‘In the Chair’

“An excellent guide for those who perform that most underrated and important of roles: chairing a group” (Robert Peston)

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In the Chair (2014) is a practical and contemporary guide for anyone asked to chair any kind of group or meeting. What qualities and skills do you need? How should you approach your group and its members? How should you prepare for and conduct meetings? How do you arrive at decisions, and cope with difficult situations and people? A chapter is devoted to working with public and private Boards and Chief Executives, and another to particular kinds of meetings, like formal and public meetings, conferences, and bilingual and remote meetings.

The text is illustrated with cartoons by Juta Tirona, apt quotations and imaginary dialogues, and is followed by a full bibliography and index.


1 Does the chair fit?
2 Knowing your role
3 Planning the meeting
4 Conducting the meeting, 1: mechanics
5 Conducting the meeting, 2: dynamics
6 Chairs, Boards and Chief Executives
7 Special kinds of groups and meetings
8 Looking back and looking forward
Further reading

Andrew Green
In the chair: how to guide groups and manage meetings.
Cardigan: Parthian Books, 2014
xiv, 174p.
ISBN 979-1-909844-78-0

Available now from all good bookshops.  Also available as a e-book.

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A pragmatic and refreshingly jargon-free introduction to that most opaque of leadership roles, the Chair.  Green is a very readable writer; his lucid prose is leavened with wit and snippets of dialogue that offer brief and illuminating examples of good practice … highly recommended to anyone with thoughts of chairing public and third sector organisations in future’
Phil Morris, The Welsh Agenda, no. 53, Winter 2014/15

It is a compelling read as it examines the qualities and skills needed, relationships with others on the board or committee, how to prepare and conduct meetings and, most importantly of all, how to arrive at decisions …  A guide that can help both novice and experienced chairs to fulfil their potential.
Dylan Jones Evans, Western Mail, 15 November 2014

It has been written with a light touch – and the cartoons by Juta Tirona complement the text.  It should be bought immediately by any prospective Chair.  It is very inexpensive considering all the good sense that it contains and is available as an e-book.  Not only will the reader smile at many of the situations the author describes, but he/she will absorb a great deal of wisdom, and will become in turn a better Chair.
Elizabeth Melrose, CILIP Update, May 2015

As a trainee and consultant I’ve sampled a wide variety of meetings and committees and apart from two or three individuals those conducting these meetings would have benefitted enormously from reading and following Andrew Green’s advice.
Dr Donald Williams, Welsh Psychiatric Society Newsletter, 2015

Green is good in the two sections dealing with the mechanics and dynamics of conducting meetings.  He places great emphasis on thorough preparation, the value of background work and of taking up issues with individuals outside the meeting itself.  There are useful tips about how to steer a meeting through a period of turbulence and how to deal with the awkward committee member who starts up, ‘with great respect, Mr Chairman’, clearly bristling with a fight.
Dr Donald Williams, British Journal of Psychiatry Bulletin, 2016.

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