Meetings are an essential part of many businesses and organizations. They provide a time for teams to come together, share information, discuss projects, and make decisions. However, important details from meetings can often be forgotten once the meeting concludes. This is where meeting memos come in handy.
A meeting memo summarizes the key discussion points, decisions made, action items, and next steps from a meeting. Sending out a meeting memo allows everyone to stay on the same page after the meeting ends. It also provides documentation of the meeting for future reference. In this post, we’ll go over tips and best practices for writing an effective meeting memo that captures the important outcomes of a meeting.
1. Include Key Details From the Meeting
The main purpose of a meeting memo is to record vital information from the meeting while the details are still fresh. This includes:
- Key discussion topics: Summarize the main subjects discussed, especially any debates or important points.
- Decisions made: Note any firm decisions, approvals, or voting outcomes.
- Action items: List out any tasks assigned to team members with owners and deadlines.
- Next steps: Highlight what's coming up next for any projects or initiatives discussed.
Your meeting memo should provide a clear recap of the meeting's purpose, agenda, participants, and results. Stick to the key details instead of a play-by-play of everything said.
2. Use a Clear Subject Line
The subject line is the first thing recipients see when you send out the meeting memo. Make sure it clearly states what the memo is about. Include key details like the name of the meeting, meeting date, and purpose or topic. For example:
- Leadership Team Meeting – January 18, 2024 – Q1 Planning
This helps recipients quickly identify what the memo covers when scanning their inboxes.
3. Follow a Standard Structure
Using a standard structure for your meeting memos each time makes them easy to follow. Include these sections:
- Meeting name, date, time
- Purpose or topics covered
- Chaired and attended by
Agenda Items Discussed
- Topics and main discussion points
- Key decisions, approvals, voting outcomes
- Tasks assigned, owners, deadlines
- Upcoming plans related to discussion
- Any other notes, supporting documents
Organizing the memo clearly around these sections ensures all important details have a place.
4. Use an Objective, Professional Tone
Meeting memos should maintain an objective, impersonal tone. You want to come across as neutral and professional when recapping discussions.
Some tips for tone:
- Use third person instead of “I” or “we”
- Stick to factual descriptions of what was said
- Avoid strong opinions or editorializing
For example, “The leadership team discussed the timeline for the product launch” sounds professional. While “We had a heated debate about the unrealistic product timeline” sounds too informal and biased.
Aim for neutral, professional language to relay the facts from the meeting.
5. Keep It Concise
Brevity is key with meeting memos. Respect people’s time by synthesizing discussions concisely instead of providing lengthy transcripts.
Follow these tips to keep your memo focused:
- Stick to 1-2 pages max
- Break content into easy-to-skim sections
- Use bullet points to highlight key details
- Put additional materials in appendices
Get right to the crucial information from the meeting. Avoid excessive details or repetitions that aren’t needed. A focused, scannable memo has the most impact.
6. Send in a Timely Manner
To get the most value from your meeting memo, send it out quickly after the meeting while everything is still fresh. Aim to have the memo out the same day. If possible, take time right after the meeting to jot down notes, action items, and follow ups before sending the draft. This ensures important outcomes aren’t forgotten.
Timely distribution also allows recipients to clarify any missing or incorrect details right away.
7. Use Supernormal for Automated Memos
Manually writing meeting memos from scratch can be time-consuming. AI solutions like Supernormal can automate the process to save you time. Supernormal joins your meetings, takes detailed notes, and generates summarizations. You can easily turn Supernormal's notes into a polished meeting memo template.
Key benefits include:
- Automated note-taking: Supernormal captures meeting details precisely without you having to take manual notes.
- Custom formatting: Tailor Supernormal’s notes into your desired memo structure and branding.
- Quick turnaround: Meeting notes and memo available right after your meeting ends.
- Searchable record: Memos stored in the Supernormal dashboard for future reference.
Let Supernormal handle meeting capture and memo creation so you can focus on the strategic outcomes.
Here are the core best practices to keep in mind for writing effective meeting memos:
- Include critical details like discussions, decisions, action items, and next steps.
- Use a clear structure with sections for agenda, decisions, action items, etc.
- Craft subject lines that summarize the meeting purpose and date.
- Maintain an objective, impartial tone that sticks to the facts.
- Keep memos concise and scannable for easy reading.
- Distribute memos promptly within 24 hours of the meeting.
- Consider using AI tools like Supernormal that can automatically generate meeting notes and summaries to save time.
Following meeting memo best practices will help you efficiently communicate key outcomes and next steps to stakeholders after important meetings. Your team can stay aligned on priorities when memos are clear, focused, and timely.