Meetings are an inevitable part of running any business and everyone knows the importance of preparation.
However, many meeting organizers forget another valuable step: planning an effective ending to the meeting. Of course, all meetings end eventually, but how you end a meeting plays a big part in the overall success of a meeting.
Closing a meeting effectively can help ensure all meeting participants leave the meeting feeling good about what was accomplished and confident in knowing what the next steps are.
Therefore, in this post, we’ll share several ways to close a meeting politely and common phrases you can use.
The end of a meeting is your last opportunity to ensure all participants understand what was discussed, what the action items are, and who is responsible for each action item.
Whether you are leading a team meeting, a board meeting, or any other type of gathering, these tips will help you adjourn a meeting positively.
A meeting agenda is an outline of a meeting and lists all of the topics the team will discuss. By including the meeting closing in the agenda, you’re less likely to miss this vital step or run out of time. Closing a meeting shouldn’t take long; setting aside just 5-10 minutes should suffice.
Before wrapping up the meeting, you should ask, “Does anyone have anything else to add or any questions before we adjourn the meeting?” Allowing an opportunity for meeting attendees to share information or ask any questions ensures everyone has had a chance to speak and get clarification if needed.
On average, meetings last between 30-60 minutes, and a lot can be communicated in that amount of time. Ending a meeting with a summary of the main points, including the discussion points and decisions, is a great way to reiterate and remind participants of what was discussed.
Additionally, if you’ve included desired outcomes in the meeting agenda, this is an opportune time to review them and ensure each task was accomplished.
Once you’ve made a summary of the meeting, it’s important to agree on the next steps to ensure there is progress between meetings. During this time you can also remind everyone of when and where the next meeting will happen.
Make sure each task is assigned to a specific person with the correlating due dates, so that participant clearly understands what they need to accomplish and by when.
Remember, all action items should be recorded in the meeting notes to not only hold people accountable for their tasks but keep track of what needs to be done.
Pro Tip: Use a professional meeting action item tool to assign tasks with due dates easily, and you can follow up on the meeting tasks in one place.
First of all, thank everyone for their time and attention as you end the meeting. This shows appreciation and lets them know you value and respect them and their time.
Then, you can take a few seconds to especially recognize those who contribute something valuable to the conversation.
According to a survey, 37% of employees said recognition is the most important motivator to do excellent work, yet 65% of employees said they haven’t received any kind of recognition for good work in the last year. This is why it’s a good idea to recognize or acknowledge your employees whenever possible.
Finally, always end the meeting on time. Meetings require a time commitment that takes us away from individual work tasks. Running over schedule takes time away from their other work tasks, possibly making them late for their next meeting, or delaying their lunch break. By ending the meeting on time, you’re showing participants you respect their time.
A tool like Airgram can help you keep track of time in a meeting. Not only can you assign an estimated time duration to each agenda item, but you can also check the remaining time with the progress bar, which is visible to all attendees when using Zoom.
Meetings can be rather tedious at times. To help keep participants engaged and leave the meeting feeling energized, consider adding a little fun to the end of your meeting (if time allows). This is especially helpful in boosting team morale when meeting virtually.
There are so many things in life worth celebrating, including work achievements. If you know a participant has recently been promoted, received a raving customer review, or did a stellar job on a project, be sure to congratulate them. Additionally, you can also congratulate employees on personal matters, such as an engagement or having a baby.
Jokes are a really fun way to engage participants and leave them with smiles on their faces. Alternatively, you can also ask them a riddle to try and solve before the next meeting. To further increase engagement, rotate which person is to bring a joke or riddle each time.
Asking a “get to know you” question can foster team building and help participants get to know one another better, especially for hybrid or remote teams. You can ask the question ahead of time by sharing it in the meeting agenda to allow everyone a bit of time to come up with a response, saving time.
Here are some questions you might consider:
What was one new thing you learned this week?
What was a highlight or win for you from last week?
What was the best advice you received on the job?
Team-building games are a great way to help bring everyone together and encourage a stronger bond between employees. You can easily add in a short game when closing a meeting to really engage and strengthen your team, such as trivia or Two Truths and a Lie.
If you prefer a short activity that’s a little more mellow, you might consider a mindfulness exercise such as a guided meditation, breathing exercise, or having each participant share one thing they’re grateful for. By taking a moment to de-stress, participants will leave the meeting feeling calm and content.
Once it’s time to officially adjourn the meeting, you may be wondering exactly what to say. Here are a variety of phrases you can choose from.
“I guess that will be all for today.”
“Looks like we’ve covered everything on our agenda.”
“If there’s nothing left to add, we can end here.”
“Looks like we’ve finished. How about we return 15 minutes into our work day and end early.”
“Thank you all for your time today; see you on Friday for our next meeting”
“Remember to complete your tasks by the end of the week.”
“Please keep an eye out for an email with the meeting notes by the end of the day.”
“To conclude, we have decided to move ahead with option two.”
“Please don’t forget to submit your reports to me by the end of the day tomorrow.”
“If anyone has any questions about what we discussed in today’s meeting, please feel free to message me.”
“That will be all for today, thanks for your time.”
“Big thank you to ___ for helping with the meeting today.”
“I want to thank everyone for a productive meeting.”
Closing each meeting thoughtfully and well-planned out is essential to the success of the meeting overall, and at the same time can help bring your team closer together.
By following the above tips to close a meeting effectively, your team will leave each meeting with a clear understanding of what was discussed, what their individual action items are, and the next steps to take before meeting again.
Cole is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience. With an educational background in journalism, public relations, and social media, she has a passion for storytelling and providing useful and engaging content.