A Closing to Hook the Crowd in at a Meeting
Often meetings just fade away at the end. People start leaving and there isn't a clear wrap up. A strong closing is as necessary as the strong opening that we outlined in the last two articles.
Although the group's task is the main reason for meeting, think of the opening and the closing as the bread that holds together all the messy ingredients of a big sandwich. It would be hard to eat what's inside without the bread's structure.
The first two parts of a good closing are 1) a review of what has been accomplished and 2) an agreement on the next steps.
Since each participant in a meeting is focusing on the points that are most important to him, it is very easy for different people to have completely different understandings of what has been agreed to. Therefore, at the end of the meeting you need to review the conclusions or agreements of the session. For example, "We agreed that changing the school schedule to larger blocks of class time is a good idea, but we want to see a written plan of how it will work before we go forward." When you have described the basic agreements of the meeting, check to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Next, identify the steps that need to be taken before the next meeting and who will take responsibility for each step and by when it will be accomplished. For example, "Develop a model schedule for larger class blocks" might be a step. Ask who is willing to do the model, and then ask that volunteer what would be a reasonable time frame for completing it.
Clarity on agreements, next steps, and assignments will go a long way to getting results and action.
For more information about developing a solid meeting closing that leads to great results, order your copy of Great Meetings! Great Results today.
NEXT WEEK IN GREAT MEETINGS: Completing a good closing.