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7 Ways to End a Meeting the Right Way

Effective meetings allow a company to quickly move through important issues and identify problems before they arise. Meetings should not be allowed to linger, however, and open-ended meetings often end in uncomfortable moments. The art of time management and conducting effective meetings includes understanding when and how to end the event.

Winding Down Your Meeting

Conducting a meeting allows a business owner to sit down with personnel and learn things that might not be apparent during day-to-day operations. Effective, well-planned meetings often rely on specific start and ending times, but may fall outside of these times if important issues arise. Unnecessarily long meetings are a drain on the company's human or financial resources, and short meetings may fail to encompass all important points.

The first priority for effective meetings should be to end the meeting when all key information and decisions have been reached. The second key ending point is when as much of a consensus as possible has been reached. A deadlocked meeting often ends with setting a follow-up time for a future meeting, and creating this time on the spot allows the event to remain productive. Changing a single meeting into a series of meetings provides another way of ending an effective meeting. This is important when more information must be garnered over time before issues may be settled. A fifth option is to end the meeting on a high note, with praise for individual departments and forward-looking statements. This is especially effective if a meeting has unexpectedly taken a negative turn.

Cost is another factor if you are considering when to end events so that they remain effective meetings. Elevated emotions during negotiations or key strategy meetings can cause problems down the line or unwise financial decisions, and it's often best to wait until later so that cooler heads may prevail. The final method for ending a meeting is to watch the clock. Ending a meeting precisely on time may be required if key personnel must return to their posts or the cost of the meeting or meeting area does not allow continuation. This should be a last-ditch option, however, as it can diminish the effectiveness of the event.

Creating the Perfect Ending

These seven ending methods should be in any entrepreneur's arsenal for ending effective meetings. Each has its specific time or place and may not work in all situations, but knowing the difference between a meeting that is winding down and one that is just catching on is as much art as science. Consider pulling the plug and calling it a day when:

  • All parties are in agreement and key decisions or plans are made
  • A major consensus has been reached
  • The meeting would be more effective as a series of events over time
  • Deadlock threatens to stall the meeting indefinitely
  • You must address negative situations and can still end on a high note
  • Tempers flare preventing a consensus or agreement from being reached
  • All else fails and time runs out

The key to effective meetings is tackling each issue involved in the meeting's purpose and then moving on. These seven techniques allow you to end a meeting without diminishing the overall purpose of the event.

 

 

 

 

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