How to Properly End a Meeting, Regardless of Your Role

“My meetings always seem to drag on at the end.”

I often hear that from leaders whose one-hour meetings always take the full hour (or more).

How to end a meeting and keep on topic

Despite the agenda being fully covered in 45 minutes, the team believes that somehow the remaining fifteen minutes marked on their calendars must be filled. There is seemingly an unwritten requirement somewhere that states that meetings scheduled for a certain time period must never last less time than was scheduled by the organizer. Pffft.

Great Leaders Give Special Treatment

Do you have a special “thing” with your team members? Is there something that you do only with them, either individually or together?

If not, then you should.

Leaders give special treatment

As a team

There should be something special that you do as a team that no other team in your organization does.

Here are some real-life examples that I have either initiated as a leader or been a part of:

First Monday Donuts.

On the first Monday of every month, one of us was responsible for bringing in donuts. In retrospect, this explains why our performance on the first Monday of every month was abysmal, but it was worth it.

What to do Before Every Meeting

If you are a meeting leader, you will want to read this.
If you are a meeting attendee, you will want to read this.


Handshake before a meeting

Whether you are leading a meeting or just attendee (“just” attending, as though that is unimportant), what you do before every meeting is important.

I’m not even talking about making an agenda, setting up the chairs right, or making sure your PowerPoint works well. You can read some great tips from Tom Dixon and from me here and here on meetings. Those cover the basics.

How to Teach Communication to Your Team

Leaders must teach communication in their organizations.

Yes, I just suggested that you must teach grown adults how to communicate. Just like a coach teaches his players how to do so, from middle school to the pros.

A Lesson in Communication from Mike Krzyzewski

Why teach communication?

Good communication does not come naturally, even in the closest groups of people who have been together for years. So, communication must be taught and what is taught must be practiced.

Joe comes to your team from a small company where team meetings were a knock-down-drag-out affair. Opinions flowed freely, emotions were high, and voices were raised. That was their culture.

Sue just came from a medium-sized company where team meetings were more orderly and mundane. But afterwards, there was usually a flurry of heated emails. Often the emails got nasty and personal.

Marie comes to your team from a non-profit where team members shared openly each day and leadership was available at all times. Team members spent time together outside of work and knew each other’s families well.

Four Things to Say to Yourself Before Every Meeting

How do you get your game face on before meetings?

You do have a meeting game face don’t you?


I’ve found that people attending meetings tend to fall into four groups, loosely based on their DISC profiles.

Group 1: Those who have all the ideas and think theirs are the best. (Those who take over, usually High D’s)

Group 2: Those who have tons of ideas but never share them. (Those who are afraid to speak up, usually High C’s and S’s)

Group 3: Those who have no ideas. (Those who don’t think quickly, usually High C’s)

Group 4: Those who just want to have fun. (Those who came for the party and a business meeting broke out, usually High I’s)

Here are four mantras for each of the four groups. No matter what group you fall into, I want you to repeat these over and over before each meeting, so that you achieve your objectives.

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Five Killer Meeting Tips from Tom Dixon

Raise your hand if you like meetings.

Even at the finish line of a marathon, that is a question sure not to cause a stink. (Get it? Marathon…sweaty people…stink? OK, good.)

Whether you are one of the eleven people worldwide who raised their hand to that question or you are like the 99.9999% of us who hate meetings, you want them to be better. So I brought in Tom Dixon to offer some helpful tips.

Tom Dixon Meeting Tips - Leadership
Tom left a great comment a few weeks ago in my post, Do This in Your Next Meeting. It Works.

One trick I’ve learned as a meeting participant is to play back one or two sentences that recap what I’ve taken away from the discussion…this can be helpful to others to solidify what was discussed as well as a chance for the group to clarify any points I didn’t get right.

Tom normally writes at his blog, Monday is Good where he offers practical career help. He believes it is possible to look forward to Monday. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter too. You won’t regret it.

Do This in Your Next Meeting. It Works.

For now, I am going to assume that you don’t work with idiots.

With that safely assumed, if you do what I suggest below in your next meeting, it will work. (If it doesn’t, my assumption is wrong)


How many times have you sat through an hour-long presentation or meeting that ended like this:

Meeting Leader: Any suggestions?

Group: (Silence for three seconds. Awkward glances around the room. Some are already packing up.)

Leader (after waiting the entire three seconds): OK then, see you next week.

Really? Not a single person has a suggestion?

Again assuming that you don’t work with idiots, how is this even possible?