How to End a Meeting Like a Pro: 25 Best Practices

  • 2024-05-09
  • Serra Ardem
How to End a Meeting Like a Pro: 25 Best Practices

Whether in-person or virtual, a successful meeting isn’t just about a strong opening and a productive discussion. The conclusion is equally important. Knowing how to end a meeting is a major part of the work culture, as it can make or break the meeting’s value and the overall morale of participants.

In this blog, we will:

  • Emphasize the significance of a strong meeting conclusion
  • List 25 best practices on how to end a meeting (with sections on time management, productivity, positivity, fun, and tricky scenarios)
  • Share the key phrases you can use along with actionable tips

Let’s dig in.

The Importance of a Strong Meeting Conclusion

A well-crafted ending can turn a good meeting into a great one. Let’s explore how a powerful conclusion can benefit your team in several ways:

  • Saves time: Having a definite conclusion avoids prolonged discussions. By setting a firm endpoint, you ensure everyone respects the allotted time and can return to their individual tasks promptly.
  • Reinforces accountability: A strong ending clarifies next steps. By summarizing action items, deadlines and ownership, you foster a sense of responsibility and increase the likelihood of tasks being completed efficiently.
  • Promotes a shared understanding of progress: A robust conclusion guarantees that all team members are in sync regarding achievements and future steps. This reduces ambiguities and misunderstandings, cultivating advancement together.
  • Boosts team morale: Acknowledging accomplishments and celebrating progress at the end of the meeting can significantly improve team morale. This will keep everyone motivated to achieve future goals.
  • Encourages reflection: An organized conclusion provides an opportunity to reflect on the meeting’s outcomes and discuss areas for improvement. This can enhance future meetings and overall productivity.
Five business people having a meeting around a white table.

How to End a Meeting: 25 Best Practices

We will now share 25 actionable tips on how to end a meeting in an effective way. Our list is divided into five categories with a focus on time management, productivity, positivity, fun, and special cases. Keep in mind that these practices are not mutually exclusive, as you can combine them to achieve the most impactful outcome.

How to End a Meeting on Time

Respecting everyone’s time is crucial for a productive work environment. Here are key strategies to keep your meetings on track and ensure a smooth conclusion:

  1. Have a time-bound agenda.
  • Craft an agenda before the meeting, outline the topics, and allocate time slots for each.
  • Be realistic about the amount of time each point deserves.
  • Distribute the agenda to all attendees in advance to keep everyone focused on the goals.
  1. Be (or assign) a gentle timekeeper.
  • If you’re going to delegate someone, choose a neutral party to quietly monitor the time.
  • The timekeeper can direct the flow of the meeting by suggesting summaries or transitioning to the next item.
  • In person, a timekeeper can use cues like cards on hand gestures. In virtual meetings, they can share a non-disruptive sound effect.
  1. Embrace the “parking lot”.
  • When interesting side discussions arise, suggest “parking” them for later.
  • Create a shared document to capture these parked topics.
  • Depending on the parked topic’s importance, briefly schedule follow-up actions.
  1. Signal the meeting is about to conclude.
  • Look for natural transition points, like when a key decision is made, or a specific agenda item is completed.
  • Use phrases like “Let’s move on to wrapping things up” or “We have about five minutes left for any remaining questions” to nudge participants towards the conclusion.
  • Briefly recap the main decisions or action items to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  1. Send a follow-up email promptly.
  • Summarize key takeaways, action items, and deadlines in the email.
  • Utilize a shared document platform like Google Docs, so participants can easily access the meeting summary.
  • Share the transcript for those who may benefit from a detailed review of the meeting.

Tip: You can use Maestra to instantly transcribe your meetings with AI. Coming in 125+ languages, the tool can turn your meeting recording into a polished transcript within seconds. Plus, you can easily share the transcript via Maestra Teams, which allows you to collaborate on the document with your colleagues in real time.

White wall clocks on pastel background, symbolizing how to end a meeting on time.

How to End a Meeting Productively

Don’t let the momentum die as the meeting is nearing its conclusion. Here is how to end a meeting with a clear path forward:

  1. Summarize key decisions and next steps.
  • Assign ownership for each action item.
  • Reiterate important deadlines to secure timely completion of tasks.
  • Utilize a project management tool like ClickUp or Asana to record decisions and track progress.
  1. Use action-oriented language.
  • Instead of vague statements, assign clear ownership. For example, say “John will draft the report and share it with the team by [date].
  • Quantify when possible. For example, say “The marketing team will finalize the plan by next Tuesday.”
  • State desired outcomes. For example, say “Sarah will update the client on the project status to make sure they are informed.”
  1. Connect the meeting to overall goals.
  • After summarizing key decisions, emphasize how these decisions contribute to achieving the overall goals.
  • If appropriate, use a visual roadmap or project timeline to highlight the bigger picture.
  • You may want to schedule a recurring check-in update for ongoing alignment.
  1. Clarify unresolved issues.
  • Facilitate an open discussion by asking, “Does anyone have any questions or concerns before we wrap up?”
  • Set a time limit for the open discussion, and don’t let it derail.
  • Decide how unresolved issues will be addressed, whether through a follow-up meeting or delegation of responsible individuals.
  1. Gather feedback after the meeting.
  • Craft questions on time management, such as “Did the meeting end at a reasonable time?”, to improve future meetings.
  • Consider including a recurring question in your survey to track progress over time. (e.g. Compared to previous meetings, how effective was this meeting in using time efficiently?)
  • Limit the number of questions to avoid overwhelming participants.
An empty to do list on a green post-it.

How to End a Meeting on a Positive Note

A well-run meeting doesn’t just cover important points; it leaves participants feeling engaged, motivated, and ready to take action. Here are some actionable tips on how to end a meeting on a positive note:

  1. Express gratitude and appreciation.
  • Thank everyone for their time and contributions.
  • Acknowledge specific contributions by mentioning someone who offered a unique perspective or valuable insight.
  • If the meeting required additional work beforehand, express gratitude for preparation and willingness to go the extra mile.
  1. Recognize individual and team achievements.
  • Highlight a recent success, like a project milestone achieved or a positive outcome directly related to the meeting’s topic.
  • Celebrate individual accomplishments by publicly acknowledging someone’s outstanding work or personal development.
  • Offer team encouragement by emphasizing the team’s strengths and their collaborative efforts.
  1. Use positive body language.
  • Maintain good posture and eye contact to keep everyone engaged.
  • Smile and use an enthusiastic tone to spread positive energy.
  • Vary your tone to avoid monotone delivery.
  1. Extend your support.
  • Phrase it proactively. For example, say “Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, or need further clarification on anything discussed today.”
  • Specify your preferred method of communication. For example, say “Feel free to email me directly, or schedule some time on my calendar if you’d like to discuss things further.”
  • If there are relevant resources like reports or meeting minutes, mention your willingness to share them.
  1. Highlight upcoming events or opportunities.
  • Connect the events to the meeting topic, and explain how they relate to the discussion.
  • Frame upcoming events as opportunities for growth, collaboration, or problem-solving.
  • Share a document or calendar invite that summarizes key details about upcoming events.
Two people laughing during a meeting.

How to End a Meeting in a Fun Way

What if you want to spice up your meeting finale with some creative ideas. Here is how to end a meeting in a fun way:

  1. Have a quick poll or quiz.
  • Tailor your poll or quiz to the meeting topic for a touch of lighthearted review.
  • Aim for 2-3 questions to avoid dragging out the meeting.
  • Share the results creatively with a chart or graph. (Platforms like Mentimeter or Kahoot! are easy to use, and offer cool visualization.)
  1. Share a fun fact or quote.
  • Choose a fact or quote that reinforces a key point discussed.
  • A for a single, memorable statement to keep it impactful.
  • Pin the fact or quote to a shared workspace for future reference.
  1. Run a compliment circle.
  • Set the tone, and start by acknowledging someone’s contribution.
  • Go around the room and encourage everyone to share a sincere appreciation for a colleague.
  • Emphasize specific actions or ideas that stood out.
  1. Celebrate with virtual cheers or applause.
  • Match the level of celebration to the meeting’s outcome.
  • Share celebratory GIFs or memes on the screen to inject some humor.
  • Play a short clip of applause or cheering audio to amplify the mood.
  1. Gather feedback via emojis.
  • Include happy, neutral, and sad faces to detect the overall sentiment.
  • Utilize anonymous polling tools to encourage honest feedback.
  • Use the feedback to improve future meetings.
A group of colorful speech bubbles with facial expressions drawn on them.

How to End a Meeting: Special Cases

Sometimes things can go a little off-script, and you may need to face unexpected challenges as the host. Here are 5 tricky scenarios, and strategies on how to navigate through them without losing your composure.

  1. The meeting may go off-track.
  • Acknowledge the departure, and gently refocus on the agenda. For example, say “That’s an interesting point, but let’s circle back to [original topic].”
  • Suggest saving the side discussion for later. For example, say “This is a valuable point, perhaps we can discuss it further after the meeting?”
  • If necessary, redirect the conversation politely but firmly. For example, say “Thank you for your input, but let’s move on to the next agenda item.”
  1. You may have to deal with a difficult participant.
  • Excuse yourself and the participant briefly to discuss their behavior away from the group.
  • Acknowledge the participant’s concerns, but maintain control. For example, say “I understand your frustration, but let’s allow everyone a chance to speak.”
  • If necessary, mute the participant’s microphone or end their session. (Use this as a last resort.)
  1. You may have to end the meeting early.
  • Assess group consensus. For example, say “Does everyone feel comfortable wrapping up now?”
  • Don’t forget to summarize key points and action items. For example, say “Let’s quickly review the main takeaways and next steps.”
  • Reschedule for further discussion. For example, say “Since we haven’t covered everything, let’s schedule another meeting to address the remaining points.”
  1. You may have to leave the meeting early.
  • Apologize for the early exit. For example, say “I’m so sorry, something unexpected has come up that needs my immediate attention.”
  • Appoint a temporary leader. For example, say “Unfortunately, I need to leave shortly. [Name] will guide the discussion for the remaining items.”
  • Schedule a follow-up. For example, say “Let’s connect after the meeting to discuss any remaining questions.”
  1. The meeting may end with no clear decisions.
  • Assign tasks for further investigation. For example, say “Let’s assign [Name(s)] to research [topic] and report back at the next meeting.”
  • Seek additional input if expertise is lacking. For example, say “Perhaps having [expert’s name] join us next time could be helpful.”
  • Maintain a positive outlook. For example, say “Even though we haven’t decided today, these discussions have been productive. I’m confident we’ll find a solution soon.”
Five people conducting a meeting, one attending via a conference call.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you politely end a meeting?

Here’s how to end a meeting politely: First, check if all agenda items are covered and ask for final thoughts. Then, thank everyone for their contributions, and summarize key takeaways and next steps. You can adjust the closing depending on whether the meeting ended on time, early or late.

What is a good closing activity for a meeting?

This depends on the type of the meeting and the size of the group. For shorter meetings, you can use a simple prompt like “One takeaway, one question”, where participants can share key learnings and lingering questions. For meetings with clear next steps, everyone can write down their action items on a sticky note and share them with the group.

How do I politely leave an online meeting?

To politely exit an online meeting, explain you have another commitment and thank others for their time. Mention how you’ll stay on top of things. If you can’t speak up, type a quick message explaining why you need to leave.

What is the most common mistake that happens in a meeting?

Two most common meeting mistakes are poor agenda planning and poor time management. Both are equally important. Without a clear roadmap, meetings can lose focus, overrun, and waste valuable time. Meanwhile, not starting or ending the meeting promptly can lead to frustration among attendees and disrupt productivity.


This blog shared 25 actionable tips on how to end a meeting, with sections dedicated to time management, productivity, positivity, fun, and tricky scenarios. It also drew attention to why a strong meeting conclusion matters, and how it can benefit the participants.

By following the guidance in this blog, you can solidify next steps, boost morale, and prepare your team for continued success. Ultimately, mastering the art of ending a meeting can be the starting point for action and achievement.

Serra Ardem

About Serra Ardem

Serra Ardem is a freelance writer and editor based in Istanbul. For the last 8 years, she has been collaborating with brands and businesses to tell their unique story and develop their verbal identity.