After the Meeting to Ensure Effective Meetings
Actions and planning before and during the meeting play a big role in helping you achieve expected, positive, and constructive outcomes. Your actions following the meeting are just as crucial. Follow-up at the next scheduled meeting is never enough of an investment to ensure results.
Publish Meeting Minutes
Begin by publishing your minutes and action plan within 24 hours. People will most effectively contribute to results if they get started on action items right away. They still have a fresh memory of the meeting, the discussion and the rationale for the chosen direction. They remain enthusiastic and ready to get started. A delay in the distribution of minutes will hurt your results since most people wait for the minutes to arrive before they begin to tackle their commitments.
Effective Meeting Follow-up
Respecting and observing deadlines and follow-up will help you achieve results from your meetings. The deadline was established during the meeting. Following the meeting, each person with an action item should also make a plan for their personal accomplishment of their commitment. Whether they write the steps in their planner, delegate the tasks to another staff person, or just complete the task, the individual is responsible for follow-up.
So is the meeting planner. You can improve meeting results by following up with each person who has an action item mid-way between meetings. Your goal is to check progress and ensure that tasks are underway. Remember that what you ask about gets accomplished.
Accountability for Follow-up during the Next Meeting
Have you ever sat in a follow-up meeting that consisted of each participant telling the group why they were unable to accomplish their commitment? I have, and the result is deplorable. Establishing the norm or custom of accountability for results begins early in your meeting cycle.
Follow-up by the facilitator mid-way between meetings helps, but the group must make failure to keep commitments unacceptable. Report on progress and outcomes at the next meeting and expect that all will have been accomplished. Alternatively, check progress at the next meeting and if there is a real roadblock to progress, determine how to proceed.
Debrief the Meeting Process for Continuous Improvement
The practice of debriefing each meeting is a powerful tool for continuous improvement. Participants take turns discussing what was effective or ineffective about the current meeting process. They also discuss the progress they feel the group is making on the topic of the meeting.
Taking continuous improvement to another level, successful teams debrief their entire project as well as the process to determine how effectively they managed to create results. Future meetings reflect the evaluation. Meetings evolve as an even more effective tool for creating organization results.
Results are achievable and predictable from well-planned and implemented meetings. Follow these twelve recommendations to ensure that meeting attendees achieve expected, positive, and constructive outcomes from the time invested in meetings.
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