Many meetings fail to produce tangible results because they lack closure.
An effective coordinator synthesizes everything she’s heard from the participants, incorporates the best of what’s been discussed, and distills all the inputs into a course of action.
A good closure sounds like this: “Let me see if I can go over the main points. Our objective is to achieve [Goal] by [Due Date.] In light of what [Emily] and [Ryan] have said and the concerns that [Mark] has raised, it seems that we agree about [PointX] and [PointY]. We must watch out for [Risk] and incorporate [Possibility] into our contingency plan. Therefore, the consensus seems to that, we proceed with [Decision]. … Have I missed anything? … Is everyone OK with this decision? … Here’s what we’ll do before the next meeting … .”
Without a concrete plan for moving forward, even the best outcomes of a meeting can languish as the initial enthusiasm and commitment fade away.
There’s another key benefit of encouraging everyone’s involvement and piloting a meeting to closure. When each participant feels that their opinion has been fully considered, they are more likely to feel ownership of the group’s decision, even if it’s not the entire outcome they hoped for.
If a meeting can’t come to a decision, it’s reasonable to hold off decision-making. Still, distilling the key points, assigning ‘homework,’ and defining what’s expected of everybody before the next meeting constitutes an effective closure.
Idea for Impact: Closure is, more often than not, the missing link between meetings and impact. Steering a consensus at the end of the meeting gives a sense of closure that participants will find most valuable.