We’ve all been in a bad meeting or two. You arrive at the meeting on time, only to wait for the person that called the meeting, because they are running late. Maybe the meeting has even been rescheduled to a later time, but you didn’t receive the last email. It may seem simple, but a lot of meetings start with no clear focus or agenda.
I think exit meetings are very important. You’ve completed a great deal of work, now it’s time to present it to someone or some committee. How do I get started? I like to have an agenda or outline, that can be sent out prior to an exit meeting. The agenda will be the outline of how the meeting will flow. We all now everyone gets off track and that’s fine, but the agenda will help with getting everyone back on task, when needed. It will also be a good place for anyone to take notes or refer to at a later time. The following outline are items I like to cover in an exit meeting.
- Make sure everyone knows each other. Since exit meetings may have additional or different individuals than the opening meeting, start by introducing everyone from the audit team. If you do not know a guest attending, you may personally introduce yourself to the individual. This is also a good time to briefly explain the agenda of the meeting.
- Thank you
- Everyone likes to be appreciated. Thank everyone for their time and assistance over the audit period. Showing appreciation for everyone’s time and assistance will continue to build a positive relationship.
- Audit Scope and Purpose
- Again, since the exit meeting may include different individuals than the opening meeting, briefly review the purpose and scope of the audit.
- Review the Findings and Responses
- Make sure everyone has copy of the audit findings. Review each finding individually and explain the risk rating assigned. Let questions be asked, so everyone understands the reason for the finding. Obtain a management response, if possible, for the disposition of the finding. This will save time later.
- Deliverables and Conclusion
- Let everyone know when and how the final reports will be delivered.
- Ask if anyone has any additional questions. This may be a time the client will want to discuss current trends or topics you may be aware of. If you do not have an immediate response, let them know you will research the item and get back with them. Thank the individual for their question. If no questions are asked, you may suggest items you foresee happening in the coming months. Leave meeting with a sense of giving more to the individuals. Leave on a positive, delightful note.
We all know time is money and we definitely don’t want to waste that for anyone. So, just as important as starting a meeting on time, is to end the meeting on time. If the meeting is set for one hour, stick to that timeline. If an additional meeting needs to be set at a later date to complete the agenda, then provide that option. Just keep the communication open. As long as everyone is informed, all should be fine.
In summary, always take the time to plan and review your meeting. Be prepared for unexpected situations, but always go back to your agenda to stay focused. A little extra upfront time will show you were informed and prepared for the meeting.