Dear Meeting Guru,

"How can I end meetings effectively"?

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Blessed Meeter,

Ending a meeting may seem like an easy task – you simply thank everyone for coming and go back to your desk, right? But judging by your question, I can tell that you know this isn't the case. In fact, how you end your meeting can be almost as important as the content of the meeting itself.

A meeting isn't over just because you've made a decision or the presenter finishes his slide show. Several actions should be taken to ensure that the time and effort people have put in to the meeting have been worthwhile. So before signaling that attendees can leave, here are a few steps to take:

Always allot 5 to 10 minutes for questions or discussion. This allows people to ensure they understood the purpose and content of the meeting. If it's a recurring meeting, you can also use this time to request topic suggestions for the next meeting.
Record any decisions made to ensure that everyone agrees. People lose their personal notes or forget what was said, so recorded notes could serve as backup later.
Review all assigned tasks and their deadlines
Thank everyone for attending and encourage them to contact you if they have questions after the meeting

As the wise philosopher Confucius once said, "Men's natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them." In other words, anyone can simply let a meeting end, but if you take the initiative to end your meetings right, you'll find they are more successful and effective.

Until next time… may good meeting karma always be with you.



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