The Slice

Transcripts: 5 Different Ways to Summarize Online Meetings

September 29, 2023

In this article, we will explore five distinct approaches to summarizing online meetings effectively, each tailored to meet varying needs and preferences.

In today's digital era, online meetings have become the cornerstone of modern collaboration, enabling teams to connect, strategize, and innovate from virtually anywhere. However, as the frequency of these virtual gatherings continues to rise, the need for efficient methods to capture and communicate meeting outcomes becomes more and more apparent.

How can you and your team quickly remind yourselves of important decisions that were made and the next actionable steps in a project? Where can you keep a record of important deadlines? How can absent team members quickly get up to speed when they miss a meeting?

The answer? Effective meeting summaries.

In this article, we will explore five distinct approaches to summarizing online meetings effectively, each tailored to meet varying needs and preferences.

5 Different Ways to Summarize Online Meetings

Summarizing online meetings is essential for capturing key points, action items, and important takeaways. At the same time, there are many different ways you can go about this– some of which might be much more suitable for your team.

Let's look at five different ways you can summarize online meetings to help you find the right system for your needs.

1. The Old Fashioned Way

Sometimes, the old principle "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies. You might find that manually creating meeting summaries best suits your virtual team.

You can create a detailed written summary that outlines the meeting's agenda, participants, key discussion points, decisions made, and action items. Use bullet points or headings to organize information for clarity.

Before you send out your summary, review it to make sure that it clearly communicates the main points and accurately reflects the meeting minutes. You'll also want to include any relevant attachments or documents discussed during the meeting.

2. Use a Template

When you hold regular online meetings with your team, using a template can save you a ton of time and allow you to clearly and concisely summarize the most important points.

Templates offer a structured framework to capture meeting highlights, action items, and key takeaways. You can structure them so that they focus on the most important aspects of your team meetings, ensuring that no critical details slip through the cracks. Starting with a template can streamline the process and allow you to save your most precious resource– time.

Whether it's a simple checklist-style template or a more comprehensive document with sections for agenda items, decisions made, and follow-up tasks, templates adapt to various meeting types. You might consider creating a simple template for regular weekly team meetings and a more complex, formal template for board meetings, for example.

3. Fill in the Meeting Agenda

In some cases, you might find that creating a template for your online meetings is simply redundant. This method provides a structured approach to distilling the essential details and outcomes of a meeting, making it accessible and actionable for all team members.

The meeting agenda typically serves as a roadmap for the discussion. By diligently filling it in, you can document the meeting's purpose, list agenda items, and designate time slots for each topic. This document evolves into a dynamic record of discussions, decisions, and action items during the meeting.

This approach ensures that no key points are overlooked and encourages active participation as everyone knows their role in achieving the meeting's objectives. Post-meeting, the filled-in agenda serves as a succinct summary that can be easily shared and reviewed, helping team members stay aligned and accountable.

4. Use the Power of AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been quickly transforming the world of modern business, and there's no reason you can't tap into the power of this tool to help you save time on a regular basis.

Many virtual teams have been incorporating AI into their normal workflow by using it to create meeting summaries.

AI-driven meeting summarization typically begins by analyzing the meeting's audio or text data, which may include transcripts or recordings. The AI employs natural language processing (NLP) techniques to identify key elements of the conversation, such as discussion topics, action items, decisions, and important insights. It then organizes this information into a structured and coherent summary.

There are tons of benefits of using AI to create meeting summaries. Not only does it save time, but it can actually help reduce errors, too. By freeing up more time for you and your team, this tool can allow you to focus your energies in areas where a human touch is required.

AI-generated summaries can provide clear, concise records of what transpired, making it easier for team members to review discussions, track action items, and stay accountable.

Of course, AI is far from perfect. You definitely won't want to just generate a meeting summary and send it out, particularly when you first start using it. Make sure you read through the summary and compare it to the meeting minutes or notes, making any necessary edits or alterations along the way.

5. Timestamped Video Summary

For recorded online meetings, you might consider creating a timestamped video summary rather than a written summary. In this format, you'll provide a summary of key moments and discussions with corresponding timestamps, making it easy for participants to navigate to specific sections of the meeting recording. This can be especially useful for lengthy meetings.

This might be more trouble than it's worth for a quick team meeting. For more formal meetings where important decisions are being made and the summary must be sent out to large swaths of the organization, though, this can be a great way to give everyone a recap of the most important points.

For longer, more formal meetings, timestamped video summaries can allow participants to quickly access specific portions of the meeting without having to watch the entire recording. By adding a brief commentary that accompanies each timestamp, you can also provide context that makes it easier for viewers to comprehend the significance of each segment.

When you come up with a system for creating these video summaries, they can also help everyone involved save time. Participants who missed the meeting or need to review it can save time by focusing on the most relevant parts, while you can save time by avoiding having to conceptualize and create a written summary.

This can also be a great strategy because it can improve accountability. Timestamped video summaries help ensure that action items and decisions are clearly documented and easier to track.

How to Create Better Meeting Summaries

Creating meeting summaries that best suit your team and organization is a bit of an art and a science.

Here are some additional tips for making sure your meeting summaries can be produced quickly without sacrificing quality or clarity.

Assign a Designated Note-Taker

Assigning a designated note-taker for meetings can significantly improve the quality and effectiveness of meeting summaries. When one person is tasked with taking notes, it allows other participants to focus their full attention on the meeting's discussions, decisions, and action items. This leads to more productive and engaged meetings.

Furthermore, it can help to boost consistency and quality. A designated note-taker ensures that meeting summaries are consistently well-prepared and follow a standardized format. This consistency is crucial for clarity and comprehension, especially when reviewing notes from multiple meetings over time.

You might choose to switch up who takes notes every meeting or have one person who takes on the task every time. Keeping the same note-taker can provide a lot of benefits, including letting them come up with their own system and shorthand that always captures the key details and never lets anything slip through the cracks.

Build a Template For Each Type of Meeting

Creating a template for each type of meeting is a smart move when it comes to generating meeting summaries. When you regularly hold meetings with different teams and members of your organization, you don't need to reinvent the wheel every time you set out to create a summary.

Customizing meeting templates for different meeting types can streamline the process of summarizing meetings, ensuring that the key points are captured consistently and efficiently. Moreover, templates enhance clarity by tailoring the summary structure to the specific objectives of each meeting type.

Different meetings have distinct goals; templates allow note-takers to prioritize and organize information accordingly. For instance, a project status meeting template may emphasize task updates and deadlines, while a brainstorming session template may focus on capturing creative ideas.

Templates also promote efficiency by simplifying the process of creating meeting summaries. With a pre-designed template, note-takers can readily fill in the necessary information, saving time and effort in structuring the summary.

Set the Standards

Establishing clear and standardized guidelines for writing meeting summaries will help ensure consistency and clarity. When all summaries adhere to the same set of guidelines, they become uniform in format and style. This uniformity simplifies the reading and comprehension of meeting summaries, as team members and stakeholders can quickly become familiar with the structure.

Efficiency is another key advantage of having standardized guidelines. When writers have a clear template to follow, they know precisely what information to include, how to format it, and how to present it. As a result, the process of creating meeting summaries becomes more efficient, saving time for both the writer and the reader.

Another big plus of having set guidelines is the ability to reduce ambiguity. Standardized guidelines leave less room for interpretation and ensure consistent content is presented. This clarity is especially valuable when multiple people are involved in writing summaries or when readers need to refer back to previous meeting summaries.

Make Your Summary Easy on the Eyes

How you visually design your meeting summaries can greatly impact how readers take in the information. There's no need to create a wall of text– consider breaking things down and making them easier to digest by using headings, bullet points, boldface, italics, and more.

At the end of the day, the readability and digestibility of meeting summaries are essential elements of effective communication within organizations. By presenting information clearly and concisely, organizations empower their teams to access and act upon key insights, ultimately fostering a more productive and efficient work environment.

Highlight Important Decisions

Any important decisions that are made should be highlighted in your meeting summaries. This approach recognizes that decisions often shape the direction and progress of projects, and ensuring they are clearly emphasized in summaries is vital for transparency and accountability.

Decisions are often the key takeaways from a meeting, and by emphasizing them, the summary communicates to all stakeholders what actions or changes will result from the meeting's discussions. This clarity helps to align everyone with the agreed-upon course of action.

Additionally, when key decisions are prominently featured in meeting summaries, it is evident who is responsible for carrying them out. This accountability is vital for ensuring that tasks are assigned, tracked, and completed efficiently, ultimately contributing to project success.

Highlighting important decisions also aids in follow-up. Team members can quickly refer to the summary to remind themselves of the decisions made during the meeting. This serves as a valuable reference point for tracking progress and ensuring that decisions are implemented effectively.

Finally, this also creates a historical record that can be reviewed for future planning, reviews, and efficiency audits. Make sure that all action items and deadlines are also highlighted in your summaries to boost accountability and ensure the most important tasks get done on time.

Want to Make Your Next Meeting Extra Special?

Online meetings are a crucial component of remote teams, serving as the virtual bridge that connects dispersed colleagues. They facilitate real-time communication, collaboration, and decision-making, fostering a sense of unity among team members regardless of their physical locations. These meetings provide a platform for sharing ideas, updates, and feedback, maintaining team cohesion, and ensuring everyone remains aligned with the organization's goals. In remote work, online meetings are the lifeblood of teamwork, enabling remote teams to thrive and succeed in an increasingly digital landscape.

At the same time, the last thing you want is for your meetings to dissipate into the ether after everyone signs off. This is why meeting summaries can be so vital– they allow everyone easy access to the most important points, actionable steps, decisions, deadlines, and takeaways.

Is it time for you to add a little spice to your online meetings? Do you want your next meeting to be productive and help bring your team closer together? If so, consider throwing a pizza party for your team or incorporating a virtual team-building exercise. If that sounds like just what the doctor ordered, start your order today!

The Pizzatime Blog

The Slice

Thank you! Welcome to the list.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Some further reading



meals catered to thousands of companies across the globe

and thousands of other leading companies
Our team changed from being in the office to working from home permanently through the pandemic. So Pizzatime gives our team a reason to gather and have social time. We also use Pizzatime to get together for milestone celebrations. Everyone loves pizza, right!?!
Angela T
CL Underwriting Team Lead
Grange Insurance
It arrives at the time of the event, so everyone is sharing the same experience at the same time.
Mariuxi T
Field marketing specialist
It takes away the huge time consumption it normally would take if I had to place orders for everyone manually or if I had to send them all gift cards and expense everything, one by one.
Madison G
Executive Assistant
Pizza and coffee are everyone's love language and a great way to treat your employees, teams, or friends. Plus, Pizzatime makes the entire process SO easy! I couldn't recommend them enough!
Kim K
Administrative Assistant
General Mills
The best option to use when planning a virtual lunch for teams across multiple sites and locations.
Sherry S
Administrative Assistant
Capital One
A convenient way to order pizza for a group and save time. It’s great for virtual lunch and happy hour meetings with entertainment.
Loubna S
Executive Assistant

Mix it up with something new

Remote meetings are boring. Stimulate your team with a unique experience.

Explore Food & Drink