Chairing meetings skills for Elected Members

Overview

Elected Members are very much in the public eye when they chair meetings. Their role is crucial to the democratic process and they need to be seen to be acting with complete propriety and in accordance with all relevant protocols whenever they are consulting the public or engaged in democratic decision-making. They also need to bear in mind that they represent the Council as well and that their actions and behaviour can affect the Council’s reputation and ‘brand’.

This half-day training workshop has been designed to provide Elected Members who chair meetings with an in-depth knowledge of the protocols and behaviours needed to ensure that meetings are managed not only effectively but also in full accordance with the expectations and requirements of all the various stakeholders.

Training objectives

By the end of the workshop participants will:
  • Understand the role, responsibilities and expected behaviour of a chair and how this fits with Council protocols
  • Understand the importance of representing the council brand and its reputation
  • Appreciate how to manage themselves and others appropriately
  • Understand the importance of preparing for a meeting
  • Know how to present information appropriately
  • Have an action plan to take back and use in their role

Audience

Elected Members of Councils who chair meetings.

Format

An interactive half-day workshop that balances input with participant discussion and activities. Time is set aside to review learning and identify actions. Attention will also be paid to current Council protocols and how they influence meeting conduct and approach. Exercises and plans produced will relate to real life meetings and groups that are chaired by delegates.

The expert trainer

Amanda is a qualified and experienced learning and development practitioner who specialises in coaching and training groups and teams in the public sector. She has professional qualifications in training, organisational development, HR and coaching and mentoring skills. She is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Licentiate Fellow of the Institute for Training and Occupational Learning. She runs a small training and coaching business based in Buckinghamshire and prior to this co-owned a company that delivered training contracts to local and central government.

Amanda has a background of senior and leadership roles in the public and not for profit sectors, including an Assistant Directorship for a national charity with responsibility for strategic and operational training and capacity building programmes. While working for an Inner London Borough in a senior corporate role Amanda worked with elected members directly and also delivered regular training for elected members on chairing public meetings.

Amanda delivers courses on working in a political environment for local authorities, most recently for Essex County Council and Central Bedfordshire Council. Her portfolio also extends to helping people gain skills and knowledge in a wide variety of soft skills including presentation skills, credible communication, personal effectiveness, assertiveness, managing meetings, chairing and committee skills, facilitation skills, managing time, inter alia. Amanda’s style is characterised by maximising participation and using creative and interactive approaches to the learning experience, keeping participants engaged and enthused, making learning enjoyable and practical. She makes sure all learning styles are catered for and that time is given to reflection and action planning, so that learning is transferred back into the work place and participants can apply their new knowledge and skills in practice.

Workshop outline

1   Introduction
  • Overview
  • Introductions and personal learning aims
2   The role and responsibilities of an effective chair
  • The roles and responsibilities of a chair
  • Methods for creating a meeting environment conducive to maximum participation
    – What makes a good chair?
    – How to start a meeting
    – How to create a conducive environment
  • Summary of the role of a chair and how it aligns with Council protocol
3   Meetings behaviours and the council ‘brand’
  • Group task: Behaviours that are appropriate to meetings
  • The behaviours and what they looks like in practice
    – Implications of good meeting behaviour and best practice
    – The need for self-awareness and self-management
  • Upholding the Council brand – why it is important to uphold the Council’s reputation and what the implications are for not doing so
4   Meetings – the challenges
  • Group tasks – the different kinds of meetings that are chaired and the challenges presented
  • Evaluating meeting effectiveness, how challenges are dealt with and ways to manage the issues presented
  • OPTION – If you choose to supply case studies/scenarios, at this point participants can work through them
  • Presenting appropriately
    – What is involved and what currently gets in the way
    – Personal effectiveness
5   Preparing for a meeting
  • The benefits of preparation
  • Drawing up meeting plans
  • Opening and closing
  • Timings
  • Prioritising and planning
  • Allowing for the ‘unexpected’
6   Review and action plans
  • Personal and group review
  • Evaluation and action planning

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