How to Write a Meeting Summary

Are you having difficulty writing a meeting summary and do not know where to start and what to include? This article will guide you through the process and help you write it in the best way possible. 

First of all, let us see what the meeting summary is so we can have a basic impression of it. Meeting summaries are used to demonstrate general information about a meeting such as a date, location, time, main agenda of the meeting, main topics that have been discussed, information about the attendees, decisions that have been made, and overall conclusion.  There are some points that need to be considered in order to write a successful meeting summary. Below are some tips that will make the writing process easier and efficient.

Before the meeting:

  • If the summary is written for someone else (initiator), their expectations of the summary document should be confirmed and taken as a lead before the meeting.
  • It is recommended to have a meeting summary template beforehand in order to take notes directly on it. There are different types of templates. Make sure you have one with a clear structure that you can use for different kinds of meetings.
  • Having access to the meeting agenda helps to get familiar with the topic and form a first impression about the possible outcomes and decisions that can be made during the meeting.
  • Prepare some tools that will be useful, such as pen, paper (meeting summary template), voice recorder, and other important documents.

During the meeting:

  • Listen carefully to everything, be objective, do not get distracted by anything
  • Compare what was on the agenda, if it was said during the meeting and which important factors were not discussed
  • Write down and record important decisions and people who made them or opposed against. One key point: Do not add your opinion to it.  

As soon as the meeting has ended, review everything you wrote, filter the most important parts, compare the notes with the other documents you had beforehand, and if necessary, listen to the voice recorder to clarify. The meeting summary should be precise. The following information should be added to a summary:

  • The main agenda, purpose
  • List of the attendees, also those who were invited but could not make it
  • The date, location, start and end hours, and how long it lasted
  • Name of the initiator, host of the meeting
  • List of the discussed key points of the agenda
  • The decisions and outcome.
  • Whether the meeting accomplished its goal
  • List of the topics, ideas that will be discussed in upcoming meetings (if mentioned).

Once you finished writing the summary that contains the information above, it is time to evaluate it before it is given to the initiator. The information should be clear, neat, without any exaggeration.

Does it meet the expectations of the reader? Do they get all the necessary information out of it? Can it be used as a reference for future meetings? A successful summary should have a positive answer to all these questions. To speak figuratively, you should put yourself in the reader’s shoes when writing the summary. This way, you can see it from the reader’s point of view.