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From Maddening to Marvelous Meetings: 5 Roles

Meetings can be a huge help, or a total waste of time. So how can one navigate these precarious waters, keep the power-hungry at bay, and empower the shyest team members? In a post for PM South, Harry Hall articulates five specific roles that can be utilized in an effort to better manage meetings:

  1. Facilitator
  2. Scribe
  3. Gatekeeper
  4. Timekeeper
  5. Coach

Tracking Time and Priorities

The first of these roles is the facilitator, or the conductor of the meeting. At the beginning of each meeting, they state the purpose, review the agenda items, and acknowledge the role assignments. They will begin with the first item on the agenda and make sure every member of the team has the opportunity to contribute as much as they please. Following discussion, they will quickly summarize what happened and repeat this process until all the points on the agenda were addressed.

The scribe, gatekeeper, and timekeeper are roles designed to ensure the meeting stays on track. The scribe is underappreciated and exceptionally challenged. They need to listen, summarize, and capture all the integral elements of the meeting in writing. The gatekeeper operates to keep everyone on track. They maintain everyone’s focus on the current item on the agenda. The timekeeper ensures that everything is being completed in a timely manner and gently offers reminders if a topic is discussed for too long.

The coach role is normally a rarity, but when utilized, they make observations about the meeting. In the final moments of a meeting, the facilitator will have the coach give short feedback on what was exhibited, focusing on the meeting process, not specifically the individuals. This role is most useful during the first few meetings, and using different coaches for each meeting will help to give a variety of perspectives.

Habits are not easily broken, but poor meeting habits will deter future success. Assigning roles will give everyone a specific task to focus on and help to guide the meeting appropriately. If the meeting is a few people, maybe only one or two roles really need filled, but the point is that there are strategies available to tackle any size or type of meeting.

You can read the original post here: http://www.pmsouth.com/2015/10/11/from-maddening-to-marvelous-meetings/

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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