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Meetings and presentations

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To blossom as a leader, you must communicate well. Meetings are important and an essential part of clinical practice as well as for management roles. They provide a forum for discussion and decision-making, for planning and monitoring organisational change.

Unfocused and unproductive meetings are a waste of everyone's time. Formal discussions require focus and direction to prevent them from becoming social 'chit chat' or being dominated by discord and disagreement.

However, open debate requires stewardship to enable all views to be heard and conclusions based upon reasoned argument, consensus or compromise. This is the role of the chairperson or chair.

Chairing provides and excellent opportunity for developing communication and leadership skills. The characteristics for effective chairing are: clear leadership; focusing and balancing debates; ensuring a decision is reached; building a sense of team working; and saving time and energy.

Effective preparation
Chairs have to be very well prepared to be effective. It is imperative that they know the issues and topics for discussion, including their background. Good chairs will get to know other members of the group, to understand their personalities and to identify who helps and who hinders their role.

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