In the meeting… - University of Portsmouth Students` Union

Essential Meeting Skills
Brendan McCarthy:
Representation & Volunteering Manager (Acting)
Aims and Objectives
•Identify what some of the essential skills are to be
effective in a meeting
•Understand the role and importance of the chair
person and the minute taker
•Understand the key tasks and challenges when
attending meetings
•Identify potential strategies and solutions to common
problems arising in meetings
•Enable participants to become more efficient and
confident in their role as Chair/Minute Taker/attendee
What meetings might you attend?
Most Reps will attend an average of 3 University
meetings a year, these are:
Student Staff Consultative Committee
(commonly referred to as SSCCs)
How often? 3 x a Year
Who attends? All Course Reps
What meetings might you attend?
Faculty Forum
How often? 3 x a Year
Who attends? Chairs of SSCC’s
This is an informal meeting between the SSCC chairs
and one senior staff member known as the
Associated Dean for Students (ADS).
What meetings might you attend?
Faculty Board
How often? 3 x a Year
Who attends? A selection of SSCC chairs
nominated at Faculty Forum.
Looks at the key issues and areas of best
practice from across your Faculty.
What meetings might you attend?
Board of Studies
How often? 2 x a Year
Who attends? Nominated SSCC Chairs
This meeting looks more at the Quality Assurance side
of your course.
What meetings might you attend?
Course Rep Council
How often? 2 x a Year
Who attends? Any Rep with welfare issues
Twice a year your Faculty Rep will lead Course Rep
Who’s Who?
• The Chair – within all University and Union
meetings there will be a Chair who facilitates
the session
• The Minute Taker – within all meetings there
will be someone responsible for taking
minutes; capturing key information
Work in small groups to discuss
and decide on what you believe
the role and tasks of the Chair or
Minute Taker might be…
Role of the Chair
The role of the Chair is to ensure all
participants in a meeting can
contribute to a structured
discussion which leads to a clear
decision at the end of the meeting.
Shout Out!
What do you think some of
the skills are that a Chair
would need to make sure this
Key Skills
A Good Chair
Helps the meeting to run smoothly and
They will make sure that:
•all the business is discussed
•everyone’s views are heard
•clear decisions are reached
•order is kept
•the meeting starts and finishes on time.
•Will be thinking about the meeting
overall, not just the topic under discussion
•Always aims to draw a balance between
hearing everyone’s views and getting
through the business.
•Never uses their position as chair as an
opportunity to put forward their views to
the exclusion of others, or to dominate the
Role of the Minute Taker
A minute taker is the attendee at meeting
whose role it is to record the minutes of the
meeting. Their job is to either solely take
notes, or they may be an active participant
in the meeting who has taken on the role for
that one specific meeting.
Key Skills
A Good Minute Taker
Ensures the key elements of the meeting are noted
and accurately recorded
They will make sure that:
• They record what is happening in the meeting
• Records are done in a structured way
• They have noted who is and isn’t in attendance
• They will be confident in asking others for
clarification if needed
• The minutes are circulated and accuracy is
• You don’t need to write down absolutely everything
word for word! Identify key points…
• Keep emotion out of the minutes
e.g don’t say The Treasurer angrily said… use The
Treasurer was in disagreement because…
• If you feel it inappropriate to ask for clarification, note
down who you need to speak to and catch up with
them at the end
• Clearly reflect the order of discussion even if it does
not match the agenda
• Take a laptop and/or notepad
Key Tasks: Before the meeting…
Minute taker
Liaise with minute taker to
address any issues
Liaise with the Chair over the
The agenda sets out things you
want to discuss
Set out a template in advance –
usually provided by the
Map out the running order of the Find out who is and isn’t
meeting with the agenda
Read the minutes of the last
meeting – are there any matters
Key Tasks: At the start of the meeting…
Minute taker
Welcome everyone and
Note down the names of all in
Ensure people know what the Create a sign-in sheet to help
meeting is about
Set meeting roles/code of
Ensure you have a copy of the
agenda and minutes of the
last meeting for yourself
In order to make sure meetings run
smoothly it’s important to make sure that all
attendees agree to follow the same rules.
In groups, using the flipchart,
outline a code of conduct for a
Examples of meeting rules
Outline the rules at the beginning
Ask people to speak ‘through the chair’
Don’t interrupt other people
Stick to the item on the agenda
Don’t talk amongst yourselves
Respect other people’s views
Keep contributions short and to the point
Start and finish the meeting on time
Key Tasks: In the meeting…
Getting everyone through the
business on time
Involve everyone
Dealing with difficult people
Minute taker
Address people in your notes by
position rather than by name
(e.g. the Level 4 Course Rep
Don’t panic!
Write whatever works for you at
the time
Try not to refer to people by their If you need clarification on any
name of gender. Use positions
points make a note of the
where possible
person’s name you need to
contact afterwards
Key Tasks: At the end of the meeting…
Summarise decisions taken and action points to be followed up – who is
responsible and by when?
Agree a date for the next meeting
Agree any special items that will need to be put on the agenda of the next
Ensure that the minutes are written up, are checked by the Chair and sent out to
attendees in good time
Minute taker
Summarise decisions and action points – note who is responsible and deadlines
Ensure that the minutes are written up promptly
Ensure minutes are checked by the Chair and circulated to be checked and
Good Meeting Practice
Most of you will probably have your Student
Staff Consultative Committees coming up…
Here’s some examples of what NOT to do and
some examples of what to do in your meetings.
Here are some examples of what
an agenda and minutes might
look like for an SSCC meeting

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