4 Things to Consider When Chairing Meetings

In: BlogDate: Jun 20, 2018By: Billy Burgess

There’s plenty to consider when chairing a meeting, including what format the meeting will take.

While we are all familiar with meetings, we also know that many of them tend to lean so heavy on the formal side that there is little productivity as a result of them. Meeting styles are constantly being revised in the name of optimum impact.

Here are a few things that meeting chairs should consider when conceiving meeting framework.

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Remove glaring distractions

Productive meetings depend on there being a united focus. These days the primary distractions are smart phones, tablets and laptops. Unless they’re integral to a meeting’s function and purpose, it’s wise to keep these gadgets out of the room. This could just mean asking staff to leave phones and laptops at their desks or in their bags, or requiring everyone place them into a safe box.

Despite frequent over-estimation, research displays what woeful multi-taskers we are. So, in the name of securing attention, staff should leave clearing their inboxes and replying to client texts until after the meeting.

Go easy on the novelties

We’re always hearing anecdotes about Silicon Valley-inspired companies whose meetings involve staff playing a game of Twister while pitching new concepts or raising concerns about company finances. This might sound like fun (or it might not), but there’s a strong case for steering clear of such hi-jinks.

Not only are these sorts of novelties a major distraction, they’re also time consuming. Meetings take people away from their work. While sipping a mocktail and engaging in lighthearted tomfoolery could be a relief, it could also cause unnecessary disruption to a worker’s productive flow. This isn’t to say the entire workday must revolve around quantifiably useful activity, but reflection and creative meditation at one’s desk might be significantly more fruitful than a quirky spectacle.

How necessary is the meeting?

This is the most fundamental consideration of all. Meetings, of course, have their place, but many workers sit through multiple meetings week-in, week-out. Such regularity means meeting chairs are often just rehashing topics from previous meetings or else drawing a blank.

Again, if it’s taking up the time of numerous staff members, then you’ll first of all want some pretty sturdy justification.

How much money does the meeting cost?

Think of how long a meeting takes and the amount of staff present and you’ll be able to calculate how much money a regular meeting costs the company. This isn’t intended to be an intimidating consideration, but rather something else to be wary of when looking at meeting length and the number of staff invited.

Productivity can’t always be simply evaluated and there are occasions when the theoretic cost of a meeting will be nothing compared to the progress made therein. But, it’s worth weighing up meeting contents and duration against the tally of staff on the invite list, and looking at whether that money could be better spent elsewhere.

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Billy Burgess

Billy has been writing blogs for Happy since 2017, covering mindfulness, stress management, confidence building and emotional intelligence as well as offering handy tips for Office 365 users. As an arts, culture and lifestyle writer, his work is regularly published in Music Feeds, VICE, RedBull.com, Beat magazine and Mixdown.

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Want to learn more?

Happy will be exploring chairing meetings in more detail in our one-day workshop, Chairing Meetings, on 10th July.

The day will provide information on carrying through the role of chair and will consider some of the difficulties that can confront “the person in the chair”.

This workshop is also available as a private inhouse session for your organisation. Contact us for pricing and availability.