Below are four most important activities needed to facilitate an efficient and effective meeting wrap up:
1-Review, 2-Next Steps, 3-Communications, and 4-Assessment.
None of the following should ever be skipped entirely, so expand and contract based on your situation and constraints.
Do not relive the meeting; simply review the outputs, decisions, assignments, etc. Focus on the results and deliverable of each agenda step and not on how you got there. Participants do not need a transcription, they need to be reminded about the takeaways, and be offered the opportunity to ask for additional information or clarification before the meeting ends.
There are various methods and treatments of open items and formal assignments, such as roles and responsibilities. For additional and detailed support see How to Transform Your Responsibility Matrix Into a GANTT Chart for help building a RASI matrix and How to Manage the Parking Lot and Wrap up Meetings for helping to manage the Parking Lot or Refrigerator. Once the next steps and assignments are clear, the meeting is nearly over.
Here you lead the participants to agree on what they will tell other stakeholders was accomplished during the meetings. It is a good idea if the participants sound as if they were in the same meeting, so take a few moments to homogenize the rhetoric and help them agree on what they will tell people who ask. Minimally consider two audiences, and record the bullets or sound bites for each, namely: their superiors and other stakeholders (eg, peers or customers). See How to Communicate Meeting and Workshop Results for detailed support.
Get feedback on how you did. Set up or mark a white board by the exit door and create two columns, typically PLUS and DELTA (ie, the Greek symbol ∆ or “change”) but also known as Benefits & Concerns and other cultural specific labels. Have each participant write down on a small Post-it® note, at least one thing they liked about the meeting (+) and one thing they would change (∆). Ask them to mount each note in its respective column as they exit. Again see How to Manage the Parking Lot and Wrap up Meetings for detailed support.
Effective leaders will not disband their meetings until participants have been offered a final opportunity to comment or question, action steps have been discussed, messaging has been agreed to, and feedback for continuous improvement has been solicited. Until next week, continue to fortify your skill set with tools and improvement suggestions available in many of our prior postings.
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