July 29, 2015   by

Have a large Chama? Here’s how to manage the meetings

Sometimes your Chama may grow into something very big.  That’s a good thing, right? The answer is yes and no.  Sometimes when the group is too big, it can bring with it headaches.  But, you can still manage a large Chama easily with the right attitude and reap the rewards of more resources to invest.    A good Chama leader must know how to manage large groups of people. If your Chama has grown large. Here are some ideas to help you manage it smoothly – especially during meetings.


Schedule regular meetings

Technology makes it possible to set up meetings, no matter where Chama members are located. Everyone should prepare for these meetings and be ready to provide updates and suggest Chama project improvements.

Step back and assess

Set up a schedule to objectively assess the quality of work your Chama generates. Is there sufficient communication between all parties? Are processes running smoothly? What functions need to be adjusted to improve efficiency?  A large or remote team can be effectively managed when lines of communication stay open and team members understand what’s expected of them.

Play the role of a facilitator

As the leader, your role in handling a large group of people during meetings is more of a facilitator. You should be able to present the aim and purpose of the meeting to all and define the course of the proceedings so that everything moves in an organized manner. In some situations, you may require dividing the large Chama into a few subgroups. You may appoint a head for each subgroup for a more effective outcome. In other situations, there may be a group leader who will chair the proceedings, in case the Chama founder herself is not the chairperson for the occasion.  The facilitator is not merely a speaker or a mediator in a group. Her primary job is to ensure that every participant gets the adequate opportunity to contribute and that the desired goals of the meeting are achieved individually as well as collectively. The group must remain within the defined parameters of time and focused agenda of the meeting and it must continue to move in the desired direction.

Use specific tools

One of the smart ideas about how to manage large groups of people effectively is to use specific tools that involve people’s participation rather than letting them remain mute spectators to the proceedings. One of the common tools a Chama leader will use is “Go Round” in which every member gets a chance to speak or contribute one by one. Brainstorming sessions may have to be avoided in large Chamas because they can turn chaotic and the situation may spiral out of control. Energizers or group games can be introduced when it seems that the group is losing track or feeling tired or bored. Games can also serve as icebreakers when it is important to familiarize people and make them comfortable with each other.

Audio-Visual Aids are good

In a large Chama, it is important that communication must be aided effectively to ensure that the message reaches out clearly to every individual present in the group. Whiteboards are a common aid for discussions in large groups. Electronic presentations can also be used to help in easier communication. This is particularly important when the issues under discussion are complicated in nature.

But this is are only a few methods that can be applied, we shall tackle more in the upcoming series.

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