C7 The role of Chairperson

A leader may often take the role of Chairperson during meetings, but the two roles are different and can be done by different people. During meetings a Chairperson needs to:

  • carefully explain issues under discussion and regularly review where the discussion has reached
  • be able to inspire and motivate others during meetings
  • encourage quieter people to share their opinions, views and knowledge
  • keep control of any debate and make sure people stay on the subject
  • allow decisions to be made with popular agreement
  • make sure that disagreements and arguments do not interfere with the ongoing progress of the group
  • stand back from personal feelings and make good judgments on the group’s behalf
  • share out responsibilities and work
  • be approachable and encourage openness.

Discussion 

  • Emphasise that the list provided may not be complete. Discuss each point one by one and use examples when possible. What other qualities and responsibilities could be added? Why?
  • Which of these roles do participants think are more important? Why? If most members are literate, these roles and any others suggested, could be written out on pieces of paper and then ranked in order of importance.