The meeting may be over, but your work is not. Like a newly-launched product, meetings benefit from a PR cycle. We remind folks of their action items, fill in those that couldn’t make the meeting, and provide visibility to stakeholders. Think of it as your post-meeting thank you cards. Before we dive into how to follow up after a meeting, let's understand why this step is key to effective meetings.
What is a meeting follow-up?
Meeting follow-up is all the work done when the meeting is over. Whether you’re sharing your meeting notes via email, making a phone call to a potential customer after a sales meeting, or adding phone numbers and job titles to your CRM after a networking event, you’ll want to make sure to communicate to your team members anything that needs to be done before the next meeting.
5 tips for effective follow-up
Even the best run meetings are ineffective without good follow-through. Here are some best practices to ensure decisions made during the meeting stick.
Follow-up ASAP, in a way that makes sense to your team and/or company culture.
Align your meeting recap with your meeting goals.
Be honest about potential red flags or blockers in the plan.
Keep your follow-up concise and to the point.
Don’t be afraid to follow up again. There’s no harm in a little polite pestering.
Meeting follow-up templates
Here’s a set of templates to help close the communication loop:
Decision memo template
At Coda, we have a post-meeting ritual of turning raw meeting notes into something shared with the broader team or company. You can consider it as sort of a press release for your meeting. Not sure how to communicate the choices you’ve made? Use this
template to guide the context you’re sharing.
Follow-up email automation
Our first tip for effective follow-up is to start your outreach immediately because when your meeting ends, you’re probably on to another one—and that follow-up email or phone call is no longer top of mind. So we've shortened the amount of time needed to send meeting notes, decision memos, or any other meeting recap. Get started with this follow-up email template:
Meeting follow-up FAQ
How do you politely follow up after a meeting?
You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. In other words, people are more willing to complete their assigned action items when asked/reminded nicely. Common courtesy and manners go a long way here. Start with
, but also make sure to respect the time of your team members, especially when the action items require them to go above and beyond their usual responsibilities.
What makes a great follow-up email?
A great meeting follow-up email is detailed, yet concise. You want to give enough information so that even people not in the meeting have context. At the same time, there’s benefit in understanding that not everyone has time to read long emails. When possible, highlight key takeaways, like decisions made, in the intro of the meeting email. Don't forget to add a descriptive email subject line. And remember, no response doesn't mean the email isn't worth sending.
Do your team members need a follow-up meeting?
The need for a follow-up meeting depends on the productivity of the original meeting and the depth of the topic discussed. At Coda, we’re sensitive to the number of standing meetings on everyone’s calendars. We make a very intentional choice to avoid ad-hoc meetings, as they’re often disruptive of everyone’s schedules. When possible, we opt for asynchronous follow-up.
How to practice effective follow-up as part of your meeting process?
Like anything else, meeting follow-up needs to become a habit. We all know that the real work begins after the meeting ends. And that work is generally kicked off with the follow-up steps of sending out meeting notes and reminding everyone of their assigned action items. As you work to establish follow-up for the first time, listen to your team’s feedback and pain points. Do they prefer email or Slack? How often do you need to follow up after the initial meeting? Whatever strategy you take, it should serve your team members.