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Chair or chairperson

Guest Mary Grace Tavel

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What is the preferred term, "Chair" or "Chairperson"?

You should call the regular presiding officer by whatever title the bylaws bestow. If the person presiding doesn't have a title or the position is temporary the term Chair, Chairman, or Chairperson are equally acceptable (RONR pp. 22-23).

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What is the preferred term, "Chair" or "Chairperson"?

It's Mr. President, or Madame President.

See RONR Tenth Edition 2000, page 22:


The presi-

dent or chief officer of an organized society, who normally

presides at its meetings, is then addressed as “Mr. Presi-

dent” or “Madam President” (whether a married or un-

married woman), “Mr. [or Madam] Moderator,” or by

whatever may be his or her official title.


A vice-president is addressed as “Mr.

President” or “Madam President” while actually presiding.


A person

presiding at a meeting who has no regular title or whose

position is only temporary is addressed as “Mr. [or Madam]

Chairman” by long-established usage. Several variations of

this form--such as “chairperson” or “chair”--are now fre-

quently encountered, however, and may be in use as the

general practice in particular assemblies.


As a general rule,

when additional reference to the presiding officer is neces-

sary in connection with addressing him by his official title,

members speak of him as “the chair”--as in, “Mr. Presi-

dent, do I understand the chair to state ... ?”

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