Believe it or not, a productive meeting has very little to do with what’s discussed during a meeting. It’s what happens after the meeting that counts. The decisions that were made and the things you have to do.

Those “things you have to do” are called action items and they play an important role in turning meetings into productive sessions. And today, we’ll talk about what action items actually are, why they matter, and how you can nail them every single time. Ready? Set. Action!

What Are Action Items?

At its core, an action item is a task. It’s a task that is assigned to you or your team over meetings and discussions. Think of action items as roadmaps for what needs to get done, who’s going to do it, and what they need to make it happen. “Alright, everyone knows what to do. Let’s make it happen.” The meeting’s over, and you’ve got an action item on your hands. 

Why Are Action Items Useful?

Action items make meetings more efficient and purposeful. That’s because:


  • They boost productivity: With an action item list, meetings are no longer unproductive events to yawn at! You’ll walk away knowing exactly what you’re supposed to do, how you’re going to make it happen, and what value it’ll bring to the business.
  • They help with progress tracking: Next time you’re in a meeting, you won’t have to hear the dreaded “So, what did you have to do?” question. Instead, you’ll be asked about a specific task that was assigned to you during the previous meeting. This way, tracking progress will be easier.
  • They clear things up: If you’ve ever been in a brainstorming meeting, you know how chaotic things can get if there is no clarity. An action item is the opposite of that. It tells you exactly what needs to be done, who’s going to do it, and when. 
  • They foster communication: No more confusion on who’s responsible for what task in a company! Action items make sure that everyone is on the same page and is aware of what their colleagues are up to. 

What is a Good Action Item Example?

Here’s an example of an action item that gets things right, and that you can get inspired by:

Action item: Conducting a user testing session for our new website with at least 5 people in our target audience.

Why: Because we need feedback on how usable our new website design is.

Who’s doing it: Sarah from the UI/UX team

When she’ll deliver: June 15, 2024, EOD

See? Simple and effective. It can include some minor additional info like what tools Sarah can use to do her research and who can provide her with access. The next time everyone gathers for a meeting, they’ll know what Sarah’s been busy with and she can update them on her action item.

Action Item No-No List

Let’s talk about some common mistakes that you should avoid when writing down action items:

  • Being too wordy: Action items are like ad copies. They need to be specific like the example above, so everyone can follow along and understand the task.
  • Forgetting the assignee(s): If there’s a task, then someone or a specific team is responsible for it. Make sure you mention them in the action item so people can reach out to them if needed. 
  • Skipping deadlines: An action item that doesn’t have a deadline is like a ship without a compass. If you don’t want it collecting dust, make sure you specify a deadline.
  • Not providing context: Explain the background behind why an action item is created, and what resources are at hand for tackling it. Otherwise, people might get confused as to why they’re doing the task. 
  • Zero prioritization: If tasks get no prioritization, things will start going downhill. Make sure to take care of high-priority action items first, then move on to the rest. 

Let’s see what will happen if you create an action item without avoiding the no-no list:

Action Item:
Improve customer satisfaction.

Increase customer satisfaction levels.

Customer Service Team

Not specified

Customer feedback surveys, training materials.

As you can see, the item itself isn’t very specific. OK, improve customer satisfaction; but how? That’s not what we meant by not being too wordy! An entire team is responsible, which will complicate things when it comes to choosing a person as the lead for the task. No deadlines? Not a good sign. Now compare this with the example from earlier. The difference is night and day. 

Templates for Action Item Lists

A good way of both creating and keeping track of action items is using an action item template. This will give things a more structured feel and help you find information faster. You can either use a premade action items template, or put your template together with your company’s branding. 

Use Krisp’s AI Meeting Assistant to Drive Things Home

Krisp’s AI meeting assistant boasts a number of features that you can use to create action items in a matter of seconds. It integrates with tools such as Zoom, and automatically records entire meetings. It has a built-in functionality that provides AI meeting summaries where you can find all key discussion points and main takeaways. It even goes further by assisting you with note taking and generating action items.


On top of all this, you can use the transcription feature to transcribe meetings into text files that you can later refer to. Even if you forget to jot down a specific action item during your meeting, Krisp will make sure that nothing goes missing and all items are recorded for the sake of clarity and productivity. It’s the perfect tool for teams who want to take collaboration to the next level. 

Record your action items effortlessly with Krisp, and never skip a beat!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are action items in a workplace?
Action items are tasks that are created when you have discussions during meetings. They need to be specific and with deadlines attached.
What are good action items?
The best action items are the ones that have short, specific descriptions where the assignee is mentioned, and things are clearly defined with a deadline.
Why are action items important?
Action items make meetings more impactful and help with expectation-settings. Each participant will know what responsibilities they and their teams have, and everyone will be on the same page. An action item list also helps with progress tracking.
How can I create action items with Krisp?
Krisp’s AI meeting assistant can effortlessly record and transcribe meetings, automate note-taking and action items, along with generating meeting summaries. You can refer to the generated transcripts to create, edit, and fine-tune your action items.