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Read the introduction about different roles in meetings and complete the table


1. A meeting can range from a couple of people to a roomful. If you are having a very small, informal meeting, it is likely that there will not be different roles, but any meeting over four people needs managing through the use of differently attributed roles.

Typically, meetings will have the following:

Ø The chair or Chairperson

Their job is to keep the meeting on track. The role of the Chair is to ensure that the meeting sticks to the agenda, moves swiftly, and that everyone has an opportunity to speak The Chair will interject to move topics on or ask people to stop and clarify certain points. The person undertaking this role needs to be able to scan the room for body language and notice where and when people want to speak. The Chair also has to be quite firm in identifying actions to be highlighted at the end of each agenda topic and make sure decisions are recorded. The Chair also has a crucial part in ensuring the minutes are correct and distributed.

Ø The minute taker

Not all meetings have a separate minute taker, but even the most informal meeting will need minutes taken. The minute taker is there to provide a written representation of the meeting that can be distributed later.

When a meeting is over, the minutes are the only record of what was discussed and the outcome, and therefore it is important to ensure they contain sufficient detail for anyone not able to attend to be able to follow them.

If the meeting is a large negotiation, each party may have their own minute taker so that the final minutes can be compared for any errors in interpretation.

Ø The timekeeper

Not every meeting has a separate timekeeper and this role may be doubled up with another role. Essentially the job of the timekeeper is to ensure that the meeting runs to time and covers all the topics. This can be crucial: if there are six items to cover in the meeting and each overruns by just ten minutes, this will add another hour to the meeting. The timekeeper will have the full permission of everyone present to interject if the topics are not being covered fast enough or to interrupt if the agenda looks like it may not be covered in time.

Ø Guest presenters

The meeting may need guest presenters. They are people who will not be present for the entire meeting but will come into the room at certain points and present their information or topic. It may be that they present formally or they may just join the table and talk through the information they have to share.

Ø Devil’s advocate

At some meetings there may be someone acting as “devil’s advocate”.

This means that they will look at the situation from the other perspective.

This is to ensure that everyone is aware of the negatives as well as the positives. For example, if someone was describing the benefits of a new scheme, the devil’s advocate might point out that the meeting should also identify the disadvantages of introducing the scheme.

Ø Attendees ( or “participants”)

All meetings need contributors who will attend and actively take part in the meeting discussions. Usually participants fall into two categories: regular attendees and invited attendees. Regular attendees make up the meeting at every session, while invited attendees attend only when specially invited. This may be because some of the agenda items cross over into their subject areas or perhaps because they are influential and have a view or opinion to contribute that would affect any decision.


Task 1. Complete the table with details from the text.


Roles of people their job personal qualities
minutes taker    
guest presenters    
devil’s advocate    

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