Hopefully, you have read and followed the suggestions in this blog about holding effective meetings. We have offered ideas about agendas, meeting duration, and other ideas to help you get the most from your time together. Today, we want to look at how to end your meetings.
The last thing we do in meetings we facilitate is prepare the agenda for the next meeting. We believe there are a number of advantages realized from this final task.
- Summarizes the Meeting – Doing the agenda provides a recap of what was done in the meeting and the tasks that still need to be completed. Members also can reflect on the progress made at the meeting.
- Reminds Everyone of Responsibilities – The agenda should contain the names of those responsible for each item. This helps remind everyone of the tasks they have agreed to take on.
- Everyone Has a Voice – Group members often tell us they don’t feel they have much say over what is done in meetings. By doing the agenda at the end of the meeting, everyone has the opportunity to place items that reflect their concerns.
- Builds Ownership – Involving everyone in the construction of the agenda will provide a greater sense of ownership of the group and its process.
- Helps Prioritize and Schedule Items – The team can determine how it wants to order the agenda items, with higher priority tasks placed earlier on the agenda.
- Gives Members a Chance to Prepare – When members know what will happen well in advance, they have increased opportunity to be prepared, even if they are not directly responsible for the items. They may need to do research of their own about the topics, or discuss them with upper management or their constituents.
- Involvement – Joint development of the agenda provides another opportunity for involving all members of the team.
Your team will need a process for adding new items to the agenda before the next meeting if situations warrant. When this happens, be sure to let everyone know what the new items are and provide enough information about them so members have the chance to be prepared to discuss them. Unless it is a true last-minute situation, do not add items at the start of the meeting and expect action on them at the meeting.
Remember to distribute the agenda to members a few days before the meeting. This serves as a final reminder of the meeting and responsibilities.
Effective meetings begin with a well-developed agenda. We also believe they should end that way as well.