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What are the Responsibilities of a Facilitative Meeting Chair?

Meeting Chair Responsibilities
January 19, 2023 4:08 pm

For the many organizations who rely on Boards, Councils and Committees to advance their mandates, it is critical that those Chairing the meeting understand how to manage themselves, the meeting structure and the group dynamics in the meetings they lead.

In our Facilitative Chair workshop, we explore the critical responsibilities of the meeting chair in driving more robust conversations. So what are the responsibilities of a Facilitative Chair?

Facilitative Chairs …

Follow Standard Meeting Processes (i.e., Robert’s Rules of Order) which:

  • Are thoroughly reviewed, scrutinized, and understood before meetings
  • Are shared with the members
  • May be altered during the meeting if it enables the group to better achieve its outcome(s)

Use Decision-making Techniques for:

  • Testing for agreement such as the High Five! for testing for consensus. When a consensus cannot be achieved and time is of the essence, Chairs use majority voting (as set out in their bylaws) as a fallback when consensus cannot be achieved. This includes a simple majority (at least 51%), or a super majority (at least 67%)
  • Ensuring collaboration and a win:win for ALL members resulting in higher commitment levels to the results

Leverage the Group’s Wisdom by:

  • Understanding that discussion items or ‘motions’ are not considered valid unless another member seconds them
  • Seeking to maximize engagement and equitable participation by using structured techniques like round-robins, breakouts, pairs, debate, chat, etc., or unstructured techniques like free flow dialogue
  • Managing the flow of the discussion and ‘parking’ off-topic responses
  • Not getting into expressing personal ideas on any topic – acting unbiased and ‘neutral’ as demonstrated through your body language, tone, and words
  • Never terminating a meeting or agenda without seeking the meeting participants’ consent

Manage Group Dynamics by:

  • Helping participants shift from arguing a position to understanding broader, shared interests
  • Ensuring that all remarks by members are directed to the group – not only to the Chair
  • Setting and refereeing group norms or guidelines that all members have agreed to follow
  • Ensuring members stay on-topic, are concise and non-repetitive, and that everyone has a chance to be understood

Let us Know

Do you have a unique meeting challenge not covered by one of our blog posts? We’re always looking for different dilemmas to discuss in our articles!