Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Chair Recognizes...What was your name again?

I am just back from chairing a management committee meeting of Nate's preschool. Remember how I told you that I was crowned queen of the committee, and will continue (I think) next year? My main responsibilities are to lead the meetings and help organize events. I am usually fine at these meetings but there are days like today, where I am pretty scatterbrained. And I kind of forget the precise way to go about chairing a meeting. So I have to fake it a little. If any of you find yourself in a similar position, here are a few tips to get you by:

1. At any lull in the meeting, say: "Someone to move and second?" Then look around expectantly. People will assume they've missed something important, and a couple of them will raise their hands to so move. Then you can move on to the next agenda item. This parliamentary stuff is super cool!

Suuure you do, buddy. Whatever.

2. When someone raises their hand to move or second, you may need to give their name to the secretary, who is busy taking notes and doesn't see. However, you just might not remember their name. But as Queen and Empress of the Committee, you really ought to. To avoid a sticky social situation and a failure in your duties, say in your best game show host voice, "So moved by the lovely lady in the bluuuue jacket!" Smile and gesture her way. Then, everyone chuckles and thinks that though, of course you know her name, you are merely trying to inject some humour into an otherwise humdrum meeting. It's called LEVITY, okay? And it's just saved your bacon, bucko.

3. As others are talking, nod and say, "Hmmm. That's interesting.", or "Great point." Kind of squint your eyes, like you are giving it lots of thought--but don't overdo the squinting or they'll ask you if a migraine is coming on.

4. When going over financial statements and spreadsheets, take your pen and circle random numbers. Make notes to yourself. Look at the last page, at the last number and raise your eyebrows. Nod, in a surprised and pleased sort of way. Ahhh, yes--much better than your own projections. How gratifying. Things are running quite smoothly under your tutelage.

No wonder they've asked me to carry on for next year, right? Motion carried, baby. Motion carried.


  1. I so feel your pain ! For my entire career, I was always getting into positions where I had to lead this group or that group. I became pretty good at throwing up a smoke screen to hide my ineptitude. I enjoy your recounting your experiences.

  2. Ah yes. It all sounds very familiar! I was the PTA president for a year and a half. Loved and hated it equally. Great post!

  3. Motion carried, Madam!

    You are like a walking Robert's Rules of Order.

    I especially like the tip about the number-circling. Advanced!

  4. This rules. I agree with Becky that the number circling is awesome. Circling numbers, knowing nods, appropriately squinted eyes, feigned surprise at what looks like meaningless info... they've probably never had a chair who rocks this much.