Meetings don’t end once you’ve closed your laptop.
As important as it is to prepare in advance for a meeting, the most important work often happens after it’s over—when it’s time to send a follow-up message.
(This follow-up is often an email, but more and more it might be meeting notes posted in Slack or Teams, or comment in some other forum. Regardless of the channel you choose, these same concepts apply.)
This is where the meeting host can recap decisions, reaffirm priorities, and speak to next steps.
But sending a follow-up email or message may seem optional for the novice meeting host. Those that do send them often treat these emails like a mundane formality without any purpose.
Instead of viewing post-meeting follow-up as optional, treat it like a necessary step towards accomplishing your team’s goals.
What belongs in a post-meeting follow-up email
The components of your follow-up email will differ somewhat based on meeting type, but these messages generally contain a combination of some or all of the following:
- A clear and compelling subject line
- A brief expression of gratitude
- Context for the recipient(s) (usually relating back to the meeting)
- Information about next steps
- An open invitation to ask questions
- A call to action
While it may seem like a lengthy list, these emails are usually short enough for recipients to read quickly while being comprehensive enough for them to grasp the full scope of not only what they discussed, but what’s to come.
Let’s say an engineering manager met with his team to discuss the possibility of hiring contractors to help expedite production.
During the meeting, team members may have expressed a variety of concerns around this—from questions about job security to <concerns> about code quality.</concerns>
In his or her follow-up email, the head of engineering could cite one of these concerns while briefly outlining the action items needed to alleviate them.
When deployed correctly, a post-meeting follow-up email enables managers to make sure their team knows they’re listening and plans to act on their [concerns] accordingly.
Follow-up considerations based on meeting type
Different meetings beget different follow-up emails. A sales meeting, for instance, requires an entirely different type of follow-up than an internal one.
Here are some considerations for your next follow-up email based on meeting type:
Internal team meetings
Building camaraderie and consensus is important in team meetings and your follow-up email should reflect this. If team members raise valid concerns during a meeting, make sure to address them in your email. Bonus points for including proposed next steps around tackling these challenges. For meetings without friction, use follow-up emails to provide resources and next steps.
Every interaction during the sales process strives to extend the relationship. Use follow-up emails to realign with leads and prospects, showcase your listening skills with relevant takeaways from the conversation, and provide relevant educational resources that might solve some of their challenges.
Whether you’re a product marketer or a customer success manager, meeting with customers can unearth a wealth of insights about their professional challenges and how well your product or service is helping to solve them. Use follow-up emails to give thanks, recap some of their key gripes, and outline how your team will work towards improvement moving forward.
Marketers sometimes conduct informational interviews where they chat with someone at another company (who isn’t a customer) purely for the purpose of gaining industry-related information—usually to produce some type of content or asset. Use follow-up emails to thank them for the time, remind them how you plan to use their insights, and invite them to ask questions.
Tips for your next post-meeting follow-up email
A follow-up email may seem simple on the surface, but following the best practices below will ensure you get it right the first time around:
- Tailor your subject line to the meeting topic (e.g. “Hiring contractors follow-up”)
- Thank recipients for their participation
- Ask for or detail action items/next steps
- Read it more than twice (and edit nonessential information to keep it short)
- Include some level of personalization (don’t use a one-size-fits-all template)
- Send it in a timely manner to stay top of mind
Pro-tip: Set expectations before the meeting with a pre-meeting email.
Post-meeting follow-up email template
While personalization is important, having a template can make it easier to write follow-up emails more efficiently. Of course, follow best practices for written communication at work. Here’s a basic framework for creating your own.
Thanks for [describe your meeting]. It was great to discuss [topic] and I appreciate your [specific feedback] on [specific problem or professional challenge].
As discussed, moving forward we’ll [detail next steps].
Here are [links to essential resources needed for action items]:
We’re slated to meet again to [next milestone] where we can review our progress.
Please let me know if you have any questions.