Summarize a Meeting: 5 Proven Ways to Do It
Meetings Productivity

Summarize a Meeting: 5 Proven Ways to Do It

Soorya Radhakrishnan
Soorya Radhakrishnan

Keeping track of everything discussed and decided in meetings can be challenging, especially when you have multiple meetings to attend daily.

That’s why it is important to summarize a meeting. A well-written meeting summary keeps everyone on the same page and provides a reference for future discussions.

In this blog, we'll explore:

  • how to summarize a meeting,
  • 5 ways to summarize a meeting efficiently,
  • the difference between a meeting summary and meeting minutes,
  • the benefits of summarizing a meeting, and more.

So, read on to discover how to summarize a meeting like a pro.

How to summarize a meeting

A glimpse of the summary of a meeting by
The glimpse of a meeting summary by

A meeting summary is a concise document that overviews the main ideas, decisions, and action items discussed during the meeting.

Here’s how to create an effective meeting summary:

  • Take concise notes
  • Use a clear and organized format
  • Highlight the most important information
  • Create a clear and brief summary

1. Take concise notes

During the meeting, take precise notes on the main points, decisions, and action items discussed.

2. Use a clear and organized format

Use bullet points or numbered lists to structure your notes, making them easier to read and understand.

You can also use headings and subheadings to group related information.

3. Highlight the most important information

Review your notes and highlight the key takeaways, such as deadlines and action items.

4. Create a clear and concise summary

It’s time to summarize the meeting clearly. You can follow a template or create your own.  Ensure your meeting summary has the following details:

  • Date and attendees,
  • Agenda/purpose,
  • Topics discussed and decisions made,
  • Action items, including who is responsible for each item and the deadlines,
  • Follow-up actions or further meetings that are required,
  • A brief conclusion that summarizes the main outcomes and key takeaways.

Share it with the participants and stakeholders who couldn’t attend it and keep them informed.

Meeting minutes vs. meeting summary

Summary of a meeting vs. meeting minutes

Though they sound similar, meeting minutes and meeting summaries serve different purposes.

Meeting minutes are a detailed record of a meeting's proceedings, including information on who attended the meeting, what was discussed, the decisions made, and the action items assigned.

On the other hand, a meeting summary is a  brief overview of a meeting used to keep the stakeholders who couldn’t attend the meeting in the loop.

Here are some key differences between them:

Base factor

Meeting minutes

Meeting Summary


Intended to provide a comprehensive record of the meeting for attendees and stakeholders.

Created to provide a quick overview of things discussed during the meeting.

Level of detail

A comprehensive record of everything discussed during the meeting, including details of topics, decisions, and action items. 

Contains a high-level overview of the meeting's key points without going into the details.


Intended for a specific audience, such as attendees, stakeholders, or team members, who need a detailed record of the meeting's proceedings.

Intended for a broader audience, such as senior management or other stakeholders, especially those who couldn’t attend the meeting.


Drafted after the meeting and takes longer to prepare.

Prepared shortly after the meeting and requires less time.

Why summarize a meeting?

Meeting summary notes

A survey by The Muse suggests that people spend at least 35-50% of their time in meetings. So in between the meeting chaos, how do you ensure all this information is not lost—with a clear and concise meeting summary.

Summarizing a meeting saves time, helps you stay organized, and at the same time, ensures everyone is on the same page. Other advantages of meeting summaries are:

  • Provides clarity
  • Saves time
  • Facilitates decision-making
  • Encourages accountability
  • Enhances communication

1. Provides clarity

A meeting summary is a written document that you can use to reinstate and further clarify the decisions made, tasks assigned, deadlines, etc., with all the participants and stakeholders.

2. Saves time

With a well-written meeting summary, you won't have to spend hours emailing your colleagues for clarification or digging through your notes to find the relevant points discussed during the meeting.

Also, it enables you to understand the gist of the meetings you couldn’t attend without going through an entire recording or the 10-page-long meeting minutes.

3. Facilitates decision-making

Meeting summaries give you clear and crisp information about the discussion topics. This can be particularly important when you need to make decisions based on the meeting outcome.

4. Encourages accountability

A meeting summary encourages accountability by outlining any action items or next steps to ensure everyone is clear on their responsibilities.

5. Enhances communication

A meeting summary distills complex information shared during a meeting into simple and understandable points, making it easier for you to remember what was discussed and reference it later.

By sharing the summary, you can also ensure that all participants have a shared understanding of the key points, creating a single source of truth and reducing the likelihood of miscommunication or confusion.

5 ways to summarize a meeting

how to summarize a meeting discussion

How to write a meeting summary: 5 proven ways

  1. Summarize the meeting minutes manually
  2. Use a meeting summary template
  3. Follow and fill the meeting agenda
  4. Summarize the meeting over an email
  5. Use tools to generate AI meeting summaries

1. Summarize the meeting minutes manually

How to summarize a meeting

Meeting Minutes vs. Notes Debate: Time to Move On
Forget the age-old debate of meeting minutes vs. notes. They’re no match for the fast-paced, constantly-evolving businesses. It’s time to move on.

Here’s how to summarize a meeting using meeting minutes:

  • Review the meeting minutes
  • Identify the key points
  • Organize the information
  • Review, edit, and share

1. Review the meeting minutes

Review the meeting minutes thoroughly to understand and segregate the information shared during the meeting.

2. Identify the key points

Identify the key points you want to include in your summary. Focus on the most important topics, such as due dates.

3. Organize the information

Organize the information into sections in the order of topics discussed, decisions, and action items. This will make your summary easier to read and understand.

Also, include who is responsible for each action item and the deadline.

4. Review, edit, and share

Review your summary and edit it as needed to ensure it accurately reflects the meeting minutes and effectively communicates the key points.

Once done, share and stay informed!

2. Use meeting summary templates

how to summarize a meeting discussion

A summary template is a pre-designed document or form that provides a framework for summarizing a meeting.

It may vary in format and structure depending on the meeting type and your specific needs. Here’s how to summarize a meeting discussion using templates.

  • Choose a template
  • Review the template and fill in the details
  • Summarize the meeting
  • Review, edit, and share the meeting summary

1. Choose a template

Choose a meeting summary template that suits your needs. Many templates are available online. You can use or modify one of them to suit your specific requirements. Here’s a sample:

[Meeting Title/Subject]

Date: [Date of Meeting]

Time: [Start Time - End Time]

Location: [Meeting Location]


[Name of Attendee 1]

[Name of Attendee 2]

[Name of Attendee 3]



[Agenda item 1]

[Agenda item 2]

[Agenda item 3]



Purpose of meeting

The main topics and issues discussed

Decisions made

Action items assigned

Presentations or materials shared (if applicable)


The overall outcome of the meeting

Next steps and follow-up tasks

You can also add sections for recording meeting minutes, feedback, or evaluation, as needed.

2. Review the template and fill in the details

Review the template and familiarize yourself with its structure and sections. Fill in the basic information at the top of the template, such as the date, time, and meeting location.

3. Summarize the meeting

Start by summarizing the purpose and agenda of the meeting, highlighting the key points.

Use bullet points or lists to record the key points and decisions made during the meeting. Be sure to include any action items or follow-up tasks.

Include any presentations or materials shared during the meeting and a summary of their content, if applicable.

End it with a conclusion that summarizes the overall outcome of the meeting and any next steps agreed upon.

Here’s a meeting summary example (using the above template):

Meeting Title: Marketing Strategy Meeting

Date: March 1, 2023

Time: 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Location: Conference Room A


1. John Smith, Marketing Director

2. Sarah Johnson, Social Media Manager

3. Mark Davis, Content Writer


  • Review marketing goals for Q2

  • Discuss social media strategy

  • Brainstorm content ideas for blog and email campaigns


  • The marketing team reviewed the goals for the upcoming quarter and identified the need to increase website traffic and generate more leads.

  • Sarah presented a new social media strategy that includes increasing engagement on Instagram and launching a series of Twitter chats with industry experts.

  • The team brainstormed content ideas for blog posts and email campaigns, including industry trends, customer success stories, and product demos.

  • John assigned action items to each team member, including researching industry trends, creating a content calendar, and reaching out to potential guest contributors for the blog.


The team agreed to reconvene in two weeks to review progress on the action items and discuss any new ideas or updates. The meeting was productive and provided a clear direction for the team's marketing efforts in the upcoming quarter.

4. Review, edit, and share the meeting summary

Review and edit the summary and share it with all the participants and relevant stakeholders. Follow up on any action items or next steps as needed.

3. Follow and fill out the meeting agenda

How to summarize a meeting using the meeting agenda

You must have shared or received a meeting agenda before the meeting. It’s a document that outlines the topics, issues, and activities that will be discussed or addressed during the meeting.

  • Create meeting summary notes against the agenda
  • Review, organize, and share
The Different Types of Meeting Agendas—and When to Use Each
Creating a meeting agenda is a sure-shot way to boost productivity. In this guide, learn to build different types of agenda & when to use them.

1. Create meeting summary notes against the agenda

Create meeting summary notes keeping the agenda as a template and ensuring all details are covered.

As the meeting progresses, you can simultaneously check each agenda item and fill up the decisions made against respective points.

Here’s a sample meeting summary notes made against its agenda:

Meeting Title: Project Planning Meeting

Date: March 2, 2023

Time: 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Location: Conference Room B


1. John Smith, Project Director

2. Sarah Johnson, Project Manager

3. Mark Davis, Sr. Developer


1. Introductions

  • The Project Manager, Project Director, and Sr. Developer attended the meeting.

2. Discuss the project timeline and milestones

  • Discussed and identified several key milestones that must be achieved within the next quarter to stay on track.

3. Identification of potential risks and issues

  • Identified the need for 3 additional resources in the testing and development team. 

  • The team discussed strategies for mitigating these risks and agreed to monitor the project closely to ensure that any issues are addressed quickly.

4. Assignment of tasks and responsibilities

  • John Smith is assigned to hire 2 developers for the team before April 3, 2023, 

  • Mark Davis to resolve immediate development issues and errors before March 15, 2023,

  • Sarah Johnson to oversee the overall development of the project and ensure it stays on schedule

5. Next steps and follow-up

  • Scheduled weekly status updates and progress reports via email or messages every Friday. 

  • The team agreed to reconvene in two weeks to review progress and address any new issues or concerns.

2. Review, organize, and share

Review your notes and organize them into a logical and easy-to-follow structure and a conclusion if needed.

Voila, your meeting summary is ready within minutes after the meeting. Share it to keep everyone informed.

4. Summarize the meeting over an email

how to write an email to summarize a meeting

Another option to share a meeting summary is via email. Here’s how to write an email to summarize a meeting:

  • Thank the participants
  • State the meeting purpose
  • Summarize the discussion topics, decisions, and action items
  • Invite questions and feedback

1. Thank the participants

Begin by addressing the email recipients and thanking them for joining the meeting.

2. State the purpose of the meeting

Provide a brief overview of the meeting’s purpose and the topics discussed.

3. Summarize the discussion, decisions, and action items

Summarize the key points and decisions made during the meeting, focusing on communicating the most critical information.

Highlight any action items or next steps assigned during the meeting, including who is responsible for each task and the deadline.

Include any additional information or resources related to the meeting, such as links to relevant documents or websites.

4. Invite questions and feedback

Invite attendees to provide any additional feedback or questions and encourage them to reach out if they need further clarification.

Here's an example of how you could summarize a meeting over email:

Subject: Summary of March 2nd Project Planning Meeting

Dear Attendees,

Thank you for joining the Project Planning Meeting on March 2nd. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the project scope, timeline, and potential risks and to assign tasks and responsibilities for moving the project forward. 

Here's a summary of the main points discussed during the meeting:

  • Reviewed project scope and goals and identified key milestones.

  • Discussed potential risks and issues that could arise in the next phase

  •  Proposed strategies for mitigating those risks 

  • Assigned tasks and responsibilities along with deadlines to each team member

  • The team agreed to schedule regular status updates and progress reports.

  • Scheduled the next meeting for March 16th.

  • Please find attached a copy of the meeting agenda. The meeting notes will be shared as soon as they are available.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me. 

Best regards,

[Your name]

5. Use AI tools to generate meeting summaries

How to summarize a meeting using AI tools
The Fireflies Notebook

To save time and ensure accurate note-taking and meeting summaries, you can use AI tools.

Do you find it difficult to simultaneously take notes and engage in productive conversations during online discussions? Let Fireflies help. Fireflies is an AI notetaker that helps you transcribe, summarize, and analyze meetings accurately without you having to make any extra effort.

Ready to get started with us? Try Fireflies for free!

Here’s how to summarize a meeting using AI tools:

  • Select your tool
  • Setup your account
  • Activate the tool
  • Review, edit, and share

1. Select your tool

Choose an AI-powered meeting summary tool that suits your needs. There are several options available, such as or Zoom.

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2. Setup your account

Set up an account in the tool you’ve chosen and link it to your preferred conferencing platform, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

3. Activate the tool

Start the meeting and activate the AI tool, which will automatically transcribe the conversation and create a summary.

4. Review, edit, and share

Review and edit the summary as needed to ensure accuracy and clarity. Once done, save and share the summary with the relevant people.

How to create a meeting summary using is an AI notetaker that automatically transcribes meetings and creates meeting summaries. You can use it to create AI super summaries that include keywords, meeting overview and outline, shorthand bullet-point notes and potential action items.

Use Fireflies to create meeting summaries in two ways:

1. Upload meeting recordings

2. Invite Fred to the meetings

1. Upload meeting recordings

Here are the steps to create a meeting summary by uploading a recording:

Step 1: Log into your Fireflies account.

Log into Fireflies to summarize a meeting
Fireflies Login

Step 2: Once on the Fireflies dashboard, navigate to the Uploads section in the left navigation menu. Alternatively, you can click Upload an Audio File on the bottom right.

upload the file to summarize a meeting
Upload an audio file

Step 3: Once uploaded, Fireflies will transcribe your recording in minutes. The transcription time will vary depending on the length of the meeting.

Once done, the file will be visible in the uploads section.

How to summarize a meeting with AI tools
Upload section

You'll also get an email notification with the link to the transcription. You can also find the recording in your Fireflies Notebook.

Fireflies automatically generates the meeting summary based on the transcription. You can also customize this AI-generated summary by selecting the most important points from the transcript.

To do that, hover the mouse over the AI meeting summary section.

Click on the pen icon on the top right corner of the meeting summary section and make edits, if necessary.

summarize a meeting
Edit the meeting summary

Once done, share the transcription and summary by clicking on the share button.

share the summary of a meeting
Share the meeting summary

You can also download the transcript and summary (in 5 different formats– docx, pdf, srt, csv, and json) by clicking on the download button.

Summarize a meeting and download the pdf
Download the meeting summary

Next, let’s check out how you can create meeting summaries by inviting Fred from Fireflies to a meeting.

2. Invite Fred to the meeting

Fred, our AI notetaker bot, can be invited to meetings in three ways:

  • Join settings
  • Calendar invites
  • Add to Live meeting from the Fireflies Dashboard
How to Invite the Fireflies AI Notetaker to Your Meetings
Read this guide to understand various ways to invite the Fireflies AI notetaker to your meetings. Join settings | Calendar Invites | Add to Live.

Once invited, Fred will join the meeting on time and stay until the scheduled end-of-meeting time based on your calendar.

Fireflies will start processing the transcript after the meeting ends or once Fred leaves the meeting. It usually takes minutes to generate searchable transcripts with 90% accuracy. The processing time also depends on the duration of your call.

Once the transcript is ready, the AI-generated summary will be automatically created, highlighting the key points discussed during the meeting.

The summary of a meeting by
The summary of a meeting by

You can review and further customize this summary by referring to the transcript. Once done, share and stay informed!

Final thoughts

By using one of the five techniques in the blog, you can effortlessly summarize a meeting and improve communication within teams.

And remember, whether you're doodling in an agenda, mind mapping with an AI tool, or summarizing with emojis (yes, it’s a thing), the key is to find a method that works best for you (hint: it’s best to let the tool do the job for you!).

So keep experimenting until you find your perfect summarizing match. Happy summarizing!

Try Fireflies for free