Is she human?
He doesn’t even smile. Like that was funny and he didn’t even crack a little!
They must be like debate jedis. They’re all-knowing. They see everything. Is he looking at me? OMG, I must be doing something wrong.
Being new to a conference and trying to relate to your chair can be difficult. They can look cold, steely, and unapproachable, despite their young age. We get it, and we’ve been there too, so we’ve put together a guide to help you out.
- Be an active listener.
Chairs hate it when they feel like they don’t have your full attention, especially when they’re talking to a large group of people. Remember, they’re supposedly in charge, so it hurts their egos when you don’t help maintain that illusion. Instead of worrying about what you’re going to say next, during your opening speech or debate, pay attention and listen to what he/she says. Good listening skills help you understand and anticipate your chairs needs, which in turn will make them appreciate you more. Have a notepad handy when your chairs gives you directions. Doing so will enable you to retain more of what they say.
- It’s Always the Chair’s Fault (Under-communication)
Wanna know why your chair is having a break down? They’re suffering from under-communication. Some chairs believe that the delegates already know more than they do, or they believe that there is certain information that the delegates don’t need to, or don’t want to, know. This is what the chair believes, but as a delegate it is your duty to ask them these little questions. Psychologists call this tendency assumption, but for our purposes, we’re just going to call it read-my-mind syndrome. You just can’t read minds, and that’s not your fault. It’s theirs.
- Sop wasting unnecessary time.
Let’s get this straight–your chair has more responsibilities than you. That’s life, and you know what that means? That means their time is valuable. Pay attention to their schedule and don’t try to communicate when they are under a deadline, or are dealing with something urgent. You know how annoying it can be when you get stressed and someone wants something from you? This is the chair’s life. All the time. If what you have to say is critical to the GA, be succinct and to the point. If you want to discuss your resolution objectives, something that’s on your mind, or need help, ask them to talk to you privately when they aren’t so busy. The last thing you want to do is hover while they feel like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. Just ask and then go away, and become one less thing they have to worry about.
Here’s what it comes down to: your chair has a tremendous amount of influence over the entire assembly. They can make the committee exciting and something to look forward to, or they can make it something you dread being apart of. In order to thrive and not just survive in your committee, keep these in mind the next time you find yourself wondering if your chair is actually human.
This story was first run in QMUNITY, Issue 2, January 29th, 2016