Chairing: Upright and Without Stablisers

Chairing a meeting well is a key ingredient of progress for Associations. But it’s not easy.

As it turns out, it has a lot in common with learning to ride a bike.

Here’s what they share. If you spot something that could make a difference to you, or someone you work with, my Masterclass for Association of Association Executives on Effective Chairing will support you to work on it. Thanks for reading.

Balance: Chairs can overpower a meeting. Lean the other way and they may invite others to do the same. A sense of balance when Chairing means knowing your role, your group and when and how to intervene. And this keeps the meeting and your group upright.

Momentum: Chairs can get side tracked when forwards is the desired direction. Momentum is created by a Chair who can manage themselves and others well, acknowledge the deviation, point to map and bring the group back to the topic at hand.

The wobble: Chairs can be disturbed by something going wrong, a disharmony or disagreement. But these moments are all OK. Listen for them. Find a way to verbally acknowledge them and make a suggestion on a way forward. This will get you back up and moving again.

The importance of others: You didn’t learn to walk or ride a bike alone. You had supporters. As a Chair you have the same thing in your group. Everyone at a meeting has a role to play in delivering the outcome. It’s not all on you. Invite others to take their turn at supporting the outcome. Some may be waiting to be asked.

Coming to a complete stop mid movement: Ah, that moment, just before you topple to the side. In a meeting, this could be silence. But silence doesn’t mean a topple is inevitable. It could be that people are thinking. Something could be happening. Let it emerge. And if it doesn’t then invite it to come out to play. The lights will turn green and you’ll be able to start peddling again.

Beginnings and endings: Spend time on these. And don’t rush them. Before we move off, we survey the territory, look ahead, check for support. And when we pedal, we need to be able to come to a safe stop. As a Chair, make a little space for your group to do the same, at the start and at the end.

Learnability: Every meeting is a chance to learn. Chairing, like riding a bike, benefits from a few goes. You can and will become better at it.

Remember that feeling, when you ‘get it’? It’s worth the effort. And how much easier and how much more fun the journey is for you as a Chair and for your group.

Chairing meetings well is a key ingredient of progress for Associations. And just like riding a bike, you can learn how to do it. And that’s what I’ll help you do. Drop me a message if you’d like to discuss how I could support you or someone in your organisation. Thanks for reading.

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