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Your meeting is as good as your follow up

You may have facilitated a fantastic online meeting where you engaged participants, made important decisions and made progress on your most important projects; however, the real test of a “good” meeting happens after the meeting is over. Once you have had a good meeting, it is critically important to follow-up as quickly as possible to keep the momentum, progress and relationships going. During these days of ongoing online meetings, it can be really challenging to find the time to follow-up because you have the next meeting – and the next – and the next…Join me this week as I highlight four things you can do to follow-up quickly from your meetings.

  1. Schedule time.  We are great about scheduling time for our meetings but are we scheduling time for follow-up from the meeting? I encourage you to schedule time on your calendar for follow-up at the same time you schedule your meeting. Then honor that follow-up meeting. This is a meeting with yourself. We often have a tendency to protect time that we have reserved for meetings with other people but can sometimes be willing to “give up” those meetings with ourselves. When we do, we are unable to follow-through and it has an impact on our ability to continue progress and maintain strong relationships. I know it can be difficult (and I personally really struggle with this) but when you honor the meetings with yourself, you are able to also honor those you are working with by following through on what you said you will do!
  2. Keep it simple. One of the best ways to have volunteers participate in future meetings is to be able to show that you will get things accomplished. People enjoy being part of groups that get things done. Unless you have a group that is required to keep detailed minutes (such as a government committee), your follow-up doesn’t have to be complicated. At the end of the meeting, be clear about decisions made, action items/steps, who is responsible and what is the timeframe for follow-up. If you (or your notetaker) is sharing your screen, these can be written in “real time” which makes follow-up much easier. When we keep the follow-up simple, it’s easier for us to be able to follow-up quickly and to maintain momentum from our meetings. 
  3. Share it quickly. If possible, share these brief follow-up notes within the day or next day. If not, try to get them out within a week. The sooner you share them, the easier it is for participants (and you) to remember what you said you would do and to move toward taking action. Also, when you share the follow-up items, include them both in the body of the email and as an attachment. Emails with attachments may get “left” until later which may just get “left” indefinitely in your partners’ inboxes. When you include key follow-up actions in the body of the email and as part of the attachment, folks can scan their emails and realize they have something to do to follow-up and it will alert them either take care of it at that moment or put it on their “to-do” list.
  4. Take action immediately. For one-on-one or small group meetings that have just a few easy action items, try to do them immediately after the meeting. They don’t even have to hit your to-do list!  One of my mentors demonstrated this early in my career and I was always impressed with his ability to follow-up quickly. He said that it was easiest to go ahead and do it that day so that he wouldn’t have to “carry it” to the next day.  This isn’t always possible depending upon what you have after the meeting, but when you can, it is very energizing and sets the example for accountability and follow-up to the rest of your team or workgroup.

So, what about you? What are you going to do to follow-up quickly after your next online meeting?

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Photo by Marci Angeles on Unsplash

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