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Part 1. THE ROLE OF THE CHAIRPERSON. Task 1.What are the functions of the chairperson during a meeting?
Task 1.What are the functions of the chairperson during a meeting? What are the advantages and disadvantages of not having a chairperson in a meeting?
Read the following information about the role of the Chairperson and do the
tasks given below.
The chair has a vital role in making meetings work. As Chair, you are owner, organizer, facilitator, mediator and the only important person at the meeting. You set the tone for the meeting and dictate and demonstrate the commitment and professionalism you expect from others. If the Chair plays his/her role ell, people will
feel that their presence and contributions are valued and the meeting will be a motivating experience.
Think through the participants’ experience right from the start – from receiving an invitation, through the meeting itself to follow-up after the meeting.
So, the role of the Chair is to progress the meeting in an organized manner, to maintain order, and to facilitate interaction and decision making. One minute the Chair may be encouraging a response from someone who has trouble being heard, and the next he/she may be trying to rein in someone else who is being rather verbose.
Without a Chair to maintain some level of control, many meetings would descend into disorder. The Chair plays a crucial role in ensuring that a meeting meets its objectives. The role brings with it a certain degree of power and good deal of responsibility.
Exercise 1. Where is the information taken from?
Choose one or some of the following:
Textbook describing the functions of a Chair
Exercise 2. Discuss the following questions.
1) Who is the text directed at?
2) Does the text sound clearly?
3) Is the tone of the text appropriate for a reader?
4) Does the text sound knowledgeable?
Exercise 3. Read the three parts of the text below paying attention to the words in
bold type. Then answer the questions given below.
A. BEFORE THE MEETING.
A good chairperson has to be a good organizer. What they do before the meeting is as important as the meeting itself. They should make sure the agenda (the list of things to be discussed) is complete by asking those involved what should be on it and then circulating (distributing) it to everyone concerned. They should check the
venue making sure the room will be free, without interruptions until the end of the meeting.
B. DURING THE MEETING.
The chairperson should be a good timekeeper. They should start the meeting on time without waiting for latecomers. They should appoint a minute-taker to takethe minutes, making that opinions and action points (where participants agree to do something) are noted.
They should make sure each point on the agenda is allocated the time it deserves and should keep to the timetable. When the time allocated to one point is up, the chair should make sure that discussion moves on to the next point, even if the issue has not been completely covered or resolved (decided).
The chair should make sure that each participant has the chance to make theirpoint, and should deal tactfully with disagreements, making sure that each side feels their point of view has been noted. They should also try to avoid digressions, where people get off the point.
Finally, they should ensure the meeting finishes on time or early.
After some meetings it is necessary for the minutes to be circulated, especially if there are some action points that particular people are responsible for.
At the next meeting, the chair should ask for the minutes to be read out and see if all agree that it is an accurate record of what happened, and see if there are anymatters arising (any points from the last meeting that need to be discussed). And they should check what progress has been made on the action points from the previous meeting.
D. One day you may be asked to chair a meeting. You are nervous because you have
never chaired one before Here are some tips to people who don’t know how to
chair a meeting.
1) Make sure everyone has the agenda well in advance.
2) Check you know enough about the participants.
3) Check you know about issues to be discussed.
4) Arrange for the room to be cool rather than warm.
5) See yourself as a referee whose job is to ensure fair play through careful
watching and listening.
6)You must ensure that shy people (the timid) have a chance to say what they
7)Make sure you stick to the time you have allowed for each point.
8) Keep things moving by not letting people wander off the subject.
9) Get decisions made and recorded.
10) If the meeting lasts more than two hours, try to include a break at the
11)Your aim is to leave everyone feeling they have had a chance to say what
they wanted to say.
Exercise 4.Discussing the reading. Talk about the answers to the questions:
a).What is the general idea of the text given?
b) What do you think is the most important information for a would-be chairperson?
c) What information do you think is the least important, if any?
d) What qualities does a good chairperson need?
e) What problems can a would-be chair have?
f) Which part of a meeting do you think is the most difficult for a Chair to run?
g) What recommendations do you agree with?