1st Edition

Making Meetings Work The Art of Chairing

By Richard Hooper Copyright 2021
    104 Pages
    by Routledge

    104 Pages
    by Routledge

    This short, accessible book on the art of chairing is an indispensable guide to help Chairs and meetings (of all types) to work more effectively. There are millions of meetings every day in public and private organisations. A poor Chair can lead to unproductive meetings, weak outcomes, unclear actions and even major fallouts. Many types of meeting within business settings and beyond are covered in this short book – from regular meetings to company board meetings, conferences and senior level regulatory meetings. It covers both physical meetings and virtual chairing.

    Using a light-hearted approach and written by a globally recognised Chairperson of leading technology, media and communications businesses and regulatory bodies during times of great change, the book offers a practical, jargon-free approach that covers many types of meeting. It will be of use to Chairs in the business environment, the public sector at local, regional and national levels, and in many types of communities and gatherings. It is interspersed with anecdotes and examples that bring the text to life and give powerful stories that everyone can learn from. As a result, meetings of all sorts will be more productive, and, importantly, more fun. As a result, people will become better chairs.

    The book is a perfect quick reference tool for anyone currently involved in chairing meetings and is wanting to hone their skills, or anyone new to the art of chairing meetings and wants to get quickly up to speed.


    1. Chairing A Meeting

    2. Chairing Small Meetings

    3. Chairing Company Board Meetings: What Is The Board For?

    4. Chairing Company Board Meetings: How To Go About It

    5. The Right People: Diversity

    6. Chairing Board Committees & Agms

    7. Chairing Selection Panels

    8. Chairing Conferences & Summits & Dinners

    9. Virtual Chairing :The Future? The Next Normal?


    Richard Hooper has devoted his career to the technology, media and telecommunications sector. He was a founder of the Open University on the BBC side, developed with colleagues at British Telecom the forerunner to the internet – viewdata, and launched one of the first satellite television channels – Superchannel. He was founding deputy chair of the UK communications regulator Ofcom; chair of Informa plc; and he chaired two reviews for Labour and Conservative Governments on the Royal Mail and on copyright licensing.

    "Meetings are corporate ritual, a massive cost of time, talent and energy to any organisation. They are viral decay. This brilliant book explains how to stop viral decay, and stop it right now."

    Simon Jenkins 

    "Making Meetings Work – the Art of Chairing is an essential guide for those who wish to chair meetings where no one feels left out or their opinions unheard. Richard chairs meetings like a great maestro conducting an orchestra. At the forefront of his mind are integrity, fairness as well as diversity. I am proud to have sat at the same table as him".

    Baroness Floella Benjamin

    "A decade ago Richard Hooper gave me a report on the future of the Royal Mail for the government. It was one of the best ever written. A decade later he has done it again, this time about how to make meetings shorter, more effective, more productive, and more enjoyable. What it lacks in jargon and business speak is made up for by his entertaining personal experiences and graveyard humour: the table used by the PM to chair Cabinet  meetings in 10 Downing Street is, he is told by a civil servant, "coffin-shaped. Everyone can see everyone." There is even discussion of access to my "ministerial biscuit tin"! The book is bang up to date with a final chapter on lessons from the pandemic – how to chair meetings in the modern digital era where even the biscuits are virtual".

    Lord Peter Mandelson, Co-Founder and Chairman, Global Counsel

    "[I]nspired guidance for successful meetings - essential reading for any Chair - new or experienced."

    Stephanie Liston, Chair Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority

    "Richard’s book is simply excellent. It reflects the lifetime’s work and learning of one of the most accomplished Chairs I have known. He shares many of the secrets that allow for the bringing together of differing views around a table and shows how to create full support for a strategy and its implementation. I will be recommending it to all my clients."

    Stephen Bampfylde, Founder and Partner, Saxton-Bampfylde

    "Hooper's mix of perceptive advice, practical tips and deep personal experience, are a must read for anyone who wants to be In The Chair, rather than simply In The Room ... a well-written tome … a well-written read."

    Stephen Carter, CEO Informa plc

    "One thing in life that we always have is our experiences. Sharing those experiences with others, and the insights and learnings you make, is a gift. This book is one such gift. It contains a lifetime of chairing experiences of all shapes and sizes in a succinct delightful and practical read. Whether you are chairing a small family or team meeting, or a public sector or large global company board, this handbook is gold for anyone who wants to make meetings purposeful, effective and fun."

    Vanessa Oakley, Executive General Manager Strategy & Business Operations, Chorus New Zealand Limited