After the meeting

Meeting Minutes

You just returned from a meeting and completed everything that was on the agenda. You're happy that the meeting is over and was a success but your job is not quite done yet. The meeting minutes (or also called meeting protocol or meeting summary) is a written record of the meeting that usually includes the meeting details (like location, the actual start and end time, etc,), a list of meeting participants and the key notes of each discussion.

The finishing touch is as important as the preparation and the meeting itself.
Here are 3 basic rules for the successful closing of a meeting

Rule #1: Always create the meeting minutes
The meeting minutes are an actual record of the entire meeting. If there is no record of the meeting it's like it never happened. A few months from now, when everyone forgot what was decided, you might have to start all over...

Rule #2: Create and distribute the minutes as soon as possible
Make the minutes as soon as possible after the meeting. Or even better, create the minutes during the meeting and distribute right after. Meeting minutes need to be reviewed and approved by all participants to become a valid record. This should be done while everything is still fresh in memory. Use a meeting management tool if possible so you know that participants reviewed the minutes.

Rule #3: Follow up on action items
Even the best meetings and decisions are useless if assigned tasks are never completed. When you have recurring meetings, put the action items of the meeting on a future agenda again to make sure they are completed. For ad-hoc (one-time) meetings, contact the participants by phone or email after the agreed time to double check the status.
Again, if possible use a meeting management tool that can track action items.

More things about after the meeting

links to external resources

Thank you note

After a successful meeting you might want to recognize the contribution in time and effort of your participants.
A short thank-you note is always appreciated!