You need to do everything possible to make sure your meeting met its objective. Hopefully you had a limited objective when you scheduled the meeting. Be sure before everyone leaves the meeting to:
Ask each participant for recommendations: Don’t just agree to schedule another meeting. Make sure that you have made significant progress towards a solution or meeting the objective of your meeting. Go around the room and ask each person for final recommendations before the meeting ends. Try to narrow the solution to no more than two.
Be sure you summarize the main points of the meeting, any decisions the group made, action items for the next meeting, and assignments for participants.
Give participants assignments for the next meeting: Make sure you give out action items before the meeting ends. Make sure each participant understands what is expected of him/her for the next meeting. Write them down. Write a follow-up e-mail so they know what they’ll be responsible for preparing for the next meeting. Action items that aren’t written down usually don’t get done!
Thank everyone for their time and input: Showing verbal appreciation at the end of a meeting shows participants that you value their time and the sacrifice they made to be there. It can go a long way toward getting them to come again.
Make sure the meeting finishes on time: If you prioritized your agenda properly (by discussing the most important issue first) you should be down to the lesser items on your agenda by the time your meeting is supposed to end.
People are more likely to accept a meeting invitation from a person that finishes a meeting on time or early than someone that constantly allows their meeting to run past the allotted time.
Distribute the meeting minutes: The job of the note taker is to get the notes from the meeting finalized and distributed to all of the participants within 24 hours (either in writing or by e-mail). They should be finalized and distributed quickly while the meeting is still “fresh” on everyone’s mind and so participants can confirm the notes or ask questions so everyone is on the same page.
“A meeting without a leader, an agenda, or minutes has a high probability of accomplishing nothing and being a ‘bull session’ in disguise.”