January 23, 2014
The End of the Meeting Blues


Yesterday, I attended a meeting and witnessed a very curious phenomenon towards the end -- a phenomenon that is very common and a big reason why many meetings leave people's heads spinning.


At the end of the meeting, when it was time for closure, a few inspired participants took center stage and began pitching a bunch of new ideas and new topics.

Their enthusiasm was wonderful to see, but it was the wrong time to be entertaining a new wave of possibilities. The facilitator, not wanting to offend the participants, let them go on... and on.... and on.

Meanwhile, the clock was ticking, and the other participants (who had been promised that the meeting would end on time) started getting very restless. The meeting had been a good one up to this point, but now things started feeling dense and dizzying.

If this was a restaurant, we were just about to finish our last sip of the end-of-meal cappucino and the waiter was suddenly bringing out a new entree -- organic, pecan-encrusted salmon with a side of mashed potatoes. Good food, for sure, but at the wrong time.

If YOU run meetings, be aware of this phenomenon.

When you're in the "dessert stage" of a meeting, stay with it. Allow closure to happen. If inspired participants start teeing up new topics, new questions, or new ideas acknowledge them for their contribution, but also remind them that the meeting is just about to end and that their new input can be addressed offline, after the meeting, or added to the agenda of the next meeting.

Done well, no one will feel offended, "overstuffed", or late for whatever is next on their schedule.

Idea Champions
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A meeting that sparks innovation

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at January 23, 2014 11:19 AM

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