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How to Write a Meeting Recap [With Templates]

Explore how simple meeting recaps can help your team host more productive sessions and keep everyone accountable before, during, and after meetings. Plus, get meeting recap examples to use in the future.

By Brier Cook  •   November 9, 2023  •   7 min read

We’ve all attended meetings that have left us feeling confused and frustrated. While organizations spend roughly 15% of their time on meetings, surveys show that over 70% of those meetings are unproductive. Meetings that are too long, lack focus, or are riddled with distractions are bound to be a waste of time for everyone! 

Luckily, there are tools and strategies that teams across industries can use to host more intentional, productive meetings. Read on to learn about meeting recaps, see how they differ from meeting minutes, explore best practices for writing recaps, see meeting recap templates, and view how Fellow can help your team automate your recaps today!

What is a meeting recap?

A meeting recap refers to a summary of a meeting and includes all important topics, talking points, and other aspects covered during a session. The purpose of a recap is to keep all meeting attendees on the same page once a meeting ends and to inform those who couldn’t attend of any new updates. After a meeting ends, a meeting recap is distributed to everyone who was invited to the meeting, including employees, clients, customers, and other internal and external stakeholders. A recap usually includes a list of agenda items, decisions made, and outstanding questions. It should also include any new deadlines or objectives as well as action items assigned to attendees.  

Structured, actionable recaps that make follow-ups easy

Don’t let great ideas and vital action items get lost in the shuffle! With Fellow.app, you can effortlessly capture every insight, task, and decision from your meetings.

Meeting recap vs. meeting minutes

The difference between a meeting recap and meeting minutes is that meeting minutes are the official record of what was discussed, who was in attendance, and what decisions were made. On one hand, meeting minutes outline a plan of action and objectively summarize the major points of what happened at the meeting. On the other hand, a meeting recap is a more informal record of events that employees and other attendees can edit and revise. Meeting recaps are also usually sent by email, in a message, or a briefing document via your team’s meeting software of choice. 

The benefits of meeting recaps 

What happens after a meeting is just as important as what happens during a meeting. Meeting recaps hold attendees accountable for the tasks and action items they’re assigned during sessions. They encourage individuals to follow through on what was discussed and remind employees of the short- and long-term goals they are working towards as a part of the team. Additionally, recaps put things into perspective for the group so there are always goals with a concrete plan of action for employees to review. 

How to write a meeting recap

1State the primary goals of the meeting

Primary goals are a group’s innermost driving force. Before the meeting, determine why certain individuals on your team or at your company are meeting. This why should be the drive behind what you do and how you do it. When you send your meeting invitation, include a simple statement that defines the desired outcome of the meeting. Restate this objective to include in the meeting recap after the meeting ends. Each person should leave the meeting knowing their exact next steps, and these next steps should be outlined in the recap as well. 

2Note the decisions that were made

Note each decision that was made in your recap for individuals to refer back to when needed. Aim to make the recap clear and concise so that everyone—including those who were unable to attend—understands what was discussed, why certain decisions were made, and what their next steps are. 

3Recap action items

Highlight meeting action items in the meeting recap so that everybody knows what their next steps are. Use Fellow to assign action items to specific attendees with due dates so it’s clear who is responsible for each task and when each item is due.

4Summarize talking points 

Use bullet points or clear headers to summarize key takeaways in your meeting recap. Try writing down one point or idea for each bullet to prevent wordy summaries. Highlight the final consensus as well as the next steps for each point, and if necessary, provide context for those who couldn’t attend as well as information on how the group came to each decision. 

5Include documents referenced during the meeting 

Include documents like slide decks, videos, documents, or meeting recordings in your meeting recap for easy reference. Better yet, use Fellow to embed media directly from platforms like YouTube, Miro, Loom, Google Docs, Trello, Spotify, and more into your recap! 

6Add the next meeting’s date and time

At the end of the recap, include information about when and where the next session will take place. For remote and hybrid meetings, add a meeting link; for in-person meetings, include details about the room or building where the next session will be held. 

7Thank meeting attendees

A meeting recap example could include a first line such as: “Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to attend our last meeting.”

Showing appreciation builds goodwill! Include a quick thank you note to attendees in your meeting recap communications to show everyone that you appreciate their hard work and input. 

8Decide to whom you should send it 

Meeting recaps should be sent to individuals who attended the meeting, individuals who were invited but couldn’t attend, anyone who was assigned an action item during the meeting, and other relevant stakeholders who need to be kept in the loop about specific projects or topics that were discussed. Make a list of whom the meeting recap must be sent to in advance to ensure you include all of the necessary details. 

9Send it within 24 hours of the meeting

Meeting recaps should be sent in a timely manner. Strive to send them within 24 hours of each meeting so that individuals are reminded of key takeaways while the meeting is still fresh in their minds. You can even send meeting recaps to non-attendees if you want to give others an overview of what happened during a session. 

Meeting recap template

Any great meeting recap example follows our nine outlined steps. Here is what a meeting recap template email could look like following a recurring team meeting: 

Hello everyone,

Thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedules to meet today. Here is a recap of what we discussed:

Meeting objective: Discuss progress on quarterly KPIs to determine what the group is doing well and identify where we can make improvements. 

Meeting points:

  • Major win: The total audience growth rate across our company’s social media channels grew by 22% this quarter, surpassing our original goal of 15%. 
  • Missed target: Web conversion rate from social media fell by 7%, meaning we aren’t generating as many leads as needed from our content. 
  • Hiring needs: One addition to the social media marketing team to improve engagement and grow our following on TikTok. 

Action items: 

  • Chloe: Work with growth marketing team at company to develop new, higher social media KPIs by November 2. 
  • Antoine: Conduct social media audit and revise web conversion strategy by October 31. 
  • Bilal: Draft job description for new social media coordinator position and reach out to HR to coordinate and finalize details about job posting by November 1. 

How to get automated meeting recaps with Fellow

“I love the automation of Fellow to remind the team to fill out the agenda before the meeting starts and the recap of what was discussed after the meeting is over. I also like how I can organize all my action items to make sure I don’t forget anything before the next meeting.”

Fellow G2 review

Meeting recaps are great, but having a tool that automates them for you is even better! Using Fellow’s AI meeting transcription and AI summaries, you can automatically capture discussions in Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom. Then, generate important insights, decisions, and actions using our AI meeting summaries tool to share with the group. With our tool, meeting participants can even view all their meeting agendas together in a stream so everyone knows when the next session is and how to prepare for it. 

Fellow is so much more than an AI summary tool! Your team can use our all-in-one meeting tool to host productive team sessions and one-on-ones, build collaborative agendas, record decisions, and keep everyone accountable for their objectives. 

Parting advice 

Say goodbye to meetings that lack focus and leave participants feeling confused. With effective meeting recaps, all meeting attendees can receive a basic overview of each meeting, a list of clear action items, outlined deadlines for upcoming tasks and projects, and information about other topics that were covered. Use our meeting recap template if you need some help getting started. 

The best part is that employee engagement and morale are bound to soar during meetings when attendees know the key objectives and takeaways!

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