Assigning key meeting roles

Most meetings need people playing four roles:

  1. Leader convenes the meeting
  2. Facilitator keeps discussion and decision-making process moving along
  3. Recorder takes notes on paper, laptop or on flip charts
  4. Timekeeper reminds leader when time is almost up for a given item

Make sure these roles are assigned prior to a meeting.


 Leader role

The leader convenes the meeting and takes responsibility for communication before and after. The leader may lead discussion on all items or may ask others, including a facilitator, to lead all or parts of the meeting. This enables the leader to be a full participant in discussions.


 Facilitator role

The facilitator keeps the discussion and decision-making process moving along. The facilitator takes responsibility for the process, but should not be involved in the content of the meeting. A facilitator is especially useful if the leaders holds a very strong opinion on an agenda item. Having a facilitator enables the leader to be a full participant.


Recorder role

The recorder takes notes on paper, laptop or on flip charts. Meeting notes should be distributed as soon after the meeting as possible. The longer the lag, the less confidence the members have that their investment will result in action. For groups that meet regularly, the recorder is responsible for keeping previous meeting notes and agendas in one place where they can be referenced later, such as through a shared network drive or a notebook, etc.


Timekeeper role

The timekeeper reminds leader when time almost up for a given item. A stop watch or small clock is invaluable.


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