How To Chair A Meeting Effectively

When I graduated from university and starting working, I realised I had no clue on how to chair a meeting or do any other fancy corporate stuff. Hence this post.

Full time work is different to studying. It also equates to:

  • 2,083 cups of coffee
  • so much avocado on toast that I can’t even afford to buy a house
  • more post it notes than you can poke a stick at

Before I fell into the big black hole of corporate lyfe, I wish someone had told me these five things.

1# Hunt down the org chart

It’s a family tree for the corporate world and you’re adopted in, welcome.

Nothing screams more corporate than long winded titles and layers of management. Before you learn the office dynamics, you’ll need to know who everyone is, what they do and who they report to.

Do your homework to avoid pulling faces in Monday morning meetings.

who are you weird look

2# Nail your intro

First impressions matter.

In any organisation, introductions are key to establishing your presence. Have a couple of words up your sleeve just in case someone asks.

If you’re meeting with someone more senior than you, position your ‘administration’ or ‘assistant title’ as a behind the scenes or enabler role. If you’re keen to progress whoever you’re talking to will connect the dots pretty quickly.

How to chair a meeting effectively

3# Keep it to corridor conversations

I didn’t make this up. It’s the type of conversation you have on the run, unexpected and unrehearsed but 100% remembered.

So, if you’re caught in a corridor with one of those lucky people who spend their whole day in meetings, you’ve hit the jackpot because you’ve scored their attention (momentarily). These conversations are fleeting, even a smile and a quick hello is better than nothing.

little boy waving

4# You work with people

Remember those group assignments you loathed at university? Well you tend to do a lot more in the real world. Working well with people (not your distinction average) will be your success. Pay attention to how you interact with your colleagues.

In group situations, listening and acknowledging everyone’s opinion is a step in the right direction. Although money, fame and fortune may be motivating factors, in the end…people motivate people.

teamwork makes the dreamwork

5# How to chair a meeting

This article would be a scam if I didn’t tell you how to chair a meeting. Preparation is key. Send out an agenda a few days in advance.

meeting meme Oprah

Once it’s meeting time showtime the standard running order goes something like this:

  1. Kick off with a quick introduction, who you are and what you do
  2. Briefly outline your agenda or objective for the meeting
  3. Run through any presentations if you need to
  4. Wrap up with some time for discussion or Q&A
  5. Close the meeting by outlining any follow up action items and next steps

It may seem like a baptism of fire at first but you’ll cherish your baby steps in the years to come.

Since your credibility is born overnight, small opportunities matter. We all have to start somewhere, even if it’s doing the humble coffee run.