In previous blogs, I have offered ideas on how to make your meetings more productive (see links at the bottom of this post), and today I have one more proven idea – establish three key meeting roles for every meeting — chairperson, timekeeper, and minute-taker — filled by three different people. The chairperson is responsible for facilitating the meeting — making sure all relevant input is being solicited and gathered, and smoothing over rough spots as necessary. The timekeeper’s role in a meeting is paramount — he or she is responsible for letting participants know when the allotted time for an agenda item is up. The timekeeper may need to be firm with participants to ensure that they stick to the agenda. The minute-taker’s role is exactly what it sounds like — he or she is responsible for producing a written record about key aspects of the meeting … more about this in a future blog post.
Another thought: if you hold recurring meetings, rotate the roles of the chairperson, timekeeper, and minute-taker for each meeting. The benefits of rotation are two-fold — all participants develop meeting skills, and, perhaps more importantly, there is greater awareness and respect for the challenges inherent in these roles.
By the way, these three key roles are just as applicable to unplanned or emergency meetings as well: if you don’t assign these roles, an emergency meeting can quickly turn into a waste of time.
So what do you think? Are these three key roles necessary? What advice do you have to offer to prevent the “meeting from hell”?
If meetings are driving you crazy, then these previous blog posts may be of value: