This video explores roles that you might not have thought about for your meeting, such as a time keeper, action recorder, specialist presenter, and process observer. Learn how to decide who will run a meeting, and learn about Edward de Bono's idea of someone wearing the 'black hat."
- Obviously we need the leader of the meeting, often called the chairperson, or just the chair. Well I think a chair sounds like a piece of furniture, so I prefer the term leader. Anyway, we need someone to convene the meeting and run it. And this might rotate each time, or someone might be generally considered as the best one to run it every time. But as well as the leader, I think there are five more roles that you might want to consider. There's the time keeper, who could be the leader, as well, or could be a separate person whose only job is to keep everyone to time, no digressions, no waffling.
Personally, I think it's a bit odd and distracting to have someone doing this, since they don't have any other authority, so how can they tell people to hurry up? I think it should be done by the leader, but that's only my opinion, and I've seen it done successfully by a separate person in some meetings. Next, there's the recorder of actions, which, again, could be the leader or someone else. Certainly, the recorder needs to be someone who really understands everything that's being discussed. So, maybe not an intern or a new employee.
Again, when I'm leading a meeting, I like to record the actions, as well, because then I have control over what gets recorded and what need to act upon. But then I am a bit of a control freak. The minutes should only be brief notes of the agreed actions, so it works well if the leader says, okay everyone, have we agreed that, shall I put it down as an action for Dave? So, we've had leader, time keeper, and recorder. Now, I'd like to suggest three more possible roles for your meetings, at least some of them, anyway.
The specialist presenter. This depends on the topic, you might want someone from finance or sales, or whatever, to give an update. In fact, they might not even stay for the rest of the meeting, but they need to know in advance that they're expected to talk for x minutes on whatever subject. Next is the black hat wearer. This person is given the job of being a pessimist, always thinking of what might go wrong, and they have permission to be miserable. We know they're not really like that, maybe, so they don't have to worry about being unpopular, they're just temporarily wearing the imaginary hat.
And their job is to speak up if there's any flaw in the plan. Otherwise, you can end up with a plan that nobody has properly thought about, or for which people have thought about problems but nobody wants to be the one to put a dampener on things. The black hat wearer, and by the way, they don't actually wear a black hat, although, they could, they probably should be a different person for each meeting. Tony would start to worry if he was always selected to be the gloomy one each week.
And, maybe it's good for optimists to have to think about flaws in plans for the occasional meeting. And if they don't find it comes naturally, you can help them to keep on track of wearing the hat by saying, okay, Richard, you're wearing the black hat today, can you see any flaws in this plan. My final specialist role in the meeting could be a process observer. They're tasked with observing the process of the meeting. Does it stay on track? Is everybody involved, is the agenda well planned, et cetera.
And at the end, they give a brief report on the people and the issues, and the overall process of the meeting. Something like, I think we got a bit bogged down on the second part, or, I don't think Miles was allowed to have his say on the third item, or, I think we tried to cover too much. It's a really useful way to improve your meetings and everybody's self awareness. And again, it should be a different person each time you have the meeting, so everyone gets a chance to think about how the meeting is run.
So, at your next meeting, who is going to be the leader, who is going to keep track of time, who's going to record the actions, is there a specialist presenter, are you going to have a black hat wearer, and you going to have a process observer?
- Setting up meetings
- Determining who needs to attend a meeting
- Choosing your meeting duration
- Providing reminders for successful meetings
- Facilitating a successful meeting
- Getting the best out of people
- Dealing with latecomers and common meeting problems
- Deciding if you should go to a meeting
- Making your voice heard
- Managing remote or virtual meetings