Tips For Chairing Committees Effectively

  1. Lead by example: be Prepared, be Punctual, be Positive.
  2. Begin with the end in mind: open each session by getting participants to “buy in” to meeting objectives, duration and desired outcomes. Review these in your opening remarks (and make that is item #1 on your agenda).
  3. Delegate: ensure committee member “ownership” in desired outcome by inviting them to “do” something to support your goals (Advice, Action, Attitude).
  4. Promote Fairness: ensure equal opportunity for members to speak; treat staff as partners and have realistic expectations of the amount of work that should be asked from them (given their other responsibilities).
  5. Document: provide agenda prior to each meeting (at least 4 days); agenda should contain location information (and contact telephone number there); start/end time; verbs describing each business item to be discussed versus decided upon; date and location of next meeting. Ensure that minutes are circulated within 12 days of each meeting/teleconference, and make sure action and responsibility decisions are easy to find in the minutes (suggest separate right-hand column).
  6. In some cases, Chairs send a quick “to do list” summary the day after the meeting by e-mail, to help everyone “stay on the same page”.
  7. Support your Team: ask members about their experience on your Committee in between meetings – call them or visit. Encourage suggestions.

Consider implementing the “positive” rule: Anyone who voices a problem must also offer a potential solution.

Say THANK YOU often and publicly. Ensure that the organization’s membership know of the accomplishments and those responsible.

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