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Better Meetings

How to write a meeting recap [with template & example]

Meeting recap blog post featured image

You know those days when you finish up with one meeting, jump to another, then reply to a mountain of emails and Slack messages when you’re done? 

When you’ve finally jumped off your video conferencing tool, you’ve forgotten everything that was discussed in the meetings because your brain is basically mush. 

To avoid this scenario, it’s best to have a good meeting recap ready as soon as the discussion ends. This guide is all about that: how to write effective meeting recaps, when to send them, and how the right meeting software can help. 

Table of contents

  • What is a meeting recap?

  • Meeting recap vs. meeting minutes

  • When should you send a meeting recap email?

  • 8 tips for writing an effective meeting recap

  • Meeting recap example

  • Meeting recap template

What is a meeting recap?

A meeting recap summarizes all the key information discussed in a meeting. It’s distributed to everyone invited to that meeting, including team members, clients, and stakeholders. 

You usually send a meeting recap by email (or your meeting software might do this for you 😉 — more on that later).

The key parts of a typical meeting recap are:

  • Agenda items (and main talking points for each)

  • Decisions made

  • Action items (with deadlines)

  • Outstanding questions

Meeting recaps ensure everyone is on the same page, even when some people can’t attend the meeting. They also help to establish team accountability for all action items in a meeting and to reinforce decision-making.

Meeting recap vs. meeting minutes

The main difference between a meeting recap and meeting minutes is that meeting minutes are a formal record of meetings whereas a meeting recap is a quick, informal summary.

Meeting minutes include formalities like the date and everyone who attended, as well as topics discussed, key decisions made (or votes), how the meeting progressed, and more. 

After a board or committee meeting, for example, you may want to share detailed minutes with everyone so they can get an overview of the meeting and reference it in future discussions. 

Meeting recaps, on the other hand, are more informal summaries of what happened, to help keep people on track for the next steps. An effective meeting recap presents the most important information on what happened in a meeting, ensuring that all stakeholders are clear as to their responsibilities and contributions within a project.

Both minutes and recaps can be effective in keeping everyone on the same page and focused on action items and key takeaways.

When should you send a meeting recap email?

To ensure productivity isn’t hampered as soon as employees leave the meeting, it’s important to send meeting recaps shortly after the meeting, ideally within 24 hours.

The purpose of a meeting recap isn’t to renew the discussion but to capture the key takeaways and share knowledge across your team. Plus, if you want to give non-attendees a clear overview of what happened in a meeting and help them take actionable steps, a quick meeting recap might be all you need. 

If you’re using a meeting platform like Vowel, you’re in for a treat because the tool makes the meeting recap process super easy. As soon as a meeting is over, you get instant access to the recording, transcript, notes, action items, and recap (with shared links and bookmarks) — all in one spot, with nothing to download. 

And with AI-powered meeting summaries, you get a TLDR of the meeting right when you hang up — the summary is generated based on the transcript and is easy to edit, copy and paste. No more writing manual summaries from scratch!

AI-Meeting Summaries

At the end of the day, you get your meeting notes in your inbox to remind you what happened. You also get an overview of all your past and future meetings, which makes it easier for you to keep track. 

Meeting summary email from Vowel

Lastly, if you were invited to a meeting but didn’t attend, you still get the meeting recap and recording in your dashboard automatically, without having to ask the host to share.

8 tips for writing an effective meeting recap

Now that you’re caught up with what a meeting recap is and why it's important, let’s focus on how you write one. 

1. Thank everyone for their time

Begin by thanking all the participants for attending. Also, thank those who presented any data or reports in the meeting. 

Ensure you show enthusiasm for the main points discussed and the goals that need to be accomplished, to set a positive tone for the entire summary.

2. Share what was discussed during the meeting

It’s now time to share all the important points discussed and provide a brief overview of what happened in the meeting. 

As mentioned earlier, consider including the following:

  • Important discussion points that require attention or further action

  • Decisions made

  • Outstanding questions (and answers to key questions discussed, if you have them)

  • Action items + next steps

We know what you're thinking! 🔮 “Capturing the essence of an entire meeting by taking detailed notes could distract me from the discussion.” 

That's what a video conferencing tool with built-in live transcription (like Vowel!) is for. It allows you to capture a full record of the meeting and search by keyword later, while also taking collaborative meeting notes with everyone in attendance.

Vowel meeting with shared notepad

The on-demand recording feature allows meeting participants to jump right to the point in the video where certain meeting agenda items were covered as well as bookmark important moments. 

This naturally allows you to save time when reviewing meetings and easily find the important parts!

3. List action items

It's important to highlight the actions items that come out of a meeting so people know what the next steps are.

List each item with the team member it’s assigned to and, ideally, the due date. Be clear about key action items and, if it makes sense for your workflow, add them to your project management tool. 

Tip: You can add action items right in Vowel's shared notes by typing "/action" and tagging members of your team.

4. Include any supporting documents

A productive meeting recap might also include supporting documents to foster accountability for your team members and ensure everyone has access to project guidelines, presentations, design files, or any other relevant docs shared during a meeting. 

This eliminates the need for different people to ask, “Can you share that link with me?” after the meeting is over.  

5. Remind recipients of the next meeting (if there is one)

Your next meeting will likely have a date set already, so make sure to include the meeting time in your meeting recap email if it’s not a recurring meeting, e.g.  “Reminder: Next meeting is Oct. 26 at 2:00 pm.“

If you don’t have the date set yet, you can still mention that the date for an upcoming meeting is “to be decided” and put the goal of the next meeting in there if it’s ready.

6. Share notes

Sharing meeting notes with everyone involved means you can all subsequently remind yourselves of key points, if necessary. 

In Vowel, team members can take shared notes live during a meeting, with every note being time-stamped to the transcript and video.

Shared meeting notes in Vowel

The best thing about collaborative note-taking is that every team member walks away with the same set of notes in their Vowel account, instead of keeping separate notes and potentially missing out on significant input shared in the meeting. 

7. Decide who the recipients are

This is easy enough: send meeting recaps to all meeting participants, including any team members who were absent. If there’s another team member who could benefit from reviewing the meeting, you can also share it with them.

8. Proofread your recap before sending it

You’ve compiled the information and it’s time to look it over so you can spot any grammar or spelling errors. This is the perfect time to check the information you’re sending and exclude anything that seems irrelevant.

Meeting recap example and template

To create an on-point meeting recap, write concise sentences so that your recap has an impact. Here’s an example of how your recap email could look:

Hey all,

Thank you for a great meeting today! This is a quick recap of what we discussed.

Objective: Discuss our quarterly results and key figures to determine wins and losses, and identify areas of improvement.

Conversation points:

  • Missed target: Social media engagement fell by 12%

  • Missed target: we need improve customer conversion rate by 3%

  • Hiring needs: 2 additions to the customer support team

Action points:

  • Hire 2 more customer support agents to improve customer satisfaction and retention

  • Implement A/B testing for social media posts to address engagement issues

  • Start posting our open positions on job sites and reach out internally for recommendations

Our next in-person meeting will be on October 24th, 2022. Don’t hesitate to contact me for any clarifications, questions, or updates. 

Thank you, 

Michael Scott

Tip: Use this free meeting recap template to help you quickly summarize your upcoming meetings.

Get automated meeting recaps instantly with Vowel

A quick recap with key takeaways is just what you need to keep everyone in the loop and prevent knowledge gaps.

With Vowel, you can shift from old-school processing after a meeting is over to getting an instant, AI-powered summary when you hang up.

The summary is linked to the video, transcript, notes, and actions items — it's a single spot for all the meeting context, and eliminates the need to write up recap emails or documents.

AI-powered meeting summary

Ready to do more with your meetings and turn them into searchable, shareable knowledge? Try Vowel for free!