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Do you feel like your meetings are a waste of time and that they aren’t achieving their objectives? Maybe it’s not your meetings that are the problem, but what happens (or doesn’t happen) afterward that is the cause for concern.
We spend a lot of time talking about how to prepare for a meeting, as well as how to facilitate effective meetings, but just because a meeting finishes does not mean that the work is over. It’s risky to assume that because you had a great discussion during your meeting, the ideas you talked about will be acted upon or even remembered. Take the following steps after your meeting to maximize results and ensure that progress is made post-meeting.
You or someone else in attendance should create meeting minutes for a meeting and then promptly distribute them to all attendees via email. Use a descriptive subject line containing the name of the meeting so people quickly recognize it. The meeting minutes should include the following info:
You can find meeting minute templates online or in your word processing software to simplify the process of creating meeting minutes that follow best practices.
Meeting minutes shouldn’t be more than one page. The goal is not to capture every single thing that was said in a meeting but to outline the key points that were discussed.
After a meeting is over, the collaboration shouldn’t stop. Make sure everyone who attended the meeting has access to any documentation that was discussed. You may want to make the documentation available through a cloud sharing application, such as Google Drive, SharePoint or Teams, so people can collaborate in real time.
To keep things organized, archive the meeting minutes and other meeting documentation in the same place. This will make it easy to go back and find the status of action items or check records when any questions arise about different decisions or actions.
Use a tool like Trello, Asana or Jira to track project status and add any action items, blockers, risks, or dependencies you discussed during the meeting. Schedule follow-up conversations with other attendees if you need to.
At the end of every meeting, do a plus/delta retro so that participants can quickly give feedback about what they liked and what they would improve about the meeting. Alternatively, you could send out a quick questionnaire to give people a chance to provide feedback. Just be sure to apply their suggestions to your next meeting.
Assign an owner or point person to each action item so that the person either completes the action item themselves or follows up with the appropriate parties and then reports back with the status or results. This ensures that somebody is held responsible for getting it done.
If you are meeting with people from outside of your organization, such as clients or vendors, send them a thank you note to thank them for attending.
Following up after a meeting is a form of leadership and helps you achieve successful project outcomes. Even if people assure you that something will get done, they may forget to do it or never get around to it because they are always busy and being pulled in different directions. Tracking progress after a meeting is over will ensure that future meetings are more productive or even eliminate the need for them altogether.