Every meeting deserves a written recap. Yes, every meeting.
But hear me out. It doesn’t have to take much time and effort, but will definitely save you both in the long run.
Why send a meeting recap?
Sending a meeting recap has 2 primary purposes:
- It ensures everyone is on the same page. Wait, isn’t that what the meeting was for? Well, sure. But I know I’ve been in situations where everyone left a meeting thinking they were on the same page, and then the next meeting revealed that folks were confused about who was doing what, so nothing got done in the interim. Another week wasted. A recap gives everyone the chance to ensure we all agreed to the same things, had the same takeaways and for folks to bring up any discrepancies.
- It ensures those who didn’t attend are kept in the loop. If you read my recent article about easy meeting agendas, you’ll remember that one of the “3 Ps” is “people” and that in every meeting, each person should have a unique, differentiated, and necessary role that is required to enact the purpose of the meeting. This means that there will be people who need to know what happened in the meeting, who were not actually invited to the meeting.
What do you put in the meeting recap?
All you need to do is remember the 4 Ws!:
- What was discussed, and most importantly, decided, in this meeting?
- What’s the rationale for any decisions made? If you’ve ever been in the frustrating situation where you’re trying to remember why you made a decision last month and you’re thinking “Well, we must have had a good reason”, you’ll know why documenting the rationale, in the moment, saves time and energy in the long run.
- Coming out of this meeting, who’s doing what? What are the action items and to whom are they assigned?
- When will the action items be completed?
The written recap doesn’t have to be formal. Bullet points are just fine. Slack is fine. So is email. Full sentences are optional.
But every meeting deserves a meeting recap.
Wondering just when you’ll find the time, given you’re in back-to-back meetings all day?
Do it in the last 5 minutes of the meeting itself, which has the added benefit of giving everyone the time to put their own action items into their task systems before moving on to the next meeting. Trust me, they’ll thank you!