You’re sitting behind your computer, waiting for a Zoom meeting to start. Just when you think you’re off the hook, you hear the unmistakable ding and the meeting starts. You can see your host in the middle of your screen: it’s Tom, your CEO. He clears his throat and says the thing you’ve been dreading all along: 


“OK, let’s discuss the key takeaways from our last meeting.” 


Key takeaways? What key takeaways? Everyone looks at you. You were the one in charge of writing things down. You go through your notes, but it’s all a jumbled mess of doodles and incoherent phrases. You can feel Tom staring at you through the screen. Panic sets it. Then, suddenly, you wake up.


It was all just a dream! Your meeting with Tom and the gang is in two hours, and you’re all set. You’ve had your AI Meeting Assistant running throughout your last meeting. Everything is transcribed and organized: meeting minutes, summaries, and…the key takeaways. But, why are they such a big deal in meetings? Let’s talk about that in this article, and discuss how you can make sure those takeaways never give you nightmares on a Monday morning! 

What Are Key Takeaways?

Also known as “the crux of the matter” and the “nitty-gritty,” key takeaways are short sentences that sum up the main points discussed during a call or a meeting. Without these takeaways, a meeting is like a quest without a quest. It’s unproductive. If you find yourself asking “What did we just talk about?” as soon as your meeting ends, there was probably nothing to take away from it. 

Why Do We Need Key Takeaways?

If you’re a TV series fan, you’ve probably noticed those short intros before an episode starts. “Previously, on The Walking Dead…” These videos recap the main sections of the previous episode, reminding you of what happened and what you can expect to happen in the new episode. That’s similar to how a key takeaway works. 


They Make Meetings More Productive

Having a list of key takeaways after your meeting helps you set a clearer agenda on how to move forward based on what you discussed. Think of them as football coaches who prepare teams right before sending them off into the field. The talks might last more than 5 minutes, but by the time the game begins, everyone knows what to do and everyone is aware of each other’s responsibilities.


They Help With Communication


Not all stakeholders are always present during physical or hybrid meetings. If you put together a key takeaways slide, all team members will be able to catch up on the meeting and whatever was discussed. Those who are present will also be more focused on identifying the takeaways before they are announced at the end of the meeting. 

They Chunk Info Into Bite-Sized Pieces 


Depending on the subject, a meeting might last hours. It’s obvious that you can’t remember every detail that the team discusses during those hours. But what you can do is recording the takeaways during the meeting and referring to them later. The good thing about them is that they’re short and to-the-point, making them easier to read and follow. 


Key takeaways are useful in other areas as well: they help with the decision-making process, knowledge retention, and accountability. Plus, they can be archived as documentation and referred to whenever needed.


What Type of Key Takeaways Are There?

Key takeaways formats come in different shapes and sizes, and the one you end up using depends on the type of meeting you’re in.  Here are some of the most common takeaways you’ll come across with:


Status Updates


Nope, not the ones on Facebook. Status updates are indicators of progress from meeting to meeting. For example, “Karen has delivered the social media statistics from June to July, as requested in the previous meeting.” This is a key takeaway that you should definitely include, as it references the past while reporting on what’s been done.


Action Items


By action items, we’re talking about tasks that need to be completed or followed up on after a meeting ends. These are some of the most common takeaways you’ll run into at meetings.  Designate each task to an individual team member (or an entire team, if that works) and record them as key takeaways to maintain accountability.


S.W.O.T Analysis


Short for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, S.W.O.T. analysis is a key takeaway that’s useful for strategic meetings where you’re trying to set the course straight and understand a project’s ebbs and flows. 


Key Takeaways Examples

Here are a couple of examples for action items, status reports, and S.W.O.T. analysis key takeaways to get your inspiration going:


Status Report Key Takeaway Examples:


New Website Progress:


  • The developers are done with 70% of the coding.
  • We’ll start user testing on June 10th.


SMM Campaign Update:


  • SM engagement has increased by 15% compared to last month.
  • We’ll start the new PPC ads on July 1st.


Action Item Key Takeaway Examples:


Website Redesign:


  • Action Item: Sarah will finalize the homepage layout
  • Assigned To: Sarah
  • Due Date: June 15th


Client Meeting Preparation:


  • Action Item: John will prepare the presentation slides and review what the client requires.
  • Assigned To: John
  • Due Date: June 5th


S.W.O.T. Analysis Key Takeaway Example:


  • Strength: Our strong brand reputation and loyal customer base will support the new product launch.
  • Weakness: We’ve got limited in-house expertise in advanced digital marketing. This might slow things down initially. 
  • Opportunity: Growing market demand for eco-friendly products gives us a significant growth opportunity for the new product.
  • Threat: Increased competition from established brands in the eco-friendly product space could pose challenges for us.


As you can see, the lingo is simple and easy to follow. That’s what makes key takeaways different from meeting minutes that go into more detail. 


How Do I Create Key Takeaways?

Creating takeaways requires you to brush up on meeting terms glossary and get to know some core concepts when it comes to documentation terminology. You don’t want to just type random sentences on your key takeaway slide. Once you’ve got the definitions down to a T, it’s time to do some more prep work. 


Set the Stage Before Your Meeting 


If you don’t have an agenda for a meeting, we highly recommend putting one together. If you know what you’re walking into, it’ll be easier to jot down key takeaways. You can prepare an outline beforehand, and fill it out as the meeting progresses. 


Holding the Fort During the Meeting


The heavy lifting of writing effective key takeaways happens during meetings. Here are some life hacks you can do to streamline the process:


Practice Active Listening


Listen for details, not the fluff. It’ll help you focus more on the meeting instead of daydreaming. It’s easy to get sidetracked when there’s a heavy information flow. Even if you’re using AI transcription, lending your ears can be very helpful in writing down key takeaways. Whenever you feel like you’ve missed a detail or didn’t quite catch something, be involved and ask questions. 


Use Clear Language


Remember, the key to key takeaways (pun intended) is that they have to be as clear-cut as possible. Aside from the people in the meeting, anyone else who’s referring to your key takeaway slide should be able to understand what’s written there with no effort. 


Chunk Your Notes


Give a structure to your key takeaways. Use bullet points and numbered lists, and stick to a single formatting to maintain consistency. Chances are that you’ll need to write down takeaways for more than one meeting, so creating a template you can use for future calls and meetings is a good idea. 


Fine-Tuning Your Notes After the Meeting


Even if you’re confident that you’ve gotten everything, it’s still worth going over both your own notes and what the AI transcription tool has captured. Nothing is perfect, after all.  Review the key takeaways and verify the info. Make sure the assignees are correct, deadlines are captured correctly, and all action items are as written. Once you’re confident that everything is good to go, run your notes by meeting stakeholders and verify them to make sure there are no errors or misunderstandings.


How Krisp Can Enhance Meeting Takeaways

A great way to enhance your note-taking abilities and come up with detailed key takeaways is using Krisp’s AI Meeting Assistant. This advanced tool offers a ton of benefits that streamline the process of writing key meeting takeaways. Not only does it transcribe entire meetings when using online platforms like Zoom, it also eliminates the need for manual note-taking. With the AI note-taker, your teams can rely on generated meeting summaries that capture the most important points in a format that’s easy to understand. This not only saves time and effort but also ensures that neither you nor your colleagues miss out on critical insights and key takeaways.



Frequently Asked Questions

What are key takeaways in a meeting?
Key takeaways are the main points, decisions, action items, and in short, the gist of a meeting that are written down for the sake of clarity.
How can I ensure all participants understand the key takeaways?
Write them in a clear and concise way, using terminology that everyone understands. The language you use for a key takeaway should be simple and to-the-point.
What tools can help in summarizing meetings effectively?
An AI Meeting Assistant like the one from Krisp can automate the entire process of transcribing and summarizing your meetings. This can be very helpful when it comes to generating key takeaways.
How is a key takeaway different from meeting minutes?
Meeting minutes are much longer and go into a lot of detail. A key takeaway, on the other hand, is a short and concise text that gets the point across faster and is easier for everyone to follow.