Different Strokes for Different Folks

50 minutes Online activity
Different Strokes for Different Folks
Learning Outcomes

Identify and analyse the impact of assigning different roles within a group.


Online meetings are more difficult to manage and that’s why it’s a good idea to assign roles and functions. Role assignment makes participants more committed and encourages them to take part. 

The co-ordinator of the group has to assign a role to each member of the group, or, in some cases, only to some of the members. The nature of the roles and their number depends on the needs of the team leader. Prior to the commencement of the meeting each member receives an individual explanation of their role and its purpose. 

The following is a list of possible roles that can be assigned to group members: 

  • Questioner: the person who plays this role has to ask questions that oblige people to explain themselves more fully; the aim of the questions must be to clarify what is being explained. 
  • Encourager: the team member who has this role will attempt to come up with new ideas and suggestions and inspire their teammates to do the same. 
  • Helmsman: when the group drifts away from the matter at hand during the meeting the role of the helmsman is to steer members back to the task at hand. 
  • Photographer: the role of photographer adds an element of entertainment to the activity. The person assigned this role will look for opportunities to take photos during the meeting. Before taking one, he must ask the subjects’ permission. 
  • The scribe: all this person has to do is note down the matters that arise during the meeting and subsequently draft the minutes and distribute them.
Ideas For Reflection

Questions for discussion:

  • How did people perform their roles?
  • What role would you prefer next time and why?