Rotating functions at a meeting

Facilitating a meeting is a complex matter and is preferably shared by a number of people. If the functions are circulated among the members of the organization, everyone will become acquainted with how the organization works and feel responsible for the meetings:

  • facilitator: administers the order of speaking; also keeps things going by asking long-winded speakers to come to the point; summarizes discussions; directs decision-making; etc. It is important that the facilitator does not combine this function with advocacy of factual matters; facilitation should then be temporarily transferred to someone else
  • secretary: confirms what has been decided and enters this in the minutes, to be followed up at the next meeting
  • time-keeper: monitors the time taken by each speaker, ensures that the item does not exceed the agreed schedule and that the meeting ends on time. The other participants are then free to concentrate on the business of the meeting
  • observer: can be appointed in advance if there are aspects of the meeting that call for particular attention: how speaking time is shared out among the participants, memorable ‘pearls’, tendencies to domination, a need of breaks, etc.

Speaker’s ball and rounds, are simple tools to use with good results right from the start. Common agenda and rotating functions need to be run in. If all four instruments can be institutionalized, much will have been done to redistribute power and counter tendencies to discrimination in an organization.

See also the section Democratic management


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Posted in Instruments for better meetings, Method Bank, Methods