Completing a Good Closing
After you have reviewed the meeting agreements and set the next steps as discussed in the previous article, A Meeting Closing that Leads to Action, be sure to take time to thank the group for its hard work and to appreciate all that it has accomplished.
Look at the desired outcomes that you set at the beginning of the meeting to see if you have accomplished them all or if some have been deferred to another time. Sometimes groups don't notice how much progress they are making.
Similarly, it is worth doing a quick evaluation of the meeting itself. Ask: What worked well in the meeting? What would people like to change or do differently? Welcome comments on the process, the logistics, anything about how the meeting went, but not on the content of the meeting. People may suggest that they like working in small groups and they were glad that everyone spoke up. Or they may say that they would like a bigger room or to have coffee available or to get the material further in advance. When you pose this question, you are looking for responses that will make the next meeting better.
Collect the ideas on the flipchart in two columns, one column for what worked and one for what to change. That information will serve as a guide for improving the next meeting.
For most meetings reviewing the agreements, setting the next steps, and evaluating the meeting is all you need to wrap up a session. However, if you have a committee or task force that has worked long and hard on a challenging project and has forged strong relationships from working together, it might be difficult for the group members to walk away without some personal closure. You might plan to build in time for a social moment so people can say goodbye to one another and celebrate the project. The group members might feel the effort has been incomplete without that opportunity to close the meeting.
For more information about completing a good closing, order your copy of Great Meetings! Great Results today.
NEXT WEEK IN GREAT MEETINGS: Focus on the "meat" of the meeting.