Your role is to focus and drive the meeting, not to force people to see things your way.


Read the minutes before they are distributed, and make sure they are truthful and accurate.


This tip was taken from Shortcuts for Smart Managers, by Lisa Davis, pg. 197.