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Chairing a discussion/dinner event

(6 Posts)
SanneSannes Tue 04-Oct-16 08:47:51

I have been asked to chair a discussion over dinner and have actually never done this before! There will be a guest speaker, what can I do to make this a great evening and success? Or do I only need to introduce the guest speaker? How do I get the guests' attention at the start? I am having this image in my head that they will all be chatting and noone will pay attention to me when I try to make the introduction!

stealthsquiggle Tue 04-Oct-16 08:55:09

I have attended/been a speaker at a couple of these. A good chair (IMHO) will allow the general chat to develop, then ping a glass to get attention and introduce the speaker. Afterwards the role is to facilitate discussion, so maybe ask a first question to get things going, chuck the conversational ball back into the centre when it goes astray.

I would say the main thing is to be clear with the organisers how they want to interleave the content and the food - where are the "pauses" for discussion built in - and make sure whoever is serving has the same understanding (maybe agree signals for when the next course should be served, if appropriate?)

gettingtherequickly Tue 04-Oct-16 08:57:50

Great advice from stealth, and when getting back on track try not to use the phrase "so xxxx what do you think of that?" more than once, it gets a bit cringy.

stealthsquiggle Tue 04-Oct-16 15:55:54

Agreed. Much better if you can make it specific. "So, X, you mentioned earlier that ...... was a challenge for you. How do you think that would be affected by the ideas Y has talked about?" Still a open question, but less annoying cliched.

MrsWobble3 Tue 04-Oct-16 16:00:32

You've probably already got this covered but a phone call with the speaker in advance means you can agree the intro and know the focus of their presentation and what they want to get out of it as well as minimising the risk of logistical mishaps on the day.

SanneSannes Wed 05-Oct-16 08:18:23

Really great advice, many thanks! Anyone out there with any more Dos and Don'ts - please let me know!

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