Meetings are conversations. All good managers know that meetings are never monologues. Instead, they are a chance to set business direction and clarify issues. Meetings are an opportunity to move forward and set goals.
To make the most out of meetings, managers must actively work on the “meeting flow.” In other words, meeting agenda should be thought through before it starts.
But meetings are never simple. A lot of things that people say or suggest during a meeting disappear right afterwards. This is a shame because the whole point of meetings is to go forward. Unfortunately, you can’t go forward if you forget 50% of what’s been said during the meeting . That’s why a quick wrap-up after the meeting is crucial.
How you end a meeting impacts how you will accomplish the key points from the meeting. Follow these 5 key steps to end meetings like a professional.
- Acknowledge what is already accomplished
Appreciating what your team has already done is very important. During a meeting, people say a lot of good things. They give ideas and share experiences with the group. But this is not easy for all team members. Acknowledge the value created during the meeting and recognise the team members who were involved. This will keep them encouraged during the following meetings too.
- Set the following steps clearly
Recap what was decided during the meeting. Choose people accountable for the next steps and how they will be communicated. Make sure everyone understands what was agreed upon in order to minimise the chance of re-opening the issues.
- Ask if there are any questions
Before ending the meeting or moving to the next topic, make sure everyone is on the same page with you. You don’t want people to leave the meeting unclear. Always ask if there is anything someone needs to ask or say before you end a meeting. It is always better to resolve uncertainties before you set new goals.
- Check if everyone agrees with the decisions
If you see that someone doesn’t agree with new decisions, you should ask that person what it would take to get them on board. People prefer to agree with the group. If they don’t, there must be a reason. As a manager, you should get to the root of that reason and solve it.
Sometimes it takes only 5 minutes to resolve an issue that can later make bigger problems if left unresolved.
- Summarise key points
This is maybe the most important part. Imagine an employee comes two days after the meeting and asks “What was the meeting about?” What would other employees say? If they don’t know what to say, it’s probably your fault. That’s why you should develop communication points before you wrap up.
Write the key points on a whiteboard or make a chart.
Summarise the meeting briefly in a way your team will be able to remember.
If possible, send an email with the key points from the meeting to everyone.
And remember, keep it short and sweet so nobody loses interest in what you have to say.