This is a fairly simple question, but I'll give some context:

Thursday 1 week ago I was in a meeting with my boss, my manager and 1 other colleague (We try to have a somewhat flat structure, though). We discussed a topic and agreed to discuss X next Thursday which would get us ready to discuss Y the meeting following X.

The next week, I hear that the presenting of both X and Y was agreed to be done on Wednesday (not Thursday) and that "that's what was agreed" because it's in their agenda for that day (which was apparently added a day after the meeting).

Now, because of an earlier occurrence where we disagreed on what we had previously agreed I was explicitly writing these agreements down in my notebook, plus my colleague remembers this the same way.

My question is about how I should deal with this. Part of me wants to just say "OK, that's not what we agreed and I have written this down for exactly this reason which I suspected might happen." But that's probably way too passive-aggressive. I feel like I have to defend myself, but that it will be counter-productive when I do that.

I know by now that the best thing I probably could have done is send them an e-mail after a meeting listing my notes and asking for confirmation. But now that I'm in this situation, should I just say nothing and make sure I have X + Y on that day? Or should I stick to what I wrote down for this purpose?

  • 2
    @Strader X and Y aren't people, they're items which would be presented in the next meeting(s).
    – Phalanx
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 17:32
  • Got it , Deleting the question
    – Strader
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 15:31

3 Answers 3


But now that I'm in this situation, should I just say nothing and make sure I have X + Y on that day? Or should I stick to what I wrote down for this purpose?

Depends what is feasible.

If you feel you can have X and Y ready for that day then go ahead, do it, and refrain from saying something.

However, I do not recommend to "just stick" to what you wrote down, that could have some drawbacks for you.

The best thing to do would be to try to get those things ready by Wednesday, but still send an email to the meeting attendees asking for clarification, saying something like:

"Hello everyone. I see that we are saying this should be done for Wednesday. However, I have in my notes of that day's meeting that we agreed to do this for Thursday. Would you mind confirming the due date to me please?"

For future reference remember to do as you said, and send an email after the meeting with the notes and things agreed that day, so you have some evidence to back you up and for all to not lose track of what is agreed on the meetings.

  • Good points, but I think an e-mail like that will come across a bit passive-aggressive.
    – Phalanx
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 17:38
  • @Phalanx really? I doubt it. What else you have in mind that could be less passive-aggressive? Can you tell this to your boss face to face? That could be more effective.. Still an email will also serve as physical evidence, it is better to have a paper trail that serves as evidence, and writing an email is the best way to do so (as it is visible by everyone, and serves as documentation)
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 17:39
  • Well the last time I e-mailed "I'm sorry, but this is in my notes, can others confirm?" I literally got a DM that I was being passive aggressive. Maybe this is a whole different problem that needs attention, but it just feels establishing for both parties that there's a disagreement and then following up with asking others about confirmations of my notes is a thin ice thing.
    – Phalanx
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 17:50
  • 6
    @Phalanx "I'm sorry, but this is in my notes..." does seem a little off. When I was working I made a habit of sending a very matter-of-fact e-mail immediately after a meeting just saying "We agreed X, Y, and Z.". I never got any push-back, and had a boss thank me because he liked to have a written note to prevent misunderstandings. Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 18:05
  • 1
    Also, don't wait until there is an established disagreement to e-mail. Document immediately after the meeting, and resolve any misunderstandings before there is time for positions to get frozen. Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 0:41

A great way to help eliminate this type of mis-communication is to prepare an agenda for each meeting and distribute it well in advance. With this approach, everyone should be on the same page as to the meeting topics.

Going forward after each meeting, send the team your notes via email, including action items and who is on the hook for each one.

I found this article to be of use help with this topic: Effective Meetings

  • The second part to this answer is to take the notes from the meeting, summarise the key points into minutes and distribute to all parties as soon after the meeting as possible. That way, everyone has a chance to review the minutes and respond if necessary
    – HorusKol
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 20:18

Just take the emotion out of it, it is probably just a misunderstanding that needs to be cleared up.

Tell your boss that you understood X, but make room for the possibility you got it wrong so you just want to clear up if it´ll be really X+Y or if it stays at X. If there are reasons why X+Y would be impractical or impossible to deliver, state them and offer you support for any possible solution's (X now, and why in 2 days instead of next week? etc.)

Apologize for any misunderstanding and inconveniences. Next time you have a meeting, write a short summary of what was agreed upon and mail it to all participants directly after. This way the can immediately tell you if the understood differently and if not, you have a paper-trail.

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