Over the years, Alcoholics Anonymous has devised effective measures for conducting orderly meetings that deal with the needs of its members. Responsibility for maintaing this order advancing the gathering's agenda largely rests with the chairperson. Here's how to successfully chair an AA meeting.
- Skill level:
Prepare for the AA meeting by studying the topic, if there is one set. Make sure everyone in the group understands the topic. Prepare some words to open the discussion and provide a context for it. A chair can set the tone for the meeting and steer it towards some enlightened sharing.
Think of a topic before you get to the meeting if the group has not provided you with one. At many open meetings, the chair will call for a topic. If no one suggests a topic, the chair should use one of the numerous AA topic suggestions for the discussion.
Follow the format of the group. Each Alcoholics Anonymous group has decided how it wants the meeting run and provides a written format to the chair. Respect those wishes and do not deviate.
Pass out the various readings before the meeting starts.
Ask for volunteers to share once all the preliminary steps have been taken, as prescribed on the format. If no one volunteers, either call someone by name to speak or choose a person by pointing and perhaps referring to whatever color shirt the person is wearing.
Close the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on time; follow the schedule in the format.
Tips and warnings
- Interrupt a speaker who is talking too long by thanking him or her and offering to continue talking after the meeting is over.
- Interrupt any speaker who is drunk.
- Interrupt a speaker who is talking about inappropriate topics such as explicit sex and drug use or using formal names of people and institutions.