For some people, meetings can be a real bore. For others, it can be an excuse to get out of doing some of their work. Either way, meetings are not going away anytime soon, and overall they are important to an organization’s wellbeing.
However, meetings can sometimes drag on and on. They can stray from the main topic, they can lose focus, they can be absolute snooze fest, and sometimes they will just NOT END!
So now, you’re running a meeting. You don’t want to fall for the usual trappings of meetings. You have your agenda set, you know how to make things move swiftly along. But you still have to know how to end those meetings.
For some meetings, there might be natural end points. A lull in the conversation, or when everyone (or at least the people in the room whose opinions have the greatest weight) is in agreement.
On the other hand, some meetings don’t find a natural end point. Everyone will want to add an opinion, or make a secondary point, or pass the buck along, or a myriad other things.
Fear Not! We’ve got some tips for you.
#1 – Time to End is No time to Bend
Do NOT let your meeting run over time. Those people who are just sitting there looking bored and trying to kill time and hoping they don’t have anything else for the day. NOPE! Nip that right in the bud.
Keep an eye on the clock. Make sure that ten minutes before the end of the meeting, you wrap it up. Don’t start wrapping it up, don’t wind down. You summarize it, and end it. If anyone wants to say anything else, they can email you about it.
#2 – Be Nice; Actually Nice. Like really nice
Say thank you for coming, and mean it. Assure everyone that the meeting was productive, and that it was necessary. Acknowledge that some people may have felt that this was a waste of their time, and that they’d rather be working. Be aware that some people may not know why they were pulled into this meeting, maybe sent a by a higher up, or just wrongly scheduled.
Handshakes and promises to email and follow up are all nice. But your good mood, positivity and sincere thanks will rub off on everyone in the room.
#3 – You’re now a Part Time Air Traffic Controller
Do not be afraid to redirect your meeting, and even end it early if you have to.
If you’re losing control, if the meeting is going off the rails, if side chatter is insane, or if everyone in the room is looking at you like they’d be more comfortable in a George A. Romero production, then it just might be time to put the meeting out of it’s misery. Everyone is busy, but everyone will just have to reschedule. And if this is the only large meeting in a few months and it took a long time to get everyone gathered… then you have bigger problems to worry about.
#4 – Everyone to their Battle Stations!
Give people tasks! And in the case that you can’t do so, ask them what their follow up tasks are.
It can be as simple as giving you some feedback on the meeting. Or as complicated as starting a massive new project.
But everyone should be leaving the meeting with a task in mind. It gives purpose and legitimacy to the meeting, as well as making the attendees feel that their time was respected.
Ending a meeting correctly can be just as important, if not even more so, than how you start it. The first impression may be the most important, but the final mood is the one that sticks for a long time. Make sure it’s the best one.
And of course, if you’re looking for the absolute best meeting space in Toronto, we have spaces available for all types of meetings. And with varied catering options, your attendees will feel even more appreciated, and your meeting will end on an even better note!