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One of the biggest blunders people make when leading meetings is failing to record, recap, and follow-up on action items, next steps and important meeting outcomes. Because most meetings create work and action items for the participants, it is the responsibility of the meeting leader to ensure all action items are actionable and understood. Simply put, every action item needs to be articulated, recorded, and confirmed.

Every action item needs three things:

1) Clear deliverables;

 2) an Owner; and

3) a Due date.

A simple chart like the one below can help track these items.

It is the meeting leader’s responsibility to follow up on action items! While the meeting leader may delegate this responsibility, it is her job to make sure follow-up happens. Follow-up memos, email, telephone messages, and other forms of reminders are helpful. Sometimes it is useful to schedule a check-in meeting after a few days or weeks, depending on the cycle-times involved, to have people report on their progress in completing agreed upon work. Check-in and follow-up activities help enforce deadlines for deliverables.

Bonus Tip: Conference calls are meetings too! Be sure to deploy effective meeting techniques on your next conference call. The best ground rule for these meetings is “say your name when you speak.”