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Seb Anthony

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Influencing a meeting


I am applying for a new job which will involve chairing meetings with Directors of various companies. I have been thinking of different scenarios I may be asked at the interview and have scared myself silly with this one:
How would I deal with chairing of meetings with highly influential national and international representatives from Government and Shipping Organisations that do not agree with UK Policy! - and for which you have written the policy in the first place!

I would be grateful for any help
Thank you

Paul Cardell

2 Responses

  1. Chairing
    If you have written the policy you need to stand by what you have written – don’t be scared of titles they are only people.

    You need to ensure as chair that everyone has their say and that you control those people who try to dominate the meeting (as they will) by talking too much and interrupting. You need to ask the quieter ones if they have an opinion so their voice is heard. This can all be done diplomatically by keeping your voice at normal tone, but assertive.

    Good luck with your application!

    Sandra Beale FCIPD

  2. Chairing meetings
    There are numerous skills involved here (plus your own personality of course).

    Agenda setting, with timed items, ensuring attendees have appropriate input to both items and timings

    Controlling those timed items and agreeing any variation from the set agenda

    Facilitating a full debate, appropriate to the relevant importance of each item

    Ensuring agreement on the outcome of each debated item, including minuted actions and key messages

    If you are presenting a paper for discussion (as you imply), have a deputy chair sit in for that item only (or for the whole meeting if the paper is the main item). If the latter is the case, ensure the chair is thoroughly briefed on your intended outcome.

    I suspect your interviewers will wish to see how you would balance the need to give a positive presentation and at the same time ensure the meetings are conducted fairly and democratically.

    Of course if they just expect you to win at all costs, different “skills” are needed!


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