by   Steve Roche

Following up

Closing with the sponsor

If there is a meeting sponsor, or owner of the meeting other than yourself, you need to speak with them to ‘close’ the meeting. If the sponsor was at the meeting, this may happen immediately afterwards. If the sponsor was not at the meeting, they will want to know from you how it went. They will also probably get feedback from attendees as well.

A sponsor may want to know such things as

  • Who participated really well
  • Who did not
  • Which ideas were well supported and which ones not
  • Any particular comments made that would be useful for the sponsor to know about
  • What was output from the meeting

Please be careful here if there was a ground rule set up for confidentiality. Do not betray people in the group. Let the sponsor know that this was agreed by the group and that you will abide by it. This does not stop you giving your general impressions and an overview of the meeting.

Completing any actions assigned to you

You may have received actions to do as a result of the meeting. As an example to others, it is good practice to do these quickly. When you run the next meeting, it behoves you to have your own list of actions finished before you can start calling others to task if they have not finished theirs.

Reflect on your own performance

How could you do better next time?

Think through the feedback you have received, either at the end of the meeting or via feedback forms. Collate this and look for common themes.

  • What did you learn?
  • What could be done differently?
  • What did you do well?
  • What could you do better?

You may even seek further feedback from an attendee whom you trust to give you an honest and helpful opinion.

Getting it right

Running a meeting well can be a thankless task. If the whole thing runs smoothly, the people involved will probably never realise how much you contributed to its success.

The main skills involved – observation, listening, reading body language, understanding human behaviour and stepping out of the content – can be continually improved through practice. But there is no perfect way to run a meeting. In this role you are constantly making decisions about what to do in every situation: sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong.

Take your own learnings and accept that, like everything in life, it is not always possible to get the exact desired result – and that’s OK!