MAWPM REsponsibilities and Guidelines for Chairpersons

Please read MAWPM - Chairperson first to learn responsibilities of this service position.


This document was co-authored by a working group. If you have suggestions, please contact agenda-mawpm@ma-phone.org.

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Please note that the guidelines below apply only to the Marijuana Anonymous World Phone Meetings group (MAWPM, pronounced maw-pum) with a goal to apply to all of the meetings of the MAWPM group, but with the understanding that over time (for instance) the Friday night meeting will operate slightly different from Wednesday at noon. That is to say, for the MAWPM groups, what is listed below are suggested behaviors and guides for conducting MAWPM group meetings.


Trusted Servant

•      Please call in using the host code only when chairing a meeting.

•      Do not pass on the host code to anyone (or without verifying with the chairperson coordinator).

•      It is suggested that each chairperson build their own network of qualified chairpersons that they can call on for back up in case they are unable to chair a meeting they are scheduled for. Start with one or two but strive to build to at least ten.

•      Make an effort to attend GC meetings but if unable, read the minutes to stay current with business decisions/discussions.

•      The service commitment is for 6 months. You are welcome to continue longer, but we ask that this be the minimum. Please talk to the chairperson coordinator is this might be a problem. We are grateful for service.


Tips for chairing a meeting

·     Please strive to be on the line five minutes before the meeting starts. Every minute or two mention that the meeting is going to start at the top of the hour. You can also mention the topic and encourage people to volunteer for reading. This helps newcomers that only hear silence on the line. It also lets everyone know that the chair is there. This is also a good time to clear the lines with *5, as mentioned in the technical tips.

·     For the reading of the 12’s, (Questions, Steps, Promises, Traditions, Principles, Concepts for Service), generally at the start of a meeting, only read one or two. Save the others to fill in if no one is sharing for an extended length of time. Try to encourage the reading of the steps and the traditions.

·     If you are the chairperson of a topic discussion meeting, please come prepared with a topic and have MA approved literature in case the line is quiet and you need to do a reading. When fellows suggest a topic, do your best to frame it around recovery or link it to a step.

·     It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with all MA approved literature, including pamphlets, prayers and our publication, A New Leaf. These can be valuable sources of topic inspiration or things to read to the group if the line is silent for an uncomfortable length of time.

·     When asking for topics from the group, or when there is silence on the line, the chair may say, “Newcomers feel free to share on whatever is going on with your recovery today”.

·     If the sharing pauses, remind people of the topic, remind them to use *6,1 to enter the Queue. Feel free to let the pause linger for a bit before encouragement. If it is a small meeting with few participants, open to second shares or reading. It is a judgement call.

·     Please remember that there are many MAWPM meetings per week, thus when you chair, please try to give as much sharing time as possible to the other participants and save your sharing for another meeting, go last, or share if there is a long pause. Remember just a suggestion.

·     Please be sure to greet each person and respond to each share with a similar tone. Keep the newcomer in mind and the potential vulnerability to perceived exclusivity or favoritism.

·     After each person shares thank them and resist the urge to comment on their share. However, special situations call for brief consolation such as when a person mentions a death or something similarly traumatic, but keep it brief. The meeting guidelines of no crosstalk, giving advice or criticism applies equally to the chairperson as well as participants.

·     Adhere to the timing of shares requirements. This ensures that it is consistent and fair to all fellows (second shares can always be called for if the meeting is quiet). Be sure to require the one minute acknowledgement and be comfortable with giving a one minute notice. You can choose to say “one minute” or use a timer sound, or bell. Just be sure to mention and explain how you will give the time notice.

·     From time to time, the chair can use *2 to get a participant count that may be shared between shares. It is best to plan for the *2 and do it right when a person starts to share.

·     Note that as the chair of the meeting, you guide the meeting and are captain of the ship, thus can make a change at will, should the situation call for it. Situations like this might be:

       ·    A new person cross-talks inappropriately

       ·    A new person starts sharing when only a request for topic is asked for

·       Note, when the new person (or long-timer) is done sharing, consider if it is best to gently and kindly suggest the appropriate behavior as soon as they finish, or wait and attempt to mentor them after the meeting. If possible, as soon as possible, but gentleness and kindness supersede timing.

·       Sometimes you may need to remind people that when they are sharing, especially if they are using “speaker” mode on their phone, they need to not generate background noise. They can clean house or do the dishes when they are listening on mute, but when they share they must be still. Please let them know if you are having difficulty hearing them (because other fellows likely have the same issue). We want to be able to hear their share.

·       Consider contacting the chairperson coordinator if you need to discuss how to handle these situations.

·     Please allocate 15 minutes after the meeting. This is a suggestion and you can always hand off to someone else.

·     Remember that we have new people almost every day and these people are likely confused by Q&A mode, the muting procedure, the multiple phone groups, etc., so please be patient.


Technical (Q&A mode, Touch Tone Controls)

Phone meetings have many advantages such as giving a participant the freedom to attend a meeting while driving, exercising, and doing other tasks or chores. However, with this freedom and flexibility comes with challenges in the form of background noise.


Please be sure as chair, your phone is muted when you are not speaking. It is recommended that you use *6 to mute, but you can also use the mute on your phone . Just pay attention that you could be double-muted.

•      The Marijuana Anonymous World Phone Meetings (MAWPM) group manages the teleconference space with “Q&A” mode.

•      BE AWARE: In the past we have had some malcontents abusing our phone line so chairpersons should be familiar with “Q&A mode” and advance the cue if someone is vulgar or threatening the space of recovery.


Q&A mode:

In Q&A mode, all participant lines are muted, only the chair is unmuted.

•      *01 to enter Q&A mode

•      *02 to move through/advance to the next person in the queue

•      *03 to exit Q&A mode

•      Participants use *6 which is then followed by 1 to enter the queue to share. The system prompts are in the form of Question & Answers but for our purposes, it is really just “getting in line to share.” When pressing *6 to get in line, you next press the ‘1’ immediately to bypass the prompt so that you don’t miss any of the sharing.

•      If you want to be removed from the queue, press *6 followed by 1.

•      After each person in the queue shares, the host presses *02. This mutes the current person and un-mutes the next person in the queue. Only the chairperson and the current person are un-muted.

•      The chairperson must remember to un-mute their own line when the current person is finished to thank them and ask the next person to share.

•      The chairperson should frequently remind participants to press *61 to enter the queue if they want to share.


Mute Mode: When not in Q&A mode, it is best practice to mute all the lines using *5. The host needs to be aware that there are three “states” for *5. *5 (Star five) can be thought of like a three position switch on a table lamp where you must cycle through all three positions

•      *5 to first time mute all lines, callers use *6 individually unmute

•      second time will mute all lines and individual callers CANNOT unmute

•      third time will unmute all the lines

•      *6 mute / *6 un-mute for participants

•      It is a good idea to clear the line when you arrive at the meeting to ensure that it wasn’t left in mute mode from the previous meeting. When logged in as host in the five minutes prior to the meeting start, press *5 to ensure that either the lines are unmuted or that it is muted and callers can unmute themselves.

•      If you are closing the meeting with call and response and no one is responding please cycle through the positions of *5 as all participants may be muted and unable to mute.


These are suggestions. They are not written in stone. The goal is recovery for everyone, chairperson and participants both.