Chairing a meeting is not as easy as Denzel Washington makes it look in that hit movie he acted about chairing meetings. He made it seem like it is all about staring people down and shouting, in a modified-for-TV-baritone, yourself hoarse. It is these things actually…and more. (To unashamedly quote that advert on TV about another newspaper) Much, much more. This column is going to take you from a puny, spineless can’t-chair-a-meeting individual to a take-that-Denzel chairman of a meeting.
First things first, shift in your seat, clear your throat and call the meeting to order. Getting the attendees’ attention may require a bit more work. It can be done by playing the sound of gunshots from speakers carefully pre-positioning in different corners of the meeting venue. Another way to grab their attention is by inviting a local artist to perform. When they are done, they should emphatically point to you as they dance their way away from thevenue.
The attendees’ attention fully on you now, thanks all of them for making it to the meeting on time. Take time off to give a stern eye to each one who arrived late. You can contact a local company (Ad: Support local companies that do good work. End of ad) to make sacks for late-comers to wear. Ok, skip that bit. I was joking, clearly.
Call the secretary to read the minutes of the last meeting. Play some music in the background as she reads them. Music from Pragmo and Isaiah Katumwa comes highly recommended for this. If the meeting is in the afternoon then you’ll need something more militant though, something with Eminem in it. Or Busta Rhymes.
As the meeting progresses, and attendees share their brilliant(?) ideas, be wary of the different kinds of attendees. There’s that person staring straight ahead for one minute too long. He is asleep. Wake him up by making strange cat sounds in his ear.
There’s that person talking too much and rubbishing other people’s ideas. Refer him to the counsellor in HR . There’s that person who says nothing. He looks. Scribbles. Looks. Scribbles. Occasionally ask for his opinion.
There’s that person on their phone. Typing. Giggling. Typing again. They always make it seem like they are super intelligent and can multitask; tweet and Whatsapp while attending the meeting. Direct your next question to them.