The follow up email is often the most ignored part of a meeting. It is also one of the most important. Writing a follow up email after a meeting is a powerful way of building strong relationships with the other parties, and plays a crucial role in achieving the meeting’s objectives.
On the flip side, lack of follow up can turn what seemed to be a successful meeting into a waste of time. Without follow up, the participants can quickly forget about the meeting and fail to take action.
In this guide, you’ll learn what a follow up email is, why it matters, and tips on how to write an effective follow up email. We’ll also share 3 templates that you can use to quickly write powerful follow up emails in different scenarios.
A meeting follow up email is simply an email you send to the meeting participants a short while after the meeting ends, typically within 24 hours of the meeting.
The aim of the follow up email is to express gratitude to the participants for attending the meeting, give a quick recap of what was discussed during the meeting, and provide information about the next steps.
The format of the follow up email usually varies depending on the scenario. For instance, a follow up email to a sales meeting with a client might be slightly different from a follow up to an internal meeting. That said, most follow up emails after a meeting use the following format:
A show of appreciation
A brief summary of the meeting
A summary of the key decision made in the meeting
An outline of the next steps together with their deadlines
An invitation for questions on any matter that requires clarification
Information about the next meeting (optional)
A call to action
Here are a couple of reasons why writing a follow up email after a meeting is a great idea.
When you invite people to a meeting, they have to take time from their work to attend the meeting. Writing a follow up email after the meeting allows you to thank the participants for giving you their time. Showing appreciation is a great way to strengthen your relationships with the participants.
A good point to keep in mind when expressing your gratitude is to mention their specific contribution to the meeting. This makes your appreciation sound more genuine. For instance, instead of saying “thanks for your time,” you could say “thank you for the great insights you provided about XYZ.”
People are busy, and most will go on with their schedules and forget about the meeting and what was discussed within a few hours. A follow up email after the meeting serves as a reminder of what was discussed in the meeting and increases the chances of the meeting takeaways getting implemented.
A lot of times, people leave a meeting without a clear idea of what needs to be done after the meeting, who needs to do it, or the timeframes for these action items. Without any action being taken, the meeting ends up being a waste of time.
A follow up email is a great way to clear the air and provide details about the next steps. It explains the key things that need to be done and the people responsible for each item.
Writing a follow up email provides you an avenue for you to re-engage with the participants and keep the conversation going.
You can use the follow up email to provide more information about what was discussed, invite people to ask questions or seek clarification on unclear issues, or gather any details that might have been missed during the meeting.
47% of email recipients use the subject line to determine whether to open an email or not. Therefore, if you want your recipients to read your follow up email, you need a subject line that quickly makes it clear what the email is about. A good way to do this is to use a subject line that’s relevant to the meeting topic.
For example, if you had a meeting about your company’s content strategy, the subject line could be “Content Strategy Meeting Follow Up.”
Start your follow up email by letting your recipients know that you appreciate them for creating time to attend the meeting, and for their contributions to the meeting. This shows them that you value their time and insights.
The body of your follow-up email should provide a quick recap of the meeting. What was discussed? What are the key decisions made in the meeting? What are the key takeaways from the meeting?
To ensure that there are no uncertainties about what needs to be done, highlight the key actions items from the meeting and mention the people assigned to each action item. This ensures that everyone knows their responsibilities and helps keep them accountable by having these responsibilities in writing.
It’s a good idea to end your follow up email by mentioning something positive that will uplift the recipient’s spirits. This could be a compliment about something they are excelling at, or something about them for which you’re grateful. However, this needs to be something you genuinely believe, not just a baseless compliment.
Thank you for making time to attend yesterday’s meeting on [meeting topic]. We’ve been struggling with [the problem that the meeting was meant to solve], and your contributions and insights during the meeting have been invaluable.
Here is a recap of the meeting:
[Summary of what was discussed]
[Summary of key decisions made]
Here is a breakdown of the next steps, which should be completed within [agreed timeframe]
[action item and the members responsible for it]
We’ll have the next meeting on [date] to review our progress.
Once again, I am really grateful for your valued contributions in the meeting. If you need further clarification or have any questions, please let me know.
Great meeting with you yesterday. Thank you so much for your time and advice. I really learned a lot about [something you discussed], and I really appreciate your willingness to share your expertise. Your advice really helped me with [problems they helped you solve].
I came across this [link to article, video, podcast, webinar, etc] that I think will be interesting to you based on our conversation.
Looking forward to keeping in touch, and if there’s any way I can be of help, please let me know.
It was great meeting with you today and learning more about [company name]. I was particularly impressed with [client achievement that came up during the meeting].
As agreed during the meeting, we are going to [give a recap of the next steps you agreed upon with the client, and provide the contact details of the people responsible for these steps].
I’ll get in touch with you on [date] to follow up and give you a status report.
If any updates are necessary before then, please let me know.
Don’t just write a meeting follow up email for the sake of it. You need to have a clear objective that you want the email to achieve.
This could be something like providing information about the steps you want the recipient to take, offering your help with something, asking for an introduction, or providing more information about what was discussed in the meeting.
Even if you have a follow up email template, don’t use the same generic email after every meeting. This will come off as insincere.
What you should do instead is personalize the email by mentioning the recipient’s name, highlighting something about the meeting that stood out to you, or even mentioning something about the recipient that came up during the meeting.
For example, if the recipient mentioned that their favorite team was playing that night, you could mention the results of the game in the follow up email the next day.
If you want to make an impression in your recipients’ minds, don’t just go over what was covered in the meeting. Instead, use the follow up email as an opportunity to provide more value. You can do this by providing additional information and resources that will help the recipient achieve their goals.
For example, if the recipient mentioned that they are struggling with driving more traffic to their website, you can send them a link to an insightful article or video on how to increase site traffic.
People already took time off their busy days to attend a meeting with you. You don’t want them to waste more time going after the same things that were said in the meeting. Therefore, avoid any unnecessary details and go straight to the point.
If you want a follow up email to be effective, you should send it while the meeting is still fresh in the participants’ minds. Ideally, you should follow up within a 24-hour period after the meeting.