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How to Write the Perfect Meeting Summary (with Templates and Examples)

Max Gayler
September 26, 2023
Remote Works

I know what you’re thinking, “how can a meeting summary be perfect?”, “Don’t people just want quick and easy meeting summaries?”, “How can I get out of writing this meeting summary?” Well, the good news is we’re going to help with answering all of these questions together in this short post.

Writing out meeting summaries might seem like a thing of the past but they’re actually incredibly useful for tracking and accountability. 

Too many good ideas get left behind in meetings, and by being proactive about logging each discussion, your business can work so much faster and build a hub of information your whole team can use.

What is a Meeting Summary?

A meeting summary is a concise, well-structured document that captures the key points, decisions, and action items discussed during a meeting. In other words, it’s a summary of everything that was said.

It serves as a valuable reference tool, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and that important details aren't lost in the ether.

Meeting Summary vs. Meeting Minutes

Before diving into the art of crafting a meeting summary, it's crucial to understand the distinction between a meeting summary and meeting minutes.

Meeting Summary:

  • Created AFTER a meeting.
  • Concise and focused on essential points.
  • Easy to read and digest.
  • Typically used for quick updates, stand-up meetings, or daily huddles.
  • Emphasizes action items and decisions.

Meeting Minutes:

  • Created DURING a meeting.
  • Comprehensive and detailed.
  • Follows a formal structure.
  • Usually required for official meetings, board meetings, or legal purposes.
  • Includes verbatim transcripts and formal resolutions.

Now that we've clarified the difference, let's explore when to use each.

When Should I Use a Meeting Summary?

Meeting summaries are your go-to choice when:

  • You want to keep your team informed without overwhelming them with excessive details.
  • The meeting is relatively informal, such as team catch-ups or brainstorming sessions.
  • You need a quick reference guide for action items and decisions.
  • Your goal is to foster collaboration and transparency within your team.

This is really useful for things like catch up meetings or when a meeting is short and to the point.

In these situations, a concise meeting summary strikes the perfect balance between brevity and clarity.

When Should I Use Meeting Minutes?

On the other hand, opt for meeting minutes when:

  • The meeting involves significant decisions, contracts, or formal resolutions.
  • You need an official record of the discussion, including verbatim transcripts.
  • The meeting is with external stakeholders, such as clients or regulatory bodies.
  • You're dealing with legal or compliance requirements.

Meeting minutes provide a more formal and detailed account of the meeting, ensuring that all legal and procedural requirements are met.

If this applies to you, check out our meeting minutes template to get started.

Why Should I Have a Meeting Summary?

Creating and distributing meeting summaries offers several benefits:

Efficient Communication: Meeting summaries enable you to communicate the most critical information quickly and effectively, reducing the time spent on lengthy meetings.

Accountability: By documenting action items and responsibilities, meeting summaries help hold team members accountable for their tasks.

Improved Decision-Making: Clear summaries allow for better-informed decisions by ensuring everyone has access to the same information.

Time Savings: With a well-structured summary, team members can review essential points without having to rewatch or reread the entire meeting.

Transparency: Meeting summaries foster transparency within your team, keeping everyone in the loop and preventing misunderstandings.

Now that you know just how important a meeting summary is, let's explore how to create one effectively.

How to Write a Meeting Summary

Writing a meeting summary might seem daunting at first, but with the right approach and tools, it can become a seamless part of your meeting routine. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Thank Everyone for Attending

Begin your meeting summary by expressing gratitude to all attendees for their participation. A simple "Thank you for joining the meeting" sets a positive tone and acknowledges the value of their time. No need to go overboard on the compliments.

Summarize the Key Points

The core of your meeting summary lies in summarizing the essential points discussed during the meeting. No need to include things like who won your meeting icebreaker. Focus on the following:

Agenda Review: Briefly mention the meeting's purpose and agenda.

Main Discussion Points: Highlight the most significant topics covered.

Decisions Made: Clearly state any decisions reached during the meeting.

Action Items: List action items and the responsible parties.

Remember, brevity is key. Aim to provide a concise overview without delving into unnecessary details.

List Follow-up Tasks For the Next Meeting

Identify and outline any follow-up tasks that need to be completed before the next meeting. Assign responsibilities to team members and include deadlines to ensure accountability.

Outline Important Decisions Made

Highlight any key decisions made during the meeting. Clearly state the decision, who made it, and the rationale behind it. This section ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding the outcomes of the meeting.

Don't Forget the Details

While your meeting summary should be concise, you can’t forget the small details like the date, who attended, and how long the meeting lasted.. Ensure that you include any essential context or information necessary for understanding the discussed topics and decisions. 

Attach Any Relevant Files

If there were any documents, presentations, or files shared during the meeting, attach them to the summary. This makes it easy for team members to access the resources they need. If you have a recording of the meeting too, that is a great way to give your team different options for how they catch up.

Share It with Your Team

Once you've crafted your meeting summary, share it promptly with all relevant stakeholders. Ensure that it reaches everyone who attended the meeting and anyone else who needs to be informed.

This might sound like a lot to remember. So why not take the stress out of it and generate meeting notes in 30 seconds with Claap

How to Use Claap to Get an Automated Meeting Summary

Manually creating a meeting summary can be time-consuming, but a little bit of help goes a long way. Claap, our AI-powered meeting assistant, can help you generate meeting summaries effortlessly. Here's how to use it:

Integration: Connect Claap to your preferred meeting and collaboration tools, such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Slack.

Attend the Meeting: Any time you’re in a meeting or want to send an async update to your team, record it using Claap’s Chrome extension or desktop app.

Automated Summary: After the meeting, you’ll have a recording of the meeting to watch back, a transcript of everything everyone said, and of course, a meeting summary capturing key discussion points, decisions, and action items.

Edit and Share: Review the AI-generated summary, make any necessary edits, and share it with your team. Claap takes care of the heavy lifting, allowing you to focus on refining the content.

Using Claap can save you significant time and ensure that your meeting summaries are consistently well-structured and accurate.

Sign up today to try it in your next meeting.

FREE Meeting Summary Template

Still feel like creating your meeting summary manually? We've created a FREE meeting summary template that you can copy and use for your meetings. This template follows the best practices outlined earlier and can serve as a starting point for your meeting summaries.

Meeting Date: [Date]

Meeting Duration: [Duration]

Meeting Purpose: [Purpose]


[Name 1]

[Name 2]

[Name 3]



Agenda Review: We started the meeting by reviewing the agenda, which included discussing [Topic 1], [Topic 2], and [Topic 3].

Main Discussion Points:

[Topic 1]: We discussed…

[Topic 2]: We discussed….

[Topic 3]: We discussed…

Decisions Made:

We decided to…

Action Items:

  • [NAME] needs to complete [TASK] by [DATE]
  • [NAME] needs to complete [TASK] by [DATE]
  • [NAME] needs to complete [TASK] by [DATE]


[Attach relevant files or documents here]

Next Meeting: Our next meeting is scheduled for [DATE] at [TIME]. Please review the action items and come prepared to discuss progress.

Example of the Perfect Meeting Summary

Sometimes, it helps to see a template in action too. Especially if we want to make it “perfect”.

Let's take a look at an example of the perfect meeting summary:

Meeting Name: Weekly GTM review

Meeting Date: September 22, 2023

Meeting Duration: 1 hour

Meeting Purpose: To make it look like we're doing something productive


  • Bob (The Budget Guy)
  • Alice (Marketing Maven)
  • Steve (Customer Support Superstar)
  • Janet (Master of Ceremonies)


Agenda Review: The thrilling topics on today's menu were our summer campaign, our Instagram engagement, and the next newsletter.

Main Discussion Points:

Summer campaign: We valiantly discussed the current progress on the summer campaign, which seems to be moving at the speed of a sloth on a lazy Sunday.

Instagram engagement: The marketing team dazzled us with their presentation on the new branding. 

Newsletter #55: Our goal? Reducing reading time so our customers can get back to binge-watching cat videos faster.

Decisions Made:

  • We are going to throw more money at the summer campaign.
  • The marketing team got a thumbs up for more Instagram budget.
  • We collectively decided that we're going to implement a new ticketing system for newsletter feedback.

Action Items:

  • Bob promises to provide a budget update for the summer campaign by end of April, or else.
  • Alice planning to launch new branding by 15th May.
  • Steve swears he'll have the newsletter ready by end of the week.


Catch up on all the action with this claap: [Link to claap]

Next Meeting: April 15th @ 3PM CET

This is how a well-structured meeting summary can provide clarity, accountability, and a roadmap for the team's next steps.

Get the Perfect Meeting Summary 60x Faster with AI-Generated Summaries

While crafting meeting summaries manually can be time-consuming, AI-generated summaries can make the process lightning-fast. 

Tools like Claap can transcribe meetings, extract key insights, and generate summaries in a fraction of the time it would take to do it manually. This means you can have your meeting summaries ready 60 times faster, allowing you to focus on what matters most—productive discussions and action planning.

Sign up today to try it in your next meeting.

How to Start your Next Meeting Summary

In conclusion, mastering the art of writing the perfect meeting summary is a valuable skill. It enhances communication, accountability, and decision-making within your team. 

Whether you choose to create summaries manually or leverage AI-powered meeting notes, the key is to ensure that the essential information is captured concisely and shared promptly with your team. With these tools and techniques at your disposal, you'll be well-equipped to run efficient and productive meetings while keeping everyone on the same page.

Kiss goodbye to endlesss meetings

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