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Woodinville, WA
Defining Scope of And Effectively Running A Meeting
March 21, 2009
Part 5 - Closing the Meeting
S
tep 1: Checks and Balances Five Minutes before the closing bell!
We setup the meeting, did the homework, brought people together, and discussing the issues. The meeting is going on in some direction - whether planned or unplanned direction. Regardless of how the meeting is going, keep an eye on the clock and quietly cross-check with the agenda to assess the progress we are making.
Five to ten minutes before the allocated time ends, start looking for a logical end point (or a pause) for the current discussion. Grab that moment to announce that we are reaching the end of the allocated time and we must wrap up. If we reached the goal, this wrap up is easy. If we did not, it could be a little different. Regardless, recap of what was discussed in the meeting - key points, key action items, decisions made, any required escalations discussed, follow up, next steps etc. All open items must have owners and a due date to bring them to closure clearly specified. With that summary, wrap up the meeting and close.
If you have not reached the pre-determined goal for the meeting by closing bell, or you need to extend the meeting (require more time and/or discussion to reach the pre-determined goal), state that fact and seek approvals from the participants (to either extend the meeting or to schedule a follow up meeting, in case an extension of the current timeslot is not feasible). If key attendees have other engagements and cannot stay on, or if some groundwork must be completed outside the meeting before the goal can be reached, state that you will be scheduling a follow up meeting to achieve the goal. Be clear on timeframe by when the follow up meeting will be scheduled.
Close the meeting and move on with the follow ups, next steps and other action items.
Summary:
  • Gut Check the meeting goal 5 to 10 minutes prior to ending
  • Summarize the discussion, where we landed, and where we are heading next (Recap)
  • Clearly articulate any follow up meetings and/or next steps, provide specific timelines for the follow up meetings
  • Close the Meeting