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How to Chair a committee

How to Chair a committee

Chairing a committee meeting is an art, not a science. Here are our tips from having observed some excellent Chairing and having tried our hand at Chairing meetings:

As Chair, you may be required to:

  • decide how often your committee will meet; set a meeting timetable
  • create a roles and responsibilities document
  • organise meetings including venue, catering, teleconference facilities
  • set an agenda for each meeting
  • send relevant documents to the committee ahead of each meeting (e.g. agenda, minutes from the previous meeting, expenses claim form)
  • liaise between different committees

During the committee meeting, a good Chair will:

  • outline the meeting’s aims & objectives and how the meeting is expected to run
  • introduce new members
  • review and approve minutes from the previous meeting
  • keep to time
  • encourage debate – ensure all members have a chance to express their views
  • conclude discussions with a summary and action point: action points should be SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-limited) i.e. covering ‘who, what, where, why, when’ (specifically, which committee member is responsible for each action point and when should it be completed by?)
  • write minutes of the meeting and distribute these in a timely manner

Your role as Chair is to steer the committee and to bear in mind the bigger picture (as individual committee members will usually be working in silos on discrete projects).

To do this you must delegate – do not be tempted to take on all of the action points yourself.

It’s also important to be approachable - keep in touch with your committee members in between meetings and be open to new ideas.