Successful organizations not only know how to run operations effectively, but they also have regular, efficient meetings that actually result in action.
This includes a clear agenda for all meetings, as well as a clear recording of meeting minutes so that anyone can review issues that were discussed in a past meeting.
What Are Meeting Minutes?
Minutes of a meeting, sometimes known as M-O-M, refer to a written record of the things that have been discussed as well as any decisions that were made during a meeting.
These records are valuable for many reasons:
- Decision-makers can look back and review them;
- Decision-makers can assign and implement tasks for decisions made during the meeting;
- Those who were absent can catch up and review the decisions that were made.
Who Usually Records Meeting Minutes?
Normally, an organization’s secretary is the person in charge of recording the meeting minutes. In the absence of the secretary, another person may be assigned the task.
What Is Included in Meeting Minutes?
Since writing the minutes of a meeting is a way of keeping records, good meeting minutes will normally include the following information:
- The names and designations of the people present in the meeting
- The names and reasons for people who are absent (Optional)
- Agenda of the meeting
- Main points of discussion
- Voting outcomes
- Goals and action plans set
- Decisions made
- Future decisions to be made
- Next meeting date and time
You can download and use our meeting minutes PDF template to help guide you through the process of writing meeting minutes.
Remember that meeting minutes should be concise, so you should summarize the major discussion points in the meeting instead of listing down what everybody said.
What Should Not Be Included in Meeting Minutes?
Generally, meeting minutes are objective statements, so you don’t need to record subjective comments or emotions, unless the chairperson specifies this. Keep your statements as neutral as possible.
And, as noted above, minutes should be as concise as possible, so you don’t need to try to transcribe every word that’s spoken verbatim. Simply recap the main points and important actions that were taken.
What Are Meeting Minutes Examples?
Basic meeting minutes for an informal meeting can look like this:
Name + Designation 1
Name + Designation 2
Name + Designation 3
Bullet point 1
Bullet point 2
Bullet point 3
Bullet point 1
Bullet point 2
Bullet point 3
Bullet point 1
Bullet point 2
Bullet point 3
A more formal meeting may include other items such as Opening Remarks, Approval of Prior Meeting’s Minutes, and a formal Adjournment.
Recording Meeting Minutes
Depending on the nature of the meeting, you can use different ways of recording meeting minutes. Some of the most common ones are as follows:
Verbatim is a Latin word meaning “word for word.” Most people who write minutes of meetings do not do verbatim recording, unless you are a stenographer who can transcribe as fast as a person talks.
With the advent of voice recording technology, it is now possible to have a written transcript of a meeting without added human effort by using artificial intelligence tools. However, most meetings do not require this much detail in their records.
The narrative way of recording meeting minutes involves writing down, in narrative form, all the things being discussed in the meeting. It includes all the ideas presented, whether or not they were chosen in the end.
The resolution type of meeting minutes focuses only on the agenda and the decisions made. It essentially records only the conclusion of the meeting, no matter what the thought process was to get there.
The action type of meeting minutes emphasizes the action points that need to be executed. Other decisions that do not require direct action may not be included in the meeting minutes.
How to Write Meeting Minutes
Now that you know the different ways of recording meeting minutes, here are our top tips for you to do it effectively and efficiently:
1. Sit next to the chairperson or leader.
If you are tasked with recording the minutes in a meeting, the first thing to do is find a seat right beside the Chair. You need to be able to hear every important detail. This also allows you to clarify information as the meeting moves along.
2. Bring your recording tools and templates.
If you are recording minutes by hand, a glossy notebook is among your best choices, as the glossy pages let you write more fluidly than rough paper does. Alternatively, you may want to print out meeting minutes templates to help make sure you cover all the important information.
If you are recording minutes on your computer, check that you have the necessary word processing program. You might also want to have a voice recorder to keep a voice recording of the meeting.
3. Be prepared and on time.
This means you need to be intentional about getting everything ready before the meeting starts, since you’ll need to be present for every discussion.
For example, if you normally take coffee at your meetings, be sure to have it ready by your side. Also make your trip to bathroom before the meeting starts.
4. List the participants as they arrive.
To save time and to make sure you don’t miss this important part of the meeting minutes, train yourself to list down the participants’ names as soon as they arrive.
Alternatively, you might want to pass your meeting minutes template around during a break to get everyone’s names and signatures. Remember that this will only be efficient for small meetings with a manageable number of people.
5. Document the agenda as headings in your notes.
Before the meeting starts, note down the agenda. Write them as headings on your notebook pages, with room below for you to write down important points discussed during the meeting.
6. List down the important points.
Then, as the meeting begins, write bullet points for the main ideas presented. Make sure you leave a space in between bullet points to make room for elaborations you might add along the way.
7. Make a table for decision points.
A good way of recording decision points for a narrative type of meeting minutes is to create a table where you can easily divide the comments for or against a certain decision.
You will not only be keeping a good record of the main comments, but you will also be able to consult your list during the meeting itself to aid in the conclusion.
However, for a Resolution or Action type of meeting minutes, you will not need to do this and instead only wait for the final decision.
8. Write down important dates.
Throughout the meeting, pay attention to important dates. These may include:
- Execution dates for action plans
- Follow-up dates for undecided items
- Follow-up dates for the execution of decided items
- The scheduled date for the next meeting
9. Clarify information as you go along.
If anything doesn’t make sense during the meeting, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. It’s so much better to ask questions during the meeting than risk listing down inaccurate information in your meeting minutes.
10. Refine your notes.
Whether you took down manual notes or made a voice recording of the meeting, you need to refine your meeting minutes so that everyone else can understand them.
If you wrote them by hand, this is the time to type them up. If you already typed them, read through your notes to see if you need to spell out or elaborate on certain bullet points.
11. Share the meeting minutes.
Your organization might have a preferred way of storing and sharing your meeting minutes, such as saving it on an online folder. If not, discuss with your chairperson possible options for sharing the meeting minutes.
Some ideas include:
- Posting a copy of the minutes on the company bulletin board within a week from the meeting day
- Printing or e-mailing a copy of the minutes to everyone on the team
- Sending a link to an online file for everyone on the team
Meeting Minutes Template
After you record your meeting minutes, you will then need to have them with you to review at the start of the next meeting.
While using a notebook with blank pages gives you freedom to write your meeting minutes with your own style, a meeting minutes template can help you get started in getting used to keeping important information.
It will also help you to develop a consistent method for taking notes during your meetings.
Download our free meeting minutes PDF template to jumpstart your task of effectively recording your company’s meetings.
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