How to chair a meeting.

A good chairperson has to be a good organizer. Before the meeting begins they should make sure the agenda is complete by asking people involved what should be on it and then circulating it to everyone concerned. They should check the venue, making sure the room will be free, without interruptions, until the end of the meeting.
During the meeting the chairperson should be a good timekeeper. They should start the meeting on time, without waiting for latecomers. They should appoint a minute-taker to take the minutes, making sure that opinions and action points are noted. They should make sure each point on the agenda is allocated the time it deserves and should keep to the timetable, When the time allocated to one point is up, the chair should make sure that discussion moves to the next point, even if the issue has not been completely resolved. The chair should make sure that each participant has the chance to make their point, and should deal tactfully with disagreements, making sure that each side feels their point of view has been noted. They should also try to avoid digressions, where people get off the point.
Finally, they should ensure that the meeting finishes on time, or earlier.


Exercise 1

Find in the text words which mean:

1. porządek obrad
2. udostępnić
3. miejsce (spotkania)
4. spóźnialski
5. protokół
6. rozkład, plan
7. uczestnik
8. różnica zdań


Exercise 2

Complete the collocations with the correct verb from the box:

appoint / avoid / check / circulate / deal / finish / get / keep / make / move / start

1. to ______________ the agenda
2. to ______________ the venue
3. to ______________ on time
4. to ______________ a minute-taker
5. to ______________ to the timetable
6. to ______________ to the next point
7. to ______________ your point
8. to ______________ with disagreements
9. to ______________ digressions
10. to ______________ off the point

I know English idioms:

In this lesson we have learned the expression get off the point. This phrase is an idiomatic expression which means something like “zboczyć z tematu”. There is an opposite expression too: stick to the point, which would then mean “trzymać się tematu”.
Do you stick to the point or rather get off the point when speaking in a group of people?


Grammar corner…


This lesson’s reading text contains a lot of advice – useful information for chairpersons. One of the ways to express advice is to use the modal verb “should”.
Let’s study these few examples:

  • Before the meeting begins they should make sure the agenda is complete…
  • They should check the venue…
  • During the meeting the chairperson should be a good timekeeper.
  • They should start the meeting on time, without waiting for latecomers.


These are just some pieces of advice from our text, all expressed with “should”. It’s easy to understand the meaning of this verb – it expresses what we call in Polish “powinność”.
The negative form of should is should not or shouldn’t.


Exercise 3

Say what the people should or shouldn’t do, choosing suggestions from the list:

go away for a few days / go to bed so late / look for another job /put some pictures on the walls / take a photograph / use her car so much

1. Liz needs a change. She _________________________________________________ .
2. My salary is very low. I __________________________________________________ .
3. Jack always has difficulty getting up. He ____________________________________ .
4. What a beautiful view! You ______________________________________________ .
5. Sue never walks. She ___________________________________________________ .
6. Bill’s room isn’t very interesting. He _______________________________________ .



to chair – przewodniczyć
meeting – spotkanie, zebranie
chairperson – przewodniczący (zebrania)
organizer – organizator
to make sure – upewnić się, zadbać o
agenda – porządek obrad
complete – pełny, kompletny
involved – zaangażowany
to circulate – udostępnić, rozdystrybuować
concerned – kogo coś dotyczy
to check – sprawdzić
venue – miejsce
interruption – przerywanie, przeszkadzanie
timekeeper – pilnujący czasu
latecomer – spóźnialski
to appoint – wyznaczyć
minute-taker – protokolant
the minutes – protokół
action point – zadanie do wykonania
to note – odnotować
to allocate – przyznać, przeznaczyć
to deserve – zasługiwać
to keep to – trzymać się, pozostawać przy
timetable – rozkład, plan
issue – kwestia, problem
resolved – rozwiązany, rozstrzygnięty
participant – uczestnik
to make one’s point – wypowiedzieć się
to deal with – obchodzić się
tactfully – taktownie
disagreement – niezgoda, różnica zdań
side – strona
point of view – punkt widzenia
to avoid – unikać
digression – dygresja
to get off the point – zbaczać z tematu
to ensure – zapewnić


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1. agenda
2. circulate
3. venue
4. latecomer
5. the minutes
6. timetable
7. participant
8. disagreement

Ex. 2
1. to circulate the agenda
2. to check the venue
3. to start/finish on time
4. to appoint a minute-taker
5. to keep to the timetable
6. to move to the next point
7. to make your point
8. to deal with disagreements
9. to avoid digressions
10. to get off the point

Ex. 3
1. She should go away for a few days.
2. I should look for another job.
3. He shouldn’t go to bed so late.
4. You should take a photograph.
5. She shouldn’t use her car so much.
6. He should put some pictures on the walls.