Work meetings can provide an ideal platform to bring everyone together. But they can also feel like frustrating interruptions full of so much “circling back” and “touching base” that everyone in attendance loses track of the actual issues at hand. The line between effective and excessive is razor thin when it comes to meetings in the workplace.
According to an infographic from Atlassian, 47 percent of employees surveyed complained that meetings were the biggest time-waster at the office. A whopping 73 percent of employees admitted to doing other work during a meeting, while 91 percent claimed they had daydreamed during meetings.
One glaring problem with many workplace meetings is that they don’t end when—or how—they should. Here are a few tips to help your team end work meetings on a high note so every participant walks out feeling refreshed instead of drained.
Know Your Limits
The key to ending a gathering on a high note is to avoid digging a hole of aimlessness that’s too large to escape. Keeping your meeting concise and productive throughout makes the end feel more purposeful as well. As one expert suggests in Psychology Today, it’s important to end meetings on time, even if that means cutting off part of the agenda. Or, you can take it one step further and end meetings a few minutes early. This will leave your employees walking away feeling productive and empowered.
End on a Deliberate Note
Look around during your team’s next meeting. Is your most talkative colleague hijacking the session to ramble on about a project that only affects them? Do you see more than few pairs of eyes glazed over? Is the issue here that nobody wants to step up and confidently cut off the session? The age-old advice to “quit while you’re ahead” has never been more applicable.
The ending shouldn’t just happen by chance or because people finally run out of steam. You can plan a brief yet structured ending activity to get everyone back on the same page and inject one last dose of collaboration before you all go your separate ways. For example, using a live word cloud generator allows everyone to boil down their takeaway into one word and share with the group in a visual way. Or you can use it to end the meeting on a light note—perhaps polling the group about what they plan to eat for lunch.
Reiterate Action Items
In the shuffle of a meeting, action items tend to pop up few and far between. It’s a good idea to end your meetings on a firm note by clearly listing action steps that progress your collective short-term and long-term goals. Don’t forget to tie these items into your big-picture vision so employees can truly see the importance of making headway. Adding this crisp closer to your meeting helps everyone leave the room confident in their responsibilities when it comes to key action items.
They say misery loves company, but positivity can be just as contagious! The end of a meeting is an excellent time to acknowledge team members’ contributions, either inside or outside of the session at hand.
As one corporate trainer writes for Harvard Business Review, it’s worth asking yourself: “Did anyone contribute to the conversation in a way that needs to be highlighted?” Acknowledging helpful contributions to the conversation—or to your team’s overall progress in accomplishing action items—is a feel-good way to wrap up a meeting that makes participants feel valued. Plus, it serves as a positive motivator to keep future meetings insightful and productive.
Your team deserves much better than weekly meetings that end on a passive note. Take the reins and utilize these strategies to wrap up work gatherings with deliberate confidence! Using the last five to ten minutes of your meeting time wisely can make a huge impact, so make them count.