How to Write a Meeting Summary (Tips and Templates)

Follow these ten steps to learn how to write a meeting summary that people will actually reference after your next meeting.
Matthew Ritchie
June 12, 2023
6 minute read

One of the hallmarks (and unintended consequences) of the world’s move towards hybrid work is the number of meetings. 

There are a lot of them, and way more than before.

According to research from Microsoft, the average Teams users saw a 153% increase in meetings between March 2020 and February 2022. 

Since then, millions of people have transitioned back to the office. But ask practically anybody, and they’ll tell you that they’re still in tons of meetings.

Some are important. Others, not so much.

And that’s why it's important to learn how to write a meeting summary.

What is a meeting summary?

A meeting summary is a short overview of the key points that get discussed during a meeting. Usually sent in an email after a meeting, they highlight takeaways, decisions, action items, and next steps—serving as a reference and reminder for all attendees.

What’s the difference between a meeting summary and meeting minutes?

Meeting minutes are a detailed record of everything that happens during a meeting, including summaries of presentations and discussions. Although they contain much of the same information as a meeting summary, meeting minutes often serve as an official record for legal purposes and are more common in board and shareholder meetings.

Why are meeting summaries important?

These days, with so many meetings occupying our time, it’s hard to keep track of everything that gets said during a meeting, let alone attend every single one.

Meeting summaries make it easy to look back at what was discussed and see what team members are working on at a glance.

Usually, the responsibility of writing a meeting recap falls on one person. And if that’s you, you’ll want to get it right. Few things are more annoying than having an hour-long meeting only to get a summary in return that misses key points, assigns tasks to the wrong people, and is filled with spelling mistakes.

If you want to write a meeting summary that people will actually revisit and read (including yourself), follow these steps:

How to Write a Meeting Summary

Step 1: Prepare Ahead of Time

Before your meeting begins, review the agenda, see who’s attending, and what you plan to discuss—this will help you identify key points, issues, and topics worth noting as they come up in the conversation. 

If this isn’t the first time you’ve met, look at past meeting summaries, documents, or conversations, especially if it’s a recurring meeting or a continuation from a previous one, to help jog your memory and get you in the right headspace. 

Step 2: Choose a Format or Template

Give your meeting summary some structure, so it’s easier to identify key points and action items. 

Use headings to separate discussion topics, point form notes or bullet points to jot things down quickly, and a section at the bottom for action items.

Here’s a simple template.

Related: You’re Probably Taking Meeting Notes Wrong—Here’s a Quick Fix

Step 3: Consider Transcribing or Recording Your Meeting

Using software to record, transcribe, and summarize a meeting is helpful because it provides a permanent record of what was discussed and allows you to focus entirely on the meeting without taking notes.

With Bloks, you can transcribe and summarize any conversation or call—no bots required. 

Once Bloks has worked its magic, you can add tags to automatically organize your summary, so it’s associated with the relevant event in your calendar and easier to find later on.

→ Get early access to Bloks

If you decide to use an AI meeting assistant like Bloks to transcribe and summarize your meetings, skip ahead to step seven.  

If not, move to step four.

Step 4: Take Detailed Notes

During the meeting, focus on capturing the key points, themes, and topics of the discussion, any decisions made, and which tasks were assigned. 

You don’t want to miss anything, so stay alert and be mindful of what each participant is saying. 

If you’re new to note-taking during meetings or struggle to take notes, use this five-step method.

Step 5. …But Not Too Detailed

After all, this is a summary. If it’s too long, it may be confusing to read or get ignored entirely by others. 

To help make your meeting summary clear and concise, try reading your notes aloud—it will help you identify any sections that need more information and notes that may need to be trimmed down or removed.

Related: “Alpha-Geek” Tim Ferriss’ Advice on How to Take Notes

Step 6: Identify Key Points

Once your meeting is done, review your notes and highlight the most important points.

Highlight topics that were discussed, tasks that need to get done, and any disagreements that came up.

Don’t be afraid to reorder things. The goal here is to make your meeting summary easy to read, not a chronological record of everything that was said (that’s what meeting minutes are for). 

Put important topics near the top of the meeting summary, so they don’t get missed, and action items near the bottom. 

Or, consider adding a key takeaways section to the top with three to five of the most important points that were discussed during the meeting.

Again, use headings and bullet points to separate each point.

Related: Richard Branson’s Advice to Entrepreneurs: Take More Notes

Step 7: Organize, Shorten, and Proofread Your Summary

Give your meeting summary a quick look over, so there isn’t any confusion about what was discussed, action items that are misassigned, or misspelled words. 

Stick to your template, but feel free to rearrange your meeting summary to make it flow naturally and be easy to read. 

Remove or clarify any technical jargon that may have come up. Use Grammarly or ChatGPT to identify any spelling or grammar errors.

If it’s too long, read each section out loud and try rewriting them—this will help you further synthesize the discussion in your own words, making it easier to understand.

If you need some help, go into Bloks or ChatGPT and use the prompt “Condense the following meeting summary into a few sentences: [insert text]” to shorten it even further.

Related: 5 Types of Useful AI Prompts for Everyday Work

Step 8: Add Info About the Next Meeting

If you plan to meet again, include the date and time of your next meeting, what you’ll discuss, and any action items that need to be accomplished before then.

If you’re the one organizing the meeting and a date hasn’t been chosen yet, you can add a note under the meeting summary asking what attendees' preferences are for when to meet again. 

Step 9: Include Relevant Documents

Attach any documents, files, or images that came up during the meeting or could help clarify anything that was discussed (think slide decks, articles that were mentioned, or other relevant resources).

Step 10: Send It

You’re all done! Email your meeting summary to all attendees and guests that couldn’t attend. 

Still Need Some Help? 

Here’s a simple meeting summary template you can use during your next meeting:

Basic Meeting Summary Template

Meeting Title: [insert text]

Date: [insert text]

Time: [insert text]

Location: [insert text]

Attendees: [insert text]


1. [insert text]

2. [insert text]

3. [insert text]

4. [insert text]

5. [insert text]

Key Discussion Points:

1. [Insert Agenda Item]

Summary: [insert text]

Key Takeaways: [insert text]

Actions Required: [insert text]

[Continue for all agenda items]

Decisions Made:

Topic: [insert text]

Decision: [insert text]

Action Required: [insert text]

[Continue for all decisions]

Action Items:

Action Item: [insert text]

Responsible Person: [insert text]

Due Date: [insert text]

[Continue for all action items]

Additional Notes:
  • [insert text]
  • [insert text]
  • [insert text]
Next Meeting:

Title: [insert text]

Date: [insert text]

Time: [insert text]

Location: [insert text]

Tentative Agenda: [insert text]

Summarize and transcribe any meeting in minutes with Bloks—the AI-powered productivity assistant. Get early access.

Whether you’re a sales superstar, in-demand consultant, busy recruiter, or someone who simply needs to schedule a lot of meetings, one thing’s for sure—you’ve probably booked a lot of them over the past two years.

Hybrid work has forced the majority of our meetings online, and while we appreciate being able to wear sweatpants during normal work hours, the time-consuming ballet that is sharing your availability, finding a time to meet, and adding it to your calendar isn’t quite as enjoyable. 

Speaking with everyone from solopreneurs to seasoned professionals, it seems like a lot of people find meeting scheduling software either costly, impersonal, or just plain boring. And Calendly and other alternatives don’t always cut it.

We hear you. 

Everyone is different, and so is how they work. Making good first impressions is important, and you shouldn’t have to pay a premium for them or basic customizations and integrations with your meeting booking system.

Nook Calendar’s meeting proposal feature is already used by tons of high-performing teams for selecting and proposing meeting times outside of their organization. 

Now, we’re making things even easier by letting you build personal pages with shareable calendar-booking links, right in Nook Calendar. Add them to your LinkedIn profile, email signature, website, or messages when finding a time to meet.

We think it’s the best meeting scheduling software out there, and we’re excited for you to give it a try, so let’s get started.

Here’s How to Set Up a Personal Booking Page in Nook Calendar

First off, if you’re new to Nook Calendar—hello! (If you’re already a Nook user, you can skip ahead.)

You’re going to start by syncing your calendar—either from Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook—and entering your work email address.

Once you approve any necessary permissions, you’ll set up your People Bar. Search for any connections and add the people you interact with the most when scheduling meetings.

From there, you can add any additional calendars you want to see (add your personal one, if you like, to further prevent any overlaps when scheduling meetings), integrate with Zoom (so you can launch calls straight from your calendar), and choose your preferred display setting—select Match OS, Light Mode, or Dark Mode.

Launch Nook Calendar, and you’re ready to set up your online meeting scheduler.

Now, the fun begins

You’re going to start by claiming your unique URL for sharing your meeting availability page. 

Your first name appears by default, but really, it can be anything. We recommend using your full name (e.g., /john-smith).

(You can always change your URL in the future, as long as it’s still available.)

From there, you want to complete your profile. 

Your profile pic is automatically pulled in from your Microsoft or GCal account.

But you can add your name, job title, welcome message, and links to social media profiles or professional website, so guests know a bit more about you when booking a meeting. 

Then, you can start setting your weekly availability.

Nook Calendar defaults to traditional time blocks—9–12 a.m. and 1–5 p.m. These are the hours someone can book a meeting from your personal page. Adjust them based on your availability. 

Your timezone is automatically set to your local time, but you can change it if you primarily work with people in a different timezone and it’s better to visualize that when setting your availability.

Choose which calendar you want to accept meetings in—it can only be booked in one, but Nook Calendar will automatically reference your availability in other calendars you’ve synced to prevent double-bookings when someone schedules a meeting.

Now, it’s time to set up some paramaters. 

You can set up your preferred meeting duration in either 15, 30, 45-minute or one-hour increments (or a custom time).

You can also add buffer time to give yourself a break between meetings, or set a lead time of up to 24 hours, so no one can book any last-minute meetings.

And you’re all set! You can preview what the page will look like, then share it with contacts or add it to your LinkedIn profile (we suggest adding it as a secondary URL), email signature, and anywhere else you do business.

Once someone books time in your calendar, you’ll receive an email and get a notification in the Pulse.

If you ever need to make any changes, you can access your personal meeting page in the bottom of the Magic Panel and make any adjustments—either to your weekly availability or personal information.

You can also remove your availability by simply creating events in Nook Calendar and marking them as Busy to block off time and prevent any bookings.

Nook Calendar’s new personal pages for sharing meeting availability are available on Web, iOS, and Android. 
If you have any questions or thoughts, we’d love to hear them. Hit us up in our Slack Community or contact us through Support.