Abrupt endings, or meetings that run over and don’t get finished can make for frustration, confusion and quite possibly end in a lot of re-work the next time you meet. Or worse. It could mean that the meeting was perceived as a total waste of time.
So it’s not only important to run your meeting well, but also to end it well. Here are some tips for making sure your meeting met your objectives, added value, and the next steps and follow-up are clear.
Good meeting, everyone!
Include in your agenda time at the end for the meeting to wrap up. If the meeting isn’t finished, then make an announcement to adjust the agenda to table what didn’t get done (write it down) and then take the necessary time to end the meeting well by doing the following:
1. Start by announcing how many minutes you have before the end of the meeting.
For an hour long meeting, I suggest you start the wrap up 15 minutes before the end time. Longer meetings may need more wrap up time. Signal that the meeting is over – another may be scheduled if needed, but it is time to wind down.
2. Discuss what the most important things that were accomplished in the time you had.
Capture and summarize key points on a flip chart or whiteboard. Discuss next steps so that items aren’t lost. Discuss next steps – do you need another meeting? Is someone going to report back.
2. Make a list of decisions that were made.
Go back over the agenda items and review what was agreed to and what decisions were made. And easy way to do this is to make a list on a white board, flip chart or computer. Use the headings:
- Decisions – list anything that was agreed on and any key decisions that were made
- Action Items – list items that need follow-up and who is responsible for next steps
- Communication – list who is responsible, and when and how communication about decisions wil be shared with the rest of the group and interested parties. Who needs to know and by when?
3. Thank everyone.
Don’t miss this step. Taking time to appreciate contributions and accomplishments is often overlooked, but very important. It sets the tone for next meeting and shows participants you notice their hard work!
Setting aside time for ending your meeting well will be time well spent. You’ll improve productivitiy and eliminate any ambiguity or confusion about what was accomplished and what happens next.
Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation. She is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home, 52 Communication Tips, and Gladie’s Gift. All are available on Amazon.com. To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website: www.cornerstone-ct.com
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