Have you ever felt bored in a meeting? The answer is probably yes. All of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced this in a face-to-face or virtual meeting. Results are often prioritised over the right way to run a productive meeting.
To avoid falling into the routine of boring meetings, managers should consider adapting certain functions of the meeting. It will help to take care of the dynamism and dialogue and ensure that the important information that needs to be discussed by the meeting attendees is properly addressed.
- Meeting roles is the assignment of different roles within a meeting in order to increase the productivity and participation of the attendees.
- It is recommended to plan and assign meeting roles in advance, so that people can prepare and receive extra information about the topics to be discussed.
- Define the meeting roles based on the skills and characteristics of the people involved.
What you should know about meeting roles
It is essential that you have a complete picture of the functions of the meeting. There are several ways to carry them out, without falling into the routine of boring, yawning executive meetings. Below, you will find the main answers to your doubts about this type of meeting and some tips on how to make the most of it.
What are the functions of the meeting?
The functions of the meeting are the roles assigned to each person in charge of conducting a virtual or face-to-face meeting. The application of these roles, together with a good structuring of the meeting’s key points, guarantees the productivity and the valuable contribution of each meeting attendee.
What is the purpose of assigning meeting roles?
The work environment of a company is very important. With the assignment of roles in the meetings, you promote better interaction between workers, and, as a result, improve efficiency and produce the desired results (1). All these aspects are beneficial for the entire work environment and the organization itself:
What roles are common in face-to-face and virtual meetings?
Even if meetings are held in person or virtually, the types of roles do not change, no matter how different the environments or meeting settings are. Get to know the key roles that cannot be missing in any way in your meeting.
- Leader (chairperson). This is the person who organizes and directs the meeting.
- Facilitator. The person in charge of keeping the meeting on track and not straying into irrelevant topics.
- Timekeeper. As the name implies, this is the person in charge of timing a meeting.
- Note taker. This is the person in charge of taking evidence of the key issues and actions that are concluded in the meeting and preparing meeting notes.
In virtual meetings the following roles need to be added:
- Tech Host. This is the person who starts the meeting from the platform, for example in Zoom, it can be the person who creates the link and has an account with unlimited meeting time. He/she must have technical computer knowledge.
- Chat moderator. He/she is in charge of reading the chat messages posted by the attendees.
What are the 5 essential meeting roles?
With new standards to meet the demands of modern workplace dynamics, new roles are added to create a more engaging and communicative meeting environment. Let’s take a closer look at what roles are necessary for an effective meeting.
1. The Leader
This is the primary role within a meeting, whether it is held virtually or in person. This person is usually the team leader and is responsible for setting the agenda for the meeting. The Leader is in charge of defining the other roles of the working group.
Read more about How To Create An Agenda For Your Meeting
Likewise, there are certain responsibilities that must be carried out by this person, before, during and after the meeting.
Responsibilities of the leader at the time of a meeting
The role of the leader is very important. His/her function is based on the organization and supervision of the objectives set, as well as being able to draw conclusions from the topics discussed. Find out in detail what their functions are in the whole process of a meeting.
|Responsibilities before the meeting||Responsibilities during the meeting||Responsibilities after the meeting|
|Prepare the meeting agenda.||Keep the meeting structure on track.||Ensure that responsibilities are assigned to the meeting participants.|
|Define a list of participants, platform or location (face-to-face meetings).||Supervise the Facilitator to maintain order.||Define the next steps to be taken.|
|Ensure that each guest receives additional information regarding the topics to be discussed.||Define the objectives and rules within the meeting.||Ensure that the agreed initiatives are communicated to the Leaders of the organization.|
|Send the invitation links to everyone.||Ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to share their point of view.||Notify key points discussed to those who did not attend.|
How to be a good leader in the organization?
A leader is someone who knows the way, goes this way and shows it to others. There will always be emotional situations and a calm and confident message must be conveyed. A good leader creates bonds in the team, and seeks the independence of the group, providing the necessary tools, advice and support so that they can solve issues and problems that occur.
Hannah Trivette – Managing Director: “The objective of a leader is to help his team develop its maximum potential.”
Tips for Leaders in meetings
It is essential to have a good understanding of their role within the work team to be able to transmit the necessary motivation to get each employee’s interest and commitment. Here are some tips on how to fulfil the role of leader effectively:
- Identify objectives in advance. It gives you a better perspective of what you will do and how you will execute it.
- Coordinate the action plan with the other key roles. You need the help of your entire group to minimize disruptions.
- Resolve questions. Allocate time to resolve attendees’ questions, ensuring a clear and transparent experience.
- Give the last word. Express your gratitude to employees by sending them a brief note thanking them for their input.
Leader vs. facilitator in meetings
The roles of Leader and Facilitator are often performed by the same person. They are similar roles, but may have different responsibilities. Below, check out their differences:
|Position in the organisation||The leader must be a member of the organisation.||It can be a person from outside the organisation, hired specifically for this role.|
|Role||Responsible for ensuring that the objectives set are met.||Assumes a more participatory role in the meeting.|
2. The Facilitator
The main role of the Facilitator is to keep the conversation flowing smoothly and on track. Under an active role, encouraging the participation of each individual in the meeting. Like the previous role, the Facilitator also has tasks before, during and after the meeting.
Responsibilities of the Facilitator at the time of a meeting
The Facilitator works constantly with the Leader to determine how to address certain issues and dynamics that emerge during the meeting. Look at this chart to see their responsibilities during a meeting.
|Responsibilities before the meeting||Responsibilities during the meeting||Responsibilities after the meeting|
|Meeting with the Leader to determine expectations and the goals to be addressed.||Moderate the conversation so that agenda items are followed.||In collaboration with the Leader, communicates the outcomes.|
|Together with the Leader, plan the agenda.||Manage the tone of the conversation.||With the Leader, define the next steps to be taken.|
|Define the tools to be used in the meeting. Neutralises possible inconveniences or team conflicts.||Neutralises possible inconveniences or team conflicts.||He/she gives a polite farewell to the attendees.|
|Prepares the group activities.||Understand others and guide them to share their opinions.||Optionally, he/she can ask the leader for feedback on his/her performance in the meeting.|
Tips for Meeting Facilitators
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced facilitator, all working groups are different, all work cultures are different and you will face different situations. Therefore, it is recommended to remain calm and respectful in any situation.
- Know your audience. In the first contact, you will be able to perceive certain personality traits and styles of the group you are dealing with.
- Be observant. Throughout the meeting, you should remain aware of what is happening and be able to act quickly in adverse situations.
- Ask the right questions. Ask the toughest questions they can think of, addressing the questions they are most afraid to answer (4).
- Maintain fluency. See to it that your team stays connected and in tune with what’s being discussed. In face-to-face meetings, you can invite them to write on the whiteboard.
3. The Timekeeper
The role of the Timekeeper helps the Leader maintain order in the agenda, keeping track of the time and moments used for each topic, guaranteeing the effective time in a meeting. It also notifies when there is little time left to move on to the next topic (5).
Tips for meeting timekeepers
A practical tip for the Timekeeper during a meeting is to previously agree on a type of signal to convey that there is little time left, and it is necessary to conclude with the ideas. A private message to the Leader or to the Facilitator by chat message can be used. Here are more useful tips for this function:
- Know the agenda and structure of the meeting. Be prepared in advance for how the agenda of the meeting will be managed. In short, you should write down the time frame so that you don’t forget it.
- Avoid delays. Meet with the Leader and Facilitator to define which steps may take longer than expected on the agenda.
- Use a reliable stopwatch. Time is your best ally, that is why you must have a quality device to calculate the time. This way, you will avoid malfunctions or battery failure.
The role of the note taker focuses on recording the opinions, highlights and conclusions of each stage of a meeting. Because of this, you need to rely on writing tools such as a laptop, notepad or voice recorder.
Tips for notetakers at meetings
In order to perform this function properly, you must have comprehension skills and be able to capture it quickly. This way, you will be able to follow the thread of the conversation and not get lost in the writing.
5. The Tech Host or chat moderator
The function of the Tech Host is required when a technical eventuality occurs that needs to be solved immediately. That is why their role is mainly to make sure that all digital tools and devices are working properly.
Although it is true that the Tech Host and the Chat Moderator are totally different functions, it is very common that these roles are performed by the same person. So that only one person will be in charge of solving the problems that may appear and, at the same time, reading the messages in the chat box.
What is the profile of a Tech Host or Chat Moderator?
The profile of this role is a person who has extensive technical knowledge of computers, the use of digital tools and conferencing platforms. In the digital environment, these people help attendees to enter without any inconvenience to virtual meetings.
Tips for meeting chat moderators
Having technical digital skills is one of the many traits that a Tech Host must have. Below, you will see some tips to be able to perform this role without major inconvenience.
- Coordinate the requirements requested by the Leader or Facilitator. He/she will be in charge of reviewing in detail all the tools to be used in the meeting, as well as recommending some that will make the meeting more didactic.
- Remain calm. A serene presence should be maintained when a problem occurs, this will maintain the harmony and connection of the moment in the meeting.
- Give clear instructions. You must have the ability to express yourself clearly and simply, in case the attendees need to execute the actions you are telling them.
How to define roles based on people’s characteristics?
When it comes to defining exactly what role each team member will have, it is essential to be able to decide based on certain characteristics that they present, team collaboration improves the climate of diversity and inclusion (6).
- Leader. They are defined as people with the innate ability to manage a group, they are characterized by having a commanding voice and a direct personality. Likewise, in most cases, the leader is the director of the organization.
- Facilitator. They have an extroverted personality that encourages dialogue and enjoys sharing opinions with others.
- Timekeeper. They are characterized by being very punctual. Time is their best ally and they usually deliver all tasks ahead of schedule.
- Note taker. This person has a great capacity for analysis and information processing. They write quickly, either on the computer or in their notebook.
- Tech Host or Chat Moderator. It is defined as a person who is aware of developments in the digital environment, and has studies or higher knowledge about technology and computing.
The trends of agile methodologies in work groups bring with them effective tools, in line with the demands of today’s corporate competitiveness. The previous assignment of roles in a work team will make you achieve success in a virtual or face-to-face meeting, covering all the topics and objectives you want to define.
Take into account all the aspects mentioned above in order to create a productive work team with meeting roles. Throughout this article we have seen that there are different ways to do this, now it’s time to define your team and set your next meeting in motion!
1. Lacerenza, CN, Marlow, SL, Tannenbaum, SI, & Salas, E. Apa PsycNet [Internet]. American Psychological Association. 2018 .
2. Trivette H. Council post: Four considerations when updating team responsibilities [Internet]. Forbes. 2021 2022].
3. Driskell, JE, Salas, E., and Driskell, T. Apa PsycNet [Internet]. American Psychological Association. 2018 .
4. Cheek D. Council post: 7 steps to utilizing role-playing for planned hostility in meetings [Internet]. Forbes. 2022 .
5. Birkenhagen K. Four Roles to Keep Your Meeting on Track [Internet]. Conferencecalling.com. 2018 .
6. Jiang, Z., DeHart-Davis, L. and Borry, E.L. Managerial Practice and diversity climate: The Roles of Workplace Voice, Centralization, and Teamwork. [Internet]. Public Admin Rev. 2022 .