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The 4 Important Meeting Roles: Which One Are You?

There are 3 things in life that are inevitable: death, taxes, and meetings...

Okay... maybe a bit of an exaggeration there but if you’ve ever worked, chances are you’ve been in a meeting. While the percentage of productive meetings can range anywhere between 33 to 70%, we can all agree that we would rather be in productive meetings than unproductive ones. A big factor of productive meetings is the Meeting Roles, which focus the duties of meeting members to ensure an effective session -- kind of like positions on a sports team or different cooks in a kitchen. Here are 4 main meeting roles that should be assigned to every meeting.

Role #1: The Leader

“Not only will I be part of the meeting, I will be there leading the meeting!”
The most important position in the meeting has 3 different obligations: Before the conference, they would plan and coordinate the agenda, venue, equipment and attendees, handling all mishaps, reservations and unexpected emergencies.

During the conference, they should direct discussions so that that follows the pre-distributed and agreed upon agenda. It is the leader’s responsibility to establish meeting roles and ensure equal speaking opportunities for all attendees, create an environment that all attendees feel comfortable contributing to all workshops, as well as all brainstorming and discussions. The leader is also in charge of any equipment such as PowerPoints, Screen-sharing, or other visuals.

After the meeting, the leader should effectively communicate what the conclusions and next steps are, and assign responsibilities to all team members to avoid confusion and inefficiency.

Role #2: The Recorder

person playing the recorder in striped sweater

This meeting role records key points that are made during the meeting. They would be especially effective if they devise the agenda along with the leader so that they are not only familiar with the agenda, they can also add to it when necessary. The Recorder also distributes the agenda prior to the conference and distributes the notes and conclusions afterward.

Role #3: The Time Keeper

This meeting role assists the leader with the time spent on each agenda item. The timekeeper must have a clear understanding of the agenda to guide the conversation for the meeting to follow the allotted time slots in a subtle manner. They would also remind all meeting participants when 5-10 minutes are remaining on the current agenda item so that attendees have a better gauge on time-management.

Role #4: The Participant

many people in the participant meeting rolesNo one wants to be the civilian when they play Mafia, but the participant role plays a big part in the meeting’s success. The main duty of the participants is to contribute to the discussions, whether it is agenda items, brainstorming or planning. Participants are the extensions of the leader in many ways; they should contribute as much as possible to the agenda items, create a comfortable environment for others to share their ideas, and keep track of the allotted time so the meeting can end promptly. If the leader came up short defining the roles for the attendees after the meeting, ask to clarify to avoid confusion.

To enhance the effectiveness of regular meetings, I recommend rotating roles among different team members. Once each attendee has a general sense and experience with each of the roles it will inspire new meeting ideas, perspectives, and participation!

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