How to end a meeting: everything you need to know about it
Leading meetings is extremely difficult but super important. Wrapping up the meeting effectively is an important aspect that sometimes gets forgotten.
The truth is that most managers miss a vital skill in meetings: the ability to deliberately close a conversation. If you end a conversation well, it will make people feel good about the meeting and the work they must follow up on.
Therefore, as a meeting organizer, the way you decide to end your meeting is most probably going to influence how people will face the related work afterward. Here out some of our tips on how to close and end a meeting effectively.
How to end a meeting: 8 effective tips
1. End the meeting at the determined time
There’s nothing worse than people being late to their own meetings and making everyone wait and waste time. Also, work can’t be done, and goals cannot be met while waiting for others!
Spending more time than what’s needed, it’s one of the main causes of pointless and unproductive meetings. So, define a starting and ending time and follow it!
It can be helpful for you to set a timer towards the end of the meeting to acknowledge it’s coming to an end. This way, you can summarize the outcome of the meeting during the remaining time.
If you see that some people still have questions and doubts regarding what was discussed, encourage them to send you an e-mail or book another meeting for another time to get back to them. The point is, don’t let the meeting take longer time than necessary. It’s just wasteful.
2. Check on people from time to time
If you move between the different topics of conversation too quickly, people will either cycle back to the current topic later, or they’ll leave the meeting confused and unsure.
Questions like “Is there anything else someone wishes to say or ask before we change topics?”, or “Any doubts?” can and should be asked during the meeting. If you leave these questions to the end, probably none of the participants will ask anything.
Let the conversation open and make sure everyone is following and paying attention!
3. Agree on the next steps
This is one of the most important tips to lead a successful meeting.
For a meeting to be productive, the conversation must lead to action. Therefore, specific commitments must be made between the participants. The next steps and action items are the most important components of meetings, and many times get forgotten.
They’re an essential part of making sure that your meeting wasn’t just to exchange updates but to discuss new ideas, and solutions and make important decisions.
4. Set deadlines
After agreeing on the next steps with everyone, setting deadlines is crucial.
For nothing to get lost and forgotten, nail down specific deadlines for everyone, and then follow up often. Make sure you set realistic but strict timings for delivery to ensure progress.
5. Acknowledge who contributed
Making people feel valued is key to being a good manager. After or during your meeting, make sure you acknowledge people who made a positive contribution to the conversation and boost their self-esteem.
Try to, as much as possible, make others feel good about themselves and compliment them on their work and input, it’ll make people feel a lot more motivated.
Here are some things that you can say:
- “Great job on acting quickly and resolving this issue!”;
- “Thanks for stepping in and providing quick and beneficial answers for our client.”;
- “I’ve noticed you put in extra work for this, I appreciate it.”
- We’re sure that if your manager has ever told you that, you felt a lot better and encouraged afterward.
This is a great way to end a meeting. Everyone likes to be valued, it doesn’t matter if they’re your colleagues, employees, or manager.
6. End on a funny note
To spice things up and allow everyone to decompress, try ending your meeting in a funny or different way.
Whether it’s a game, a fun question, or a riddle for the next meeting, people will love it! Find lightweight and funny ways to end your meetings, especially if they were intense and people put a lot of work into them.
This is also an amazing way to get to know your team a lot better and make them feel more at ease.
7. End on a peaceful note
If you and your team aren’t so keen on playing games, you can try something a little different, more mellow.
Mindfulness and meditation practices have become a lot popular lately, especially in business. Taking a few minutes at the end of your meeting to come back to your breath or to practice some gratitude is a valuable use of time.
This will allow people to be calmer and more relaxed, ready to take on the rest of the day. Taking a moment to de-stress as a group will show that you prioritize your team’s well-being and will make the team feel closer to one another.
8. Ask attendees to rate your meeting and give feedback
This is gold! This can be a little risky, but it’ll show you how everyone feels and allow you to improve.
So, let your attendees rate your meeting! If you’re looking to see how much people are enjoying the meeting, and if you’re managing everything well, this is a perfect way to gain a clear understanding.
From there, you can more easily set ways in which you can improve. I’m sure your team members will feel a lot more valuable if you ask them for their opinion.
To sum up, there’s no right way to end a meeting. The key is trying to find what works better for you and your team so that everyone can stay motivated.
Ending each meeting on a positive note is extremely important to bring your team closer together, especially nowadays. Since most of our meetings are online and many times you don’t even get to know your team in person, making meetings more fun and interactive is key to making them feel closer to each other.
If people feel good about their team and feel like they belong, it’ll allow them to deliver better work and stay more motivated. Meetings will not only be used to discuss work and solve problems but also to better get to know your team and make deeper connections with colleagues.
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