The role of chairman in a business meeting is crucial for success. At Toastmasters the role of Chairman is a great way to learn the skills of “running” a meeting. I like to compare the role of Chairman to the conductor of an orchestra or band leader.
A conductor/band leader/chairman is important for setting the tempo, mood and energy of a meeting. It is your role as Chairman to make sure you have an agenda (the conductor’s score), that you review who is present and who is away or sent apologies (the players) and that you know the theme of the meeting (which music score you are playing). The result will be a productive and enjoyable meeting.
Here are my notes on being the Chairman in my Toastmasters club. I have attached these notes as a PDF file as well as a sample agenda which folllows these notes.
How to be Chairman
The role of Chairman is like a conductor of the orchestra. You are responsible for maintaining the tempo of the meeting, making adjustments where required and introducing people in different roles. How you conduct the meeting will affect the mood and energy of the meeting, so make sure you speak clearly, and be positive!
Make sure you have a copy of the agenda. A sample agenda (without surnames to protect privacy is attached as a reference).
Here is a checklist you may want to use in your role as chairman.
The Sergeant at Arms opening the meeting and welcomes people. She then hands over to the President who addresses the meeting. He then hands control to you, by passing the gavel.
1. Thank the President then say a few words of welcome mentioning the theme of the meeting. Today’s theme is ………………………………………………….
2. Welcome the guests. Write down their names so you can ask for their comments at the end of the meeting.
3. Ask if there are any apologies (names of people who will be absent) . Some apologies will already be noted on the agenda.
4. Review each of the meeting roles and check if the person is present and ready to do the role. If a person is missing, ask for volunteers or assign a role to the unfulfilled positions. Don’t be afraid to show leadership by asking people if they would like to do a role, for example, “Susan, can you be the timer this morning?”. Sometimes people are running late and you may decide to assign someone to a role in case the assigned person does not arrive.
5. Ask for members who need their role evaluated as part of the Competent Leader manual.
6. Welcome the Laughmaster / Toast / Entertainer / Speakers . For example “Please welcome John to deliver the toast”
7. Thank the previous person and make any comments . For example “Thank you John for that inspiring toast about teamwork”.
8. Introduce the Toastmaster to run the prepared speeches section of the meeting. For example, “And now for the prepared speeches section of the meeting. Please welcome our Toastmaster for today, David”
9. Thank the Toastmaster and make a few comments if you wish.
1. Toastmasters checklist – this article in PDF form. Toastmasters – How to be Chairman Checklist
2. Sample agenda from our Toastmasters club. Sample Agenda