— September 3, 2019
Most people don’t like meetings.
If you’ve been around here awhile you know that meetings may be the only think I dislike more than email.
But some meetings are necessary to organizational communication. I tend to think more effective meetings mean fewer meetings, and I’m all about that.
I’ve given advice here before about How to Run Successful Meetings, but true meeting success doesn’t end after the seemingly prerequisite hour. What happens after the meeting may be just as important as what happened during it.
Here are two things you need to do after every meeting to make it successful.
1. Confirm key decisions
Make sure everyone is on the same page about any decisions made during the meeting. You can do this at the end of the meeting or in a follow-up email. I usually say something during the meeting like “What I think I heard everyone agree to is…” then repeat what we agreed to as a group. I then ask if this is correct.
Confirming key decisions helps everyone move forward in a united way.
2. Agree on next steps
Ideal meetings are ones where discussion occurs, decisions are made and next steps are assigned. I find it best to write a follow-up email to the meeting’s participants, stating what we agreed were the next steps, who agreed to do what and the agreed upon deadline for those tasks.
Again, agreeing on next steps, including assignments and deadlines, helps everyone more forward in a united, productive way. It also eliminates any confusion that may have occurred during the meeting.
Meetings are a necessary evil for organizational communication, so let’s not waste anyone’s time. Planning for and running successful meetings is only part of the job. Following up on the group’s decisions and actions will take meetings from conceptual discussions to tangible results.