The Chair role is one of the biggest and most important roles of Seymour Speakers’ meeting. But what’s in it for you?
Why Should I Be The Chairperson for a Meeting?
After all, it’s the most work of any of the meeting roles. It is also be one of the most valuable roles and helps develop skills that will transfer to any business environment.
What do you have to do in advance?
Aside from helping out the VP Education in getting all the meeting roles (agenda items) filled, you must
- provide a theme for the meeting (purpose)
- get feedback/theme thoughts from all the participants (further agenda items)
- create the schedule based on how much time each person needs – including accounting for bridging and transitions in between items (scheduling, agenda and timetable creation), and
- organize those who will be participating (touch base and let those involved know what’s going to happen, and when).
You also must print off about 20 copies of the day’s agenda that you’ve created using the template.
And the meeting hasn’t even started yet!
What do you have to do AT the meeting?
- Show up early. At least 15 minutes beforehand to make sure everything gets set up.
- Answer any last minute questions from other meeting participants.
- Run the meeting! The Toastmaster will take care of most of the first half, but it’s still ultimately the Chairperson’s job to keep the meeting going.
- Communicate with the Timer throughout the meeting. Some timings may need to be shortened. This is especially true of Table Topics. If you extend the Table Topics session to include more participants because you suddenly have extra time, you MUST make sure that the Table Topics Evaluator spot also gets extended so the evaluator doesn’t get cut short.
- Touch base with guests and introduce them. Not all guests are comfortable standing up in front of 20-odd people they’ve never met and saying something. Talk to them before the meeting starts to get a sense of where they’re at (and learn how to pronounce their name in case it’s unusual).
Is this a lot to do? Heck, yes. But is it worth it? Heck, yes. If you work in an environment where you have to plan any type of event or meeting, this is valuable practice in getting comfortable facilitating something from start to finish. If you work for yourself and run your own show, this is valuable practice in getting comfortable running information sessions or even sales presentations that may involve others.
Remember Toastmasters isn’t just about “doing speeches”. Every time you stand behind the lectern, you are practicing your public speaking and presenting in some form. Every meeting role you fill develops a different skill in your public speaking arsenal. Toastmasters’ new motto: Where Leaders Are Made!