I’ve spent a lot a time lately thinking about how to improve my abilities as a meeting chair and facilitator of boardroom-style discussions. I have had some great discussions with trusted colleagues and mentors, thank you to everyone who’s given me their time and thoughts. I’ve also been reading some interesting sources:How to Be a Better Meeting Chairman – It might be an older article, but the advice is as relevant as ever. Harvard Business Review, 1969, Limited Number of Articles Available Free with Login. Making Things Happen – Focused on project management, but with a lot of insights into modern organisations (author Scott Berkun has extensive experience at Microsoft). Book available widely, list price $39.99. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Unfairly teased as a self help book, it’s amazingly relevant and practical. A classic text which I enjoyed as an audio book, and the voice of Andrew MacMillan was fabulous. My recent experiences have really put me to the test, including chairing my first meeting as the SIGCHI VP for Publications and chairing a discussion at the ACM Publications Board on the Policy for Name Changes in the Digital Library.
The former was challenging because ACM publications are currently undergoing significant changes, and organising a productive meeting on this topic and establishing an infrastructure to ease these changes has not been trivial. The latter was challenging because there are competing needs on this issue, and I knew that there would be passionately opposed viewpoints around the table. I found facilitating this discussion was also challenging because of my own strong opinions (in favour of a liberal name change policy) and my position as a comparatively junior member of the board.