Running Effective Meetings
Make sure you know how the committee works (e.g. Staff Student Liaison
What are the terms of reference for the committee? Where does it fit in the structure
How often does it meet, is there an annual cycle?
How do you get things on the agenda?
How far in advance do papers go out
What do people think the committee does?
Who is on the committee?
Who takes the minutes? How are they recorded?
Learn from the past:
Locate past papers and minutes to get a feel for previous discussions
Talk to previous representatives
Talk to relevant Union staff
Find out what the other committee members are like.
Check meeting dates and agenda deadlines
Always confirm date, time and location
If appropriate discuss key items with the Executive Committee
Check with other committee members about anything you are unsure of
Prepare notes for the items you wish to comment on.
Sit where the Chair can see you
Sit next to any allies you may have
If in doubt ask for clarification from the Chair
Make notes to report back with later
If you agree with something say so - avoid being totally negative!
After the meeting:
Report back to those you represent
Identify areas which require your action
Check through minutes to ensure that discussions have been accurately recorded and
if not contact the Secretary.
Learner Development Unit
Techniques for effective Chairing
What is the role of the Chairperson?
The Chair MUST: ensure that the objectives of the meeting are achieved by covering the
agenda items, while promoting participation of the members and staying within the allotted
Prior to the meeting
Ensure timely circulation of the agenda to allow preparation for the meeting
Ensure that the agenda specifies the date, starting and ending times, venue and
purpose of the meeting
During the meeting
Start and end on time – avoid summarising the proceedings for latecomers
Emphasise the objective(s)of the meeting
Seek approval for the agenda –adding by consensus any "late but urgent " items
under Any Other Business (AOB)
Seek approval for the previous minutes – corrections being minuted where agreed
Ensure that report-backs under "Matters Arising " are only whether a task is or is
not completed, giving a new completion date if not –new developments should be
discussed as new agenda points
Introduce each agenda item with any background information (arguments for and
against, and any previous discussions)
Allow participation one by one with discussion through the chair -avoid one or two
participants dominating any deliberations
Encourage the quiet ones to contribute to the discussions
Keep speakers to the topic under discussion – discourage jargon and keep control
of strong non- verbal communication.
Postpone to the next meeting items that are inadequately prepared and presented
or that require lengthy discussion exceeding the available time – possibly even
calling a special meeting for such issues
Summarise discussions and emphasize the decisions, thereby keeping the process
moving and guiding the minute-taker
Decide on the point at which a decision must be taken and lead discussion on the
options –but avoid forcing adoption of your own preferred option
Reach agreement on action to be taken –what activity, by whom, where, by when
and how – noting the type of feedback required
If there is a need for further meetings, decide when (if not already scheduled)
End on time
After the meeting
Ensure that those not present at the meeting are aware of tasks assigned to them
Check the draft minutes and improve where necessary
Ensure minutes are distributed promptly (preferably within one week)