Running Effective Meetings: Ending the Meeting

by Staff - Original publish date: January 18, 2012

At the end of a business meeting, the organizer summarizes the decisions the group has made, lists the next steps, and assigns action items or tasks to participants. Typically, all action items should be carried out by people who attended the meeting, or people who report to them. It is usually less productive to assign work that results from a meeting to someone who wasn't represented.

To be courteous of people's time, end the meeting when it is scheduled to end and leave the room, especially if another group is using the room directly afterward.

The Meeting-After-the-Meeting
Pay careful attention to "the meeting-after-the-meeting," where participants raise questions or key decision makers divulge opinions that were not expressed earlier. The text - and subtext - of the meeting after the meeting can be as important as the content of the meeting itself, especially in a highly political organization. A good facilitator will prevent the meeting-after-the-meeting from thwarting the decisions or changing the expectations of the original attendees.

Notes and Assignments
Upon returning to your desk, your first task should be to write up the notes of the meeting or prepare your covering note to attendees if someone else is preparing the notes. The recap of the meeting should be distributed within 24 hours so that participants can begin work on their assignments while the conversation is still fresh in their minds.

These notes may also serve as preparation for the next meeting, which could include a summary of the progress on each of these tasks.