For those of you who are tired of reading about meetings, you’ll be glad to know that this is my third and final reason your meetings are not as effective as they should be: Lack of follow up.
Just because the meeting is over, doesn’t mean your job as a meeting leader has ended. In fact, if you lead regular meetings, you’ll be on a perpetual cycle of the three steps– preparing, facilitating, and follow up.
Follow up after a meeting is critical to ensuring everyone understands what happened at the meeting, confirms agreements, and helps ensure everyone manages their responsibilities before the next meeting.
Here are three key activities that should occur after every meeting.
1. Evaluate your meeting.
While the meeting’s activities are fresh in your mind, evaluate how well things went. If you’re interested in a post meeting evaluation form, contact me and I’ll send you a copy of the one I use. Additionally, you should periodically ask participants to evaluate your meetings to ensure you’re getting an accurate view of your meeting’s effectiveness.
2. Send out meeting minutes.
Minutes should capture key discussion points, decisions, agreements, and planned actions of specific participants. If you had a note taker at your meeting, which you should have, ensure he or she creates and distributes meeting minutes within three days of the meeting. Getting minutes completed quickly allows participants adequate time to review them and follow up with you if there are discrepancies. Additionally, it gives everyone plenty of time to confirm and complete actions they either volunteered for, or were assigned at the meeting.
Receiving minutes the day before, day of, or at the next meeting is totally unacceptable and puts everyone at a disadvantage.
3. Perform progress checks with those who have agreed to take action.
This should be a routine part of your meetings and one your participants should expect. Progress checks serve many purposes, they:
- Give everyone the opportunity to ask questions and clarify actions
- Increase the odds that participants will move quickly to complete their tasks
- Decrease the odds that people will show up empty handed and full of excuses at the next meeting.
Additionally, if you establish agreed-upon progress checkpoints in advance, they feel more like “check ins” rather than “checking up” However, don’t overdo it. One-too-many check-in’s can become micromanagement.