We (more than) occasionally write about productivity and meetings, primarily because we believe our tools help participants get more out of a meeting. But the meeting isn’t the end of what needs to happen – it’s merely a platform to discuss ideas and determine future actions. That’s why we wanted to share a few best practices for what to do after the meeting is over.
One of the problems with meetings is not having a proper meeting plan, so we’ll assume that you have at least tackled that. By having a proper meeting plan, though, you are more likely to get results. Why? Because you’re focused on the activities that matter most after the meeting. And that is why the most important thing to do after the meeting is to provide a meeting recap note. What’s in it? Here’s our recipe for a successful post-meeting note.
1. Use a Good Subject Line to Help Participants Read & Act
“Meeting Follow-Up” is one ingredient in your post-meeting email, but it’s not enough. Give some context: Website Design Meeting Action Plan [2016-03-03]
2. Say Thank You
Set the tone, and personalize it. Yes, even in business, you’ll get better cooperation for gratitude and positive feedback (even if a meeting was contentious).
3. Include Relevant Meeting Details
Include the meeting name, date, purpose, initial goals and location. First, including relevant meeting details helps keep an accurate record of the meeting. Second, all too often, we’re trying to retrieve an email later. If the subject line didn’t prompt enough, sometimes other details can. For example, if the meeting was at a special location (e.g., an offsite meeting), someone may search for that location name.
4. List Attendees
Provide a list of meeting participants (including anyone who may have worked remotely). It can also be helpful to list everyone who was invited, so the team instantly knows who missed any information (keep a “Did Not Attend” list).
5. Describe Items Discussed
If you’re working from a preset agenda, include that agenda with complete (clean) notes for what was covered during the discussion. Again, these notes provide a representation of the meeting.
6. Outline Any Unfinished Business
If there were any agenda items not discussed or postponed for future meetings, note them separately.
7. Document ALL Action Items
The most important element of your meeting follow-up is a complete list of follow-up actions. List the actions, relevant due dates, “owner” (person responsible), any other participants involved, and the priority.
8. Note Any Future Meeting Plans
If any of the action items are follow-up meetings, add them to the schedule as soon as possible.
9. Ask for Feedback
Provide all participants with an opportunity to ask questions or refine any of the points listed. We’re certainly not big fans of REPLY ALL, so individual responses can be collated and distributed.
Sample “What To Do AFTER the Meeting” Email
From: Scott [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2016 12:18 PM
To: Scott B [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org], Amy [mailto:email@example.com]
Subject: Website Design Meeting Action Plan [2016-03-17]
Hi, Scott, Amy and John:
Thank you for taking time to meet to discuss the website updates. I am confident we’ll be able to meet the deadlines we discussed. As a follow-up, here are my cleaned-up notes I took on my iPad using CaptureNotes.
Meeting: Website Design Plan
Date: March 17, 2016
Purpose: Review website results from January & February
Location: G8R Software HQ
Attendees: Scott, Scott, Amy
Invited: Scott, Scott, Amy, [John]
Website traffic up 20% YTD
Time on Site up 10% YTD
Conversions up 0.5%
Need to add landing pages to address individual markets: high school students, college students, government, corporate
Do more split testing for each landing page (minimum 1 test per page per month)
Blog traffic is growing
High interest in business meetings as a topic
Need to include DOWNLOAD link on blog articles
Productivity Statistics (out of time)
Business Meeting Statistics (out of time)
Item Due Date PRP Team Priority
Design landing page template March 31 Scott WC Scott EC 1
Create proof of concept landing page for high school students April 8 Scott WC 2
Keyword research for high school students March 31 Amy 2
Meeting with local high school principal March 31 John 2
Our next meeting will be Monday, April 11 at G8R HQ to review progress on these action items. Time TBD.
Please let me know if you have any questions or changes for my notes above. I’ll take everyone’s feedback and re-circulate, if needed.
Make It Accessible
If you can, record actions in a shared checklist that all relevant people can see and/or access (project software like Basecamp or Trello will suffice). It helps preparation for the next meeting, including providing a summary of actions at the next meeting. Most importantly, it ensures that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and that tasks are being completed.
Planning “What To Do AFTER the Meeting”
Knowing where you’re going is a key ingredient to knowing where to start. We suggest using this outline to drive your next meeting agenda. That is, what you really want out of a meeting is results, and these concepts are just that!