It takes time, effort, and skill to ensure a meeting is a success.

From getting all attendees to stay on task to making sure not to run too long, when everything comes together, a successful meeting is a thing of beauty.

One way to ensure that a meeting is truly a success is to be sure that, once it’s come to a close, there are clear and actionable meeting takeaways that all attendees are left with. Because let’s be honest, if everyone is going to come together for 30-60 minutes, you want it to be worth it, right?

If you’re unsure how to accomplish ending the meeting with takeaways that have a purpose, Fellow is here to break it all down.

What are meeting takeaways?

Meeting takeaways are the conclusions or actionable items that your team walks away with once the meeting has come to a close. A meeting takeaway can also include the details surrounding what a member of your team has committed to completing by the next meeting.

Once the meeting is over, the takeaways are usually sent out in the form of a meeting recap email to the attendees and others who weren’t able to join but are interested in knowing what was discussed. They’re sent out to avoid any confusion surrounding the discussion points and can serve as a reminder to all as to what’s expected of each person to complete or make progress on.

The importance of meeting takeaways 

Why are meeting takeaways so important to have? 

Not only do meeting takeaways make it possible to easily create new ideas for the next meeting, but takeaways can also increase involvement from all meeting attendees, allowing for better communication and more productive discussions. The more attendees who are engaged in the topics of discussion, the better the ideas, as well as a better sense of teamwork for all.

Having takeaways at the end of a meeting can also create an increase in organization, as everyone knows exactly what is expected of them, what everyone else on their team is working on, and who to go to if they have follow-up questions. Takeaways can also include updates on timelines, project milestones, goals, and it’s always good for the team to have a refresher on where projects or assignments stand.

At the end of the day, the takeaways you have once a meeting has concluded can be an indicator for how the meeting went, if the conversations stayed on track, and whether or not the team knows what they need to work on moving forward.

Manager and report question illustration

Key takeaways you should have after a meeting 

After a meeting has come to an end, what are the key takeaways you and your team should walk away with?

1 Status updates

If the meeting was run effectively, one key takeaway should be that everyone is clued in regarding status updates on items that matter most to you, your team, and the goals you have in place. This will provide insights into where your team is on project timelines and if you’ll hit the various milestones that have been set to reach. Because members often join meetings with the hope of receiving a status update, from either something they’re working on or something they’re interested in knowing more about, make sure that the meeting provides this update in the form of a key takeaway or need-to-know message they can walk away with.

2 New concepts or decisions

Another must-have key takeaway after a meeting is over is at least one new concept or decision. When your team meets to have a brainstorming session, to consider a new strategy, or to come to a general consensus on an issue, a key takeaway regarding what was decided on is an added benefit and shows the meeting was a success. If a decision wasn’t agreed upon – that’s okay. Maybe instead your team walks away with a takeaway that consists of finding a new way to get everyone on board with a new approach or strategy.

3 Smaller details or next steps

Meeting takeaways can also look like smaller details that your team may need to do their necessary tasks or responsibilities. For instance, maybe they need more information on how to contact or get in touch with someone, either in a different department or a new client. Having their email or phone number could be a key takeaway. Or, maybe your team needs to know the date and time of the next meeting or an event that is taking place. Both of these are takeaways your team should leave the meeting with.

4 Follow-up items

Finally, some of the most important takeaways are in the form of follow-up items and deadline information. If your team doesn’t know what is expected of them, and when they need to have a task crossed off their to-do list, what was the point of the meeting?

To get a better understanding of what a key takeaway could look like for you and your team, think about why you’re coming together in the first place, what you’re looking to solve, and what you’d like to discuss. Whatever becomes the most pertinent and need-to-know information, the urgent action items, or the conclusion you walk away with, those are the key takeaways that made the meeting worth having.  

Examples of meeting takeaways 

Depending on the type of meeting that is taking place, the industry your business is in, and the stakeholders who are attending, the takeaways will look vastly different. Below are some examples of what a meeting takeaway could sound like. 

  • Hiring is ramping up and we are looking to interview, hire, and onboard three new sales representatives over the next two months.
  • Emma has committed to publishing five new articles to the blog before the end of this month as a way to increase website traffic and conversions.
  • A plan is in place to initiate a hybrid work model for employees that have expressed interest.
  • Jordan will be sending out an introduction email with the details of our new client in a neighboring city, detailing the best way to work with them going further and the goals we have set as a department. 
  • The team has agreed to increase our meeting cadence as a way to provide more updates on this quarter’s top projects and ensure we stay on task and hit our goals.

How to share the takeaways after the meeting 

Next, it’s time to share the takeaways once the meeting is over.

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to attend, and those who did attend could remember everything that was talked about, decided upon, or mentioned.

A perfect world is not where we live, so it’s crucial that you send an email that includes a meeting recap to all of those who were in attendance, those that couldn’t make the meeting, anyone who may have joined late, and all key stakeholders that were interested in some of the discussion points.

In addition to including the overall meeting agenda, be sure to share the meeting notes. Then, include the key takeaways. This will provide a good refresher of what to keep in mind, what needs to be worked on, and what is expected at the next meeting. This can be a simple summary of the most important meeting action items and discussion points. While you may feel like this can start to be repetitive, not only does it leave a paper (or electronic!) trail, but it can also ensure there are no questions or uncertainties for what’s to come.

Finally, the message can include any follow-ups that are still needed from members of the team, remaining questions, or general things to keep in mind.

Pro tip

Use a meeting management software like Fellow to easily send meeting recaps with a simple click of a button via email or Slack so that everyone feels like they were a part of the discussion!

What’s next?

Nothing is worse than spending time planning for a meeting and making sure everyone can attend only to feel like the attendees left without a clear plan of action, the conversation went off the rails, or that the meeting wasn’t as effective as you had hoped. Try not to feel frustrated if the takeaways you’re left with aren’t as action-focused as you wanted them to be, or there are fewer takeaways in this meeting than the last one.

Every meeting is going to look different, but if everyone leaves the conference room or signs off the virtual call feeling like they know exactly what is expected of them, the meeting was a success!