How to End Every Meeting
Giving everyone a last word
Holacracy is a system for running an organization that we use here at Medium. This post is not about Holacracy, which you can learn more about from this collection or holacracy.org (and I recommend doing so). This post is about an idea you should steal from Holacracy.
The idea is simple:
End every meeting with a “closing round.”
In a closing round, you go around the room and give everyone a chance to comment on the meeting. There is no discussion or back-and-forth allowed. People tend to talk for less than 30 seconds (often a lot less), so you could close a large, 10-person meeting in less than five minutes.
An example closing-round comment might be something like:
“Good meeting. I’m glad we got a chance to finally discuss the Flimflam situation, because that’s been bothering me. Next time, I think we could be crisper with our status updates, so we can get to the meat faster.”
The closing round is worth doing, because it gives everyone, in a sense, a “last word”—the chance to get something off their chest that they might otherwise carry around or whisper to their colleagues later. It creates more mindfulness about what just happened—and how things might go better next time. And it lets you know where the group is at emotionally, as well as potential issues to follow up on that weren’t strictly part of the proceedings.
Above all, closing rounds are usually fun and positive. Jokes are made. Thanks are given. Excitement is expressed. In my book, that’s a better way to end than a general trailing off or listing of action items.