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50 years of success - Established 1974

50 Years of Success
Established in 1974

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.control of your career"

How to Chair a Meeting Successfully


The key to any successful meeting is a competent chair person. But, if you were asked to perform the role, would you know what to do? If you don’t, read on to learn how to make any meeting a success.

The role of a chairperson is to keep control of the meeting, move it along and keep it on track. And, if you are chosen to be chairperson, you need to be organised and authoritative. First you’ll need to turn up to the meeting room early, so that you can check out the room to make sure it’s suitable for the meeting to take place.

Once the attendees arrive you’ll call the meeting to order, meaning you’ll officially open it. Then apologies from those who are not able to attend are announced. Once that’s been done, you‘ll need to make sure that everyone has a copy of the minutes from the previous meeting to follow as you read them out. If everyone agrees they are an accurate reflection of what was discussed, great, you’ll sign them and move on. However, if someone in the group disagrees with what’s detailed in the minutes, you’ll have to deal with it there and then. Of course, this process only applies if there has been a previous meeting. If not, move on to the next point on the agenda.

As you move through the meeting it is important for you to keep control of the group and make sure that you discuss only what’s on the agenda. Any other issues being raised can be noted for inclusion in the next meeting. In order to achieve this you may need to be firm, so be prepared for this.

Not only do you need to keep control of what is discussed at the meeting, you also have to decide how much time is spent on each topic, ensure that all those in attendance get the chance to contribute if they wish to do so, and keep the meeting from descending into a serious argument. It is your job to ensure that everyone in the room feels able to comment if they want to, even those who may be shy. But, be careful not to take up too much of the meeting time with your own points. Of course, you may have some issues you wish to raise, but your job is to control the meeting and get the most out of those attending. Meeting etiquette usually demands that any contribution from the chairman comes last.

As chairman, you’ll also be expected to make sure that each point gets a fair amount of discussion. If one point goes on for too long, you’ll need to stop it and, if necessary, carry it over to the next meeting. This is essential if you want to cover all the points on the agenda in the time given.

At the end of each point on the agenda you need to give a clear, but brief summary of what has been decided and what action, if any, needs to be taken.

Once all the points on the agenda have been covered, you will officially close the meeting. Once the meeting is closed no further business can be discussed, so it’s important to try and get everything on the agenda covered in the time allocated.

However, sometimes it’s not possible to cover all the points on the agenda during the meeting. When this happens you can adjourn the meeting, rather than closing it. When you do this the meeting is just suspended and must be resumed as soon as possible. As chairman you should make sure you fix the time and place for the meeting to resume when you adjourn.

And that’s it! It may seem like a lot to do, but it’s not really and once you have chaired one meeting you’ll feel more confident about chairing others.

If you feel you’d like more information about business meetings, our Business English course is the perfect introduction. You’ll learn about how business works and how to improve your business English to impress your employer.