How you end meetings is just as important as how you begin them. A strong ending helps ensure that attendees are on the same page and understand the next steps. While you may want to keep the discussion going, it’s important to stay mindful of the set end time.

Brier Cook, a contributor to the Fellow blog, says that dragging out meetings isn’t a good use of everyone’s time and energy. Instead, have a plan for how to wrap up every meeting. She says you could say something like, “Thank you for the productive session, everyone. Please reach out to me with any questions.” Another option could be, “The group came up with some promising ideas today. I can’t wait to see your work at the next meeting.”

Want a guide to ending your meetings better? Keep reading this issue of PromoPro Daily. We highlight Cook’s seven-step outline.

  1. Give a summary. Cook recommends saving about five minutes at the end of the meeting to review any key points and wrap up any previous conversations. If any lingering questions remain, schedule a short meeting with the necessary participants.
  2. Address all unresolved issues. Before everyone leaves, make sure you tie up any loose ends or unclear action items. You might be able to resolve some issues later after the meeting.
  3. Review action items. Make sure all meeting attendees know who’s doing what and by when. Action items are the clearly defined tasks that attendees must complete once the meeting ends, Cook says. You should assign each action item to a specific person along with a due date.
  4. Include closing remarks. Cook suggests adding closing remarks in your meeting agenda so attendees know there will be a few minutes at the end to ask questions and clarify any action items.
  5. Encourage meeting feedback. Once the meeting ends, it’s important to gauge how effective the session was. Feedback allows meeting hosts and organizers to understand if their goals for the meeting were met and offer a summary of attendees’ opinions, Cook says. She recommends asking if anyone has immediate feedback as soon as the meeting ends. You can then send a follow-up survey to give everyone a chance to gather their thoughts.
  6. Show your appreciation. According to Cook, this is one of the best ways to strengthen your professional relationships. Everyone likes to feel valued and appreciated for their hard work. She says you can thank attendees for sharing their time with you. You might also express gratitude by offering positive feedback or sharing a joke or interesting anecdote with the group.
  7. Send a post-meeting recap. The message should be detailed but concise, Cook says, and include the primary meeting goals, decisions made, action items and talking points. Be sure to include the date and time of your next meeting along with any documents that you or your staff members referenced during the meeting.

Whether it’s an impromptu get-together or a regular team meeting, make sure you end each one well. From summarizing the key takeaways to sending a recap afterward, there are many ways to ensure your team members are clear about what’s expected next.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Brier Cook is a content writer and email marketing manager who contributes to the Fellow blog.