Saturday, June 7, 2008

Etiquette when chairing the meeting

If you are chairing the meeting, pick a time that’s convenient for everyone. If possible, avoid scheduling a meeting first thing Monday morning or late Friday afternoon. People are often occupied and/or distracted at these times. In addition, give plenty of notice. Two weeks is an ideal minimum.
Decide on the seating. Remember that the two seats on either side of the chairperson are considered the most significant seats.
Create an atmosphere in which frank, open discussion is not only safe, but encouraged. If things get heated, it’s your job to keep order and mediate any conflicts. Keep the spirit of the meeting positive. Don’t criticize or chastise. Avoid undermining authority by hotly disagreeing with someone who outranks you, particularly your boss. Consider the schedules and jobs of the participants. Make sure all paperwork is distributed well in advance. Provide breaks so that people can make telephone calls and use the restrooms.
At the end of the meeting, give credit to those who deserve it. Also, write a précis of the meeting within 48 hours, distribute it to the participants, and set the date for the next meeting.

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