Managing meetings and committees

Team members often attend meetings other than clinical meetings 'because they have to'. It is important to be clear about the purpose of the meeting and to identify this in the agenda. Meetings should chaired effectively and information about decisions made should be circulated. A good chairperson will allow every individual to contribute without allowing them to dominate the meeting. The chairperson must not take sides but bring everybody into discussion. It is crucial to focus the group on the issue under discussion and to emphasize the positive. Meetings often end up as entertainment or battles, but they should be for making decisions, sharing information, and achieving agreements in public.

A good manager is able to chair committees and obtain the required results. A skilful individual will go into each committee meeting with a clear idea of their preferred outcome. Not all committees are decision-making bodies and their functions will vary depending on their structure and constitution; hence the chairperson will have to play different roles. However, preparation and planning are crucial in setting the agenda for each meeting and notifying the members of the committee. A good chairperson will control the agenda yet will give opportunity to the members to communicate their views so that they feel that their views have been heard. He or she will coax individual members to participate, clarify their views, and co-ordinate the response. By using statements and assessing verbal and non-verbal signals, the chairperson can succeed in summarizing and communicating the decisions that have been made. (12)

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