When you close your meeting, summarize the actions that have been agreed upon. If possible, agree on a next date right then and there. Thank everyone. In addition, this video also explores what to do if you're running out of time and extras are brought up at the end.
- At the end of the meeting, there are four things to be done. First is to deal with any other business. This is usually added at the bottom of agendas, the idea being to keep extra stuff til the end so the main meeting doesn't get hijacked by new things coming up. And I agree, certainly it's better to keep anything that's not on the agenda until the end. But the more difficult question is whether to let any other business in at all. There is a school of thought that anything unplanned should be kept until the next meeting, because otherwise, why wasn't it raised beforehand to put on the agenda properly? And if you finish early, then you finish early.
You don't use up any spare time on random additional stuff. Also, there is a risk that uncontrolled extra items could make the meeting end raggedly or even negatively, and it's the final item that gets remembered. I'm not sure about this, though. I think if people have allocated the time already, then you may as well use it while everyone's there. As long as the other business items are relevant and have genuinely cropped up during the discussions, or have arisen since the agenda was sent a few days before, then why not deal with them? So you would finish the main agenda, and then decide how many additional items you can cover in the time remaining, 'cause the meeting must not go over time, whatever happens.
Everyone agrees what we'll discuss in the remaining time, and then do it. At the very least, you can have a quick look at some of the extra items and decide whether they're worth adding to the agenda for the next meeting. So that's any other business. Once that's done, the next job is to summarize what's been achieved, which really means summarize what actions have been agreed and confirm who's doing what. Although it takes a bit of time and people might be keen to go, I think it's really worth spending a few minutes at the end of a meeting repeating each of the actions that you've already agreed.
It only takes a moment to say, "Okay, let's just very quickly sum up what we've achieved," and then quickly read through the actions. "Dave, you're going to see the customer "and tell him the project's running late. "Sabrina, you're going to investigate that technology problem. "Tony, you're going to go through the files "and check for anything we've missed. "Is everyone okay with that?" It's a final confirmation that they've promised to do those things, and that if they don't, they will be held to account. But also it's good for team spirit. We're all doing our bit, everyone is taking on something, and mustn't let the others down.
Then the third job is to get a date agreed for the next meeting, which might take a bit of time with everyone's calendars on their phones, et cetera, but it's worth doing. Often, you're in a hurry to get away, and the setting of the next date is left to be done after the meeting. But this is much more work, and you should avoid agreeing to that if you possibly can. Get the next date agreed there and then, if possible. And if someone hasn't brought their diary or doesn't have online access to their calendar, then put pressure on them to at least bring it next time, please.
Finally, as people are leaving, remember to thank them for their time or their ideas, their energy, or their patience, or for agreeing to do the actions that they're taking on. Thanking is free, and it really does make a difference. So as always, I'd like you to take a moment to think, "Do I do the above? "Do I have a policy on any other business? "Do I summarize the actions? "Do I get the next date agreed? "And do I thank people?" And if not, please do make a note to try it at the next meeting.
- Setting up meetings
- Determining who needs to attend a meeting
- Choosing your meeting duration
- Providing reminders for successful meetings
- Facilitating a successful meeting
- Getting the best out of people
- Dealing with latecomers and common meeting problems
- Deciding if you should go to a meeting
- Making your voice heard
- Managing remote or virtual meetings