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Why You Must Spend Time Following Up After Meetings

Monday 2 December 2019

5 minute read

By Rachael Farley

If you’ve attended a meeting with colleagues, clients or customers, you’ll know the importance and value of a follow-up email. 

Without a summary of the meeting, productivity can be lost and time wasted. A follow-up email is essential for summing up the meeting, strengthening your relationship with attendees and clarifying next steps. 

But who should be responsible for following up? If you arranged the meeting, created the agenda and ran it, then you should be the one to draft and send the email. Otherwise, as the meeting draws to an end, simply ask who should be following up so nothing is forgotten or missed. That’s guaranteed bonus points for keeping your eye on the ball!

Quicker Follow-Ups Are More Effective

Time is of the essence once that meeting ends. You don’t want to send a follow-up email a week later as chances are that attendees have forgotten or lost motivation by that point.

Instead, reach out in the first 24 hours after the meeting as everything will still be fresh in their mind. You might have tapped into some great ideas or made significant steps on a project, so keep the momentum rolling by touching base as soon as possible.

Serves as a Great Reminder

In your follow-up, you should summarise what has been said in the meeting and suggest next steps going forward. This will ensure that nothing gets lost in translation as everything has been copied down on a digital email thread, meaning everyone will be on the same page.

Assign Responsibility and Boost Productivity 

Each email should have clear goals outlined - what do you actually want everyone to do after the meeting has ended? Be careful not to write an essay as people will simply ignore it. Instead, keep it short and sweet.

Also, try to stick one call to action (CTA) per email. If you’re asking Karen to type up a document, arrange another meeting and reply to your email, then you’re probably going to overwhelm her. If you need a particular attendee to do more than one thing then write a couple of emails rather than cramming it all into one. 

Opportunity to Build Relationships

By being polite and considerate in your follow-up, you’re basically saying “I’m a good person to do business with” - clients, customers and colleagues will all appreciate that. It’s nice to be nice, after all! 

Avoid using meeting follow-up templates. Take the time to personalise each email for different attendees. An easy way is to refer back to something that they mentioned in the meeting. Perhaps they’ve just got a dog or are going on holiday soon? Don’t be afraid to touch on an anecdote or story to show that you were paying attention, but don’t fall into the trap of spending too much time writing about how adorable Spot is. 

Follow-up emails are a great way to build rapport with attendees and are an extension of networking. If a business connection enjoys working with you, then they may recommend you to others due to having a great experience.

By taking the time to write an effective follow-up email, you can ensure that the creative, inspiring discussions you had in the meeting don’t go to waste. All attendees will have clearly defined goals, allowing them to progress independently until the next meeting is arranged.

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