Effectively Closing a Meeting or Training Event

As exciting as you might make your presentation, unless you close it effectively, your participants may forget you when they walk out the door. You have to have an intentional method to leave your mark; to make your training memorable.

Statistics show that people remember most the last thing they hear in a meeting or training event. So at the end of yours, you want to give them very concisely what you want them to remember, using a delivery method that sticks.

When planning your closing moments, consider using one or more of these strategies:

  1. training_meetingHear from them. Let them tell you, in one word or sentence, what they found most valuable in the event. Record it on flip chart for all to see. Participants often value more the thoughts given by peers than those of the leader.
  2. Create specific next steps. Ask the question — so what? What has the meeting/training all been for? What will we do next or differently because of our time together? Again, record on flip chart – create a visual. Participants will remember it more.
  3. Follow up. From either or both of the above suggestions, transfer the information from the flip chart and send it to participants, with a reminder, challenge, question, etc., as appropriate for follow up.
  4. Tie things together. Briefly, and in a creative way (i.e. with colored cards, easy to draw graphics, etc) summarize the main points of the day/event.
  5. Celebrate. Remember it’s all about them, not about you. Let participants share one thing they know now that they didn’t know before, or one thing they celebrate about the day. Provide something they can write that on, such as a decorative post it note, etc., that they can put somewhere and see it often.
  6. Things you never say. Be careful not to default to one of two dangerous, ineffective closings:”In closing, let me summarize…..” Don’t ever say that. They are either so excited that you are almost done, or they drift off because you are still going; either way, you lose them. Let them summarize (see #1 and 2).”Are there any questions?” Handle questions a different way during the event, such as a question basket or ‘parking lot’ newsprint on the wall. Then answer questions at different intervals. The closing is not the place to ask if there are any more questions.
  7. Provide a strong sending forth. Close on a high note – “it’s been so exciting to hear all your feedback and all the next steps that are in store for us – thanks for the gift of your valuable time today – let’s go make a difference”…. or something appropriate for your setting.
About Teresa Gilbert

Teresa Gilbert is the Founder and Owner of Pathways to Excellence, LLC, Coaching and Consulting Services, and provides services on-site as well as through On-Demand, teleconferencing, and individual and group coaching. Teresa works primarily with new supervisors and managers to help them fully develop their leadership potential.

Teresa worked in administration and management for over 25 years before creating Pathways to Excellence. She is a former Head Start director, a former Federal Monitoring Reviewer, has a Master’s Degree in Education, with a concentration in workforce development; she is a certified facilitator for Franklin Covey, True Colors, , Personality Patch and Poverty Simulation training. Teresa’s greatest passion lies in leadership training at all levels, and working to help programs and organizations become the best they can be.

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