How to Write Meeting Minutes & Meeting Notes

If you are the Secretary to the board in your company or have been asked to take notes for a meeting, you will need to know how to use a Meeting Minutes Template. This knowledge will allow you to record the minutes of the proceedings, which can then be read in the next such meeting for reference or by someone who was unable to attend.

It is important to note that organizations often have unique requirements on the content, style, and format of meeting minutes, so you should refer to your company’s guidelines when transcribing a meeting. That said, this article should prepare you to write effective meeting minutes.

What Is a Meeting Minutes?

A meeting minutes or minutes of a meeting (MoM) is a written record of the proceedings of a meeting. It highlights the attendees of the meeting as well as everything they said and did. Usually, this document is used to keep track of the decisions made during an important proceeding so they can be referred to or revisited when making decisions in the future.

Why Is This Document Called Meeting Minutes?

Contrary to popular belief, the ‘minutes’ in meeting minutes doesn’t refer to the measurement of time equal to sixty seconds. Instead, it refers to the ‘minute’ notes taken during the meeting, where minute means ‘very exact or giving small details.’ This is because meeting minutes record everything that happens during a meeting in short form.

What Is a Meeting Minutes Template?

A meeting minutes template is a pre-formatted document that helps you record the goals, agenda, decisions, and happenings of a meeting. It is designed so you can add elements to customize it to your organization’s needs. For example, you can include your company’s logo and leave some space for the signatures. Most companies have a meeting-minute template that fits their unique style.

Meeting Minutes Templates and Examples

Essential Elements of a Meeting Minutes

The information you record in meeting minutes will depend on the organization and type of meeting for which you are the Secretary. Nonetheless, unless your company guidelines say otherwise, a typical meeting minute often includes the following elements:

  • The company or organization name (irrelevant if the template contains the company letterhead).
  • The time and date of the meeting.
  • The names of every attendee, including in attendance guests
  • The names of those who were unable to attend and sent their regrets
  • A record showing that the previous meeting minutes were accepted or corrected.
  • The decisions are made on each item in the agenda. This includes:
  • Agreed upon actions
  • Voting outcomes
  • The names of people who made motions and those who seconded or approved
  • The taken or rejected motions
  • Next steps
  • A short note of new business
  • The date and time of the next meeting
  • The chairperson’s and Secretary’s signatures and signature dates.
  • The time of the meeting’s conclusion.

What Not to Include

As explained, the term minute refers to the brief details that are characteristic of the meeting’s minutes, which means you have to show restraint when taking notes for a meeting. If you are unsure of what to include and what to leave out, here is a list of things that should not make it to the final draft:

  • Redundant information. Don’t repeat details that are already mentioned in the agenda. For example, if the agenda indicates ‘New Recruits 2022′ as a discussion topic, you should note include’ team discussed new recruits for 2022′ in the minutes.
  • Your personal observations, thoughts, and ideas, especially if they have nothing to do with the agenda. If you need to make notes, do it on a separate pad.
  • A verbatim summary of every single thing that happened at the meeting.
  • A handwritten copy of the minutes; make sure to create a digital copy that can be saved and shared.

How to Write

Creating a Meeting Minute Template is a precise art: It includes taking real-time notes on every topic of discussion at the meeting, but not too many details that the draft is overflowing with information. This step-by-step guide can help you achieve this balance:

Step 1: Determine the Format

Meetings carried out in schools, trade unions, and county and city governments are required to follow a format called the Robert’s Rules of Order. If you are writing minutes for any of these organizations, you should also check the set guidelines for recording meetings. If not, you might have more flexibility on the format you choose as long as it aligns with company policy.

Step 2: Take Broad Notes

Once you know what format to use, start by taking broad notes of the happenings of the meeting. Don’t make a verbatim summary of everything every participant says or does, and avoid writing in metaphors or using figures of speech.

Step 3: Provide Context

Within your notes, provide enough context that someone who did not attend the meeting can read your minutes and understand what happened. This will be useful when the minutes are read in the next meeting or for future reference.

Step 4: Make Specific Notes

Finally, fine-tune your notes so that it shows a factual account of what happened and edit out any personal thoughts or observations.

Tips to Help You in Taking Notes

Besides balancing the content of your meeting minutes, you also need to be careful not to miss anything that happens during the meeting. The following tips should help you take valuable notes:

  • Incorporate acronyms into your writing as long as they don’t affect how your account is understood. Make sure only to use abbreviations other people in your company use frequently.
  • Avoid writing full names and abbreviate them (use name initials). This will save you a lot of time, so you don’t miss what the participant said while recording their name.
  • Write in fragments as long as you maintain the meaning of the sentence. For example, write ‘Schedules field trip for next Friday’ instead of ‘the chairperson set the field trip date to ABC Industry for Friday next week.’

Key Points

A Meeting Minute Template is a formatted document that helps you create an official summary of what happened in a meeting, who attended, who didn’t, and the decisions that were made. This record is often saved from being read in the next meeting or for future reference. If appropriately used, this template can help make communication among different departments in an organization more effective.

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