If you’ve ever struggled to identify what the team is working to achieve in the meeting, you’ve stumbled upon the right article. Poorly planned meetings without a specific goal are frustrating to attend and a waste of time. A meeting’s desired outcome needs to be identified in advance of the meeting so that you can obtain a specific result. It’s essential to identify the meeting’s objective, design an agenda, decide who to invite and assign pre-reading materials. In order to do so, you need to consider how to improve meeting outcomes. So, what is a meeting output? This article is going to cover everything you need to know about meeting outputs, what good meeting outcomes look like and how you can improve your meeting outcomes, driving your business towards success.

What is a meeting output or outcome? 

A meeting output or outcome can include resource allocation decisions, action items, dispute resolution, prioritization decisions and new plans being made. Whatever you have accomplished during your meeting as well as the direction that you choose to move in (including plans or decisions for the future) become your meeting output. Because your meeting outcome is based on the meeting goal or the purpose of your meeting, it’s really important that you plan ahead to think about what you and your team are working towards. Then, take the tangible steps towards achieving your meeting goal

Make it clear for everyone.

Use your team’s time efficiently and have a clear meeting outcome by planning ahead of the meeting with a collaborative tool like Fellow.

What are good meeting outcomes? 

1 Everyone is clear on their next immediate objective

When the team isn’t completely clear on their immediate responsibilities that need to be completed, it creates a lot of confusion and wastes a lot of time. After the meeting, team members will then need to clarify what it is they need to be doing, why they need to be doing it and when it needs to be completed by. Being confused and unclear also creates bad morale and frustration. Blame is assigned, typically to leadership for not being clear on what they want each person to do and all the energy necessary to address the lack of clarity takes away from the important work that needs to be done. Instead, be sure that everyone who attends the meeting is clear about exactly what they need to be working on in order to meet the goal(s) that have been set. 

2 Everyone is confident that the others on the team also know their next objectives

Not only does everyone need to be clear on their own responsibilities, but it’s important that your team members understand what their teammates are working on as well. This creates a strong synergy between team members and allows people to collaborate and support one another. This creates accountability across the whole team and it also shows team members that even the leadership is aware of what each person needs to contribute to make attaining the company goals a possibility. It’s a good idea to set up some kind of tracking log through an app like Fellow, so that you’re aware of what has been completed, by who, and what still needs to get done. 

3 Everyone has an actionable plan and steps to achieve their objective(s) 

Knowing what to do is a great place to start, but it’s even more important to understand how to complete the tasks that are assigned to you. Actionable and measurable steps are essential to achieve meeting outcomes. The team needs to be properly equipped with the information, tools and resources so that they can complete their responsibilities effectively. In order to create an actionable plan, it’s important that you create a timeline of responsibilities, with each responsibility assigned to a specific person on the team and with all of the resources that are needed to complete the task at hand. You can use a Gantt chart or a simple Excel sheet in order to keep as organized as possible. 

4 Everyone feels confident about what the team is doing and what they are assigned with

The team needs to be on board with what they are collectively working towards. If there are some individuals who don’t feel comfortable or confident with the approach that is being suggested, it’s going to take away from the quality of their work. It’s also really important that the tasks that need to be completed are assigned to the right team members. This means that leadership needs to be meticulous and informed when assigning people to complete particular responsibilities. If there is someone better-suited to complete a task than the person who was actually assigned, this is going to cause an issue and the team will feel unaligned. Assigning action items right inside the meeting agenda, with due dates, will eliminate any hesitation or confusion about next steps. In Fellow, you can assign action items and see who will be responsible for what and by when.

5 Everyone feels supported and encouraged by the other team members

Work can be pretty stressful- especially when new projects are introduced or issues need to be resolved. It’s essential that your team feels supported and encouraged by the group because this is going to motivate individuals to tackle challenging situations. Because achieving goals can be quite difficult, it’s important that your team knows that they have a strong support system that is there for them if and when they are struggling. More than just support, it’s important that you foster a culture of encouragement as well. Each person’s work is important to achieving the overarching goals, so it’s essential that you work together and believe in one another’s capabilities. Nothing is more unstoppable than a supportive and encouraging team!

6 Everyone contributes their thoughts, opinions and ideas 

Not only is it important to foster a supportive and encouraging environment, but each team member needs to feel comfortable to share their thoughts, opinions and ideas. Everyone that is working on the project at hand needs to feel equally important and unafraid to contribute to the discussions. Because you have a diverse team of individuals from different backgrounds and different expertise, it is only going to add value to hear from multiple voices. Many opinions and suggestions are only going to enrich and refine the approach that is taken to achieve your organizational goals

7 Everyone has the opportunity to ask questions 

An opportunity to ask questions or clarify any points of the meeting outcome is fundamental to working productively. You don’t want there to be any outstanding questions or confusion because it’s going to render your team less productive and less clear on what they need to be working on and how they need to be working on it. Be sure to set aside time for questions and clarification at the end of your meetings so that you can feel confident knowing that everyone is on the same page and clear about exactly what they need to do, what their teammates are doing and how the group is coming together to bring about organizational success. 

8 Everyone leaves the meeting feeling energized and on-track

If your team feels completely exhausted after a meeting, the meeting outcome isn’t going to be positive. The way in which you conduct your meeting is just as important as the content. Create an environment that builds each other up and makes each person feel confident that they are equipped to complete their tasks. Make it clear that each person’s perspectives, skills and hard work are appreciated and recognized. Achieving your goals would not be possible without everyone’s input and it’s important that you acknowledge this so that your team feels valued, energized and on-track to complete their tasks.  

How do you improve meeting outcomes? 

There are a few ways in which you can improve your meeting outcomes. First, scheduling is really important. Ensure that you select a day and time well in advance so that every person can attend and be a part of the discussion. You can increase engagement in your meeting by selecting a time slot that causes minimal disruptions to the work day, so that everyone feels more efficient and productive. First thing in the morning or right before lunch break are both great times to choose so that the attendees aren’t feeling too overwhelmed. Changing up the location of the meeting can also have a positive effect on the meeting outcome. Think about if there are comfortable spaces you have access to that change the dynamic of the conversation. 

Don’t forget to design an agenda well in advance and to ask for participants’ input as to what they think might be important to discuss so that everyone’s opinions and insights feel valued and considered. 

Parting advice 

In order to achieve the desired outcome of your meeting, prior thought and planning is necessary. A great way to plan is to think about successful meetings that you’ve attended and how you felt leaving those meetings. This is how you also want your teammates to feel as you reach your meeting outcome. Ask yourself, “what are the goals of a meeting?” This is going to send you in the right direction as you consider what needs to be completed in order to achieve your organizational goal. 
We hope this article has been helpful in explaining how to improve meeting outcomes. As always, it’s a pleasure seeing you on the Fellow blog. If you found this blog post resourceful, be sure to pass it along to someone who would benefit from it. See you next time!