Closing business meetings.
In the rush to get to the end and leave the room it is important to realise that meetings can have a better result if they are actually brought to a close rather than just left to dissolve. Our last set of tips for chairing meetings is around this aspect of closing a business meeting.
Once the AOB has been completed, hopefully in a timely fashion using the tips from last week the chairperson should move to close the meeting:
It is often worth checking that everyone agrees that the documented key decisions are those that the group decided. This does not mean re-opening the discussion merely confirming the understanding of the outcome. This is especially important for controversial or close decisions although after consideration some critical decisions might need reviewing in light of further revelations during meeting.
This might seem odd but for a department head to agree responsibility for the first item on the agenda after a heated discussion to then find that most other actions are also theirs may require a rethink.
In fact it is sometimes worth checking who takes away the majority of the actions and just consider for a moment why this is the case. There may be valid reasons for it being this way but it might highlight an issue with workload or personnel.
Once checked it may be worth verbalising the key actions/steps to be completed before the next meeting. This can be done before or just after the meeting finishes, but is worth reiterating if nothing else just to ensure understanding and help commit them to memory.
Finally reflect and praise on what has been achieved and thank people for their contributions, both specifically and generally – though briefly.