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Youre in Charge Now!

Youre in Charge Now!


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Published by Burt Gummer
This book has been written for people who are just starting out as managers. It doesn’t include large sections on the various management theories – instead, it concentrates on
how to manage. This means things like what to do, what to think about, and what to be aware of.
This book has been written for people who are just starting out as managers. It doesn’t include large sections on the various management theories – instead, it concentrates on
how to manage. This means things like what to do, what to think about, and what to be aware of.

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Published by: Burt Gummer on Nov 23, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The five factors in achieving participation are:

• introductions

• motivation

• listening

• control

• summary.

The same principles apply, whether you are chairing or just
attending a meeting – you can do all these things as an
‘attendee’ to help yourself and others participate
effectively. However, let’s assume you are ‘in the chair’

Give introductions

• Introduce members on arrival. Introduce self as
chairperson. Who feels strongly about which subjects?
Does anyone have to leave early? If so, would it be
helpful to rearrange the sequence of the agenda?

• Introduce new members. Introduce visitors, and
arrange to deal with their agenda item as soon as

• Introduce each item on the agenda concisely. Refer to
past history where appropriate. Give clear indications
of the purpose of the item on the agenda: to inform,
consult or decide.

Managing Meetings


Give motivation

• Always remember that to encourage input, you may
have to put someone on the spot.

• Be aware of specialist interests among those present.

• Bring in quiet members. Canvas opinions. Be open
about needing input due to your own lack of detailed

• Encourage contributions from members.

• To start debate, call on different viewpoints alternately.
You must be seen to be balanced and give justice to all.


• Listening is an active behaviour – you need to be seen
to be listening! Use nods, looks, eye contact, questions
to clarify understanding.

• Always try to see and understand the other point of

• Listen to the minority.


• Always remember that, above all else, people expect
that the chairperson will do something to control the

• Control by choosing and using allies and enemies.

• Control by formality (formal procedures), timing
(pacing the meeting and allocating timings) or

• Control contributions, especially proposals, and keep
track of debate direction. Steer discussions if necessary.
Too light control means discussions wander; too heavy
and you risk appearing to have your mind already made

• Control through courtesy.

You’re in Charge Now!


• Do not let ‘multiple meetings’ start – they are

• Know when to give in, to preserve the integrity of your
status as chairperson.


• Give periodic summaries. Highlight key points and
review progress.

• Give general summaries in technical discussions, to
ensure understanding.

• Summarise at the meeting’s end. This is a second
chance to ‘smooth any ruffled feathers’, thank people
for contributions, and remind members of agreed

Holding pre-meetings

You can gain a preview of what may occur in a difficult,
important meeting by having a pre-meeting, with only a
few people rather than the full meeting.


• They let you test opinions.

• You can iron out problems.

• You can ‘strike deals’.


• The meeting itself might appear a ‘fait accompli’.

• You might get lulled into a false sense of security.

• You could alienate some people, by appearing to
exclude them.

Managing Meetings



Bev’s staff meeting runs out of time

Bev holds a staff meeting with all her shift members. She
has a number of items to discuss, and writes out a list as a
formal agenda. When the meeting starts, people want to
discuss some things in more detail than Bev had
anticipated, and she has difficulty controlling things.
Towards the end, time gets short and so the last things on
the list are discussed hardly at all, and Bev doesn’t get the
responses she needs on them.
Bev should have given the agenda to everyone so they
could see how things were progressing. She should also
have controlled things better, perhaps by introducing each
topic and setting a time limit that was realistic. She could
have pointed out what items were still to come before they
actually ran out of time.


So are good meetings down to the chairperson then?

Usually. The best chairperson in the world won’t stop
some people, if they are determined to be difficult. But in
most instances, a good chairperson can make a huge
difference. In meetings where you are not chairing, don’t
rely on the chairperson – remember all the points on the
previous pages, and put them into practice, and it will help

Do we have to have a chairperson?

No. This is too formal for some meetings. However, most
meetings without a chairperson will find that someone
‘takes over’ and controls things – people have a natural
tendency to expect someone to take charge. In many
meetings, one person is more senior than the others, and
people may naturally assume that those people will run the

You’re in Charge Now!










What about motions and proposals and things?

If you ever attend any formal meetings where these are
used, you will need to look up exactly what procedures and
rules apply. However, for most people, these are
formalities they will never need to know about.

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