C12 Making the most of meetings

CommunicationParticipatory Techniques
  • How often are meetings dominated by one or two ‘important people’ telling everyone what they should be doing? How productive is this kind of meeting? Are people more likely to become involved in taking action if they have been involved in the decision-making process? How can meetings avoid the situation pictured below?
  • Sensitive leaders will encourage group members to take more and more responsibility both during meetings and practical work. Over time the leader’s role may become less important as members become more used to sharing responsibility.


  • To help people reach decisions, especially on sensitive issues, a good Chairperson should have the skills to stop debate, summarise the views expressed and ask for a decision, if necessary by a show of hands. Postponing decisions is usually only necessary if more information is needed. What can group members do when meetings are badly led?
  • Continue to discuss how to encourage participation at meetings. How can ‘important people’ be politely asked to let others have their say? How can women be given confidence to speak and make their views known?
  • How can meetings use time well? How can meetings start on time? How can decisions be reached instead of postponed for yet another meeting? Should decisions be made early or late during meetings? Why?
  • A good and effective Chairperson is key. They need to prepare for the meeting with a well planned agenda which is then followed. Time limits should be set for meetings and kept.