How to Write Minutes of Meeting
29 October 2021
There are a plethora of reasons as to why keeping meeting minutes is important to your business. On the top of that list is the fact that they serve as a historical document of how and why certain decisions were made.
Because of this, they have to be written in a specific way. The person taking the meeting minutes, usually the secretary, has a large responsibility and must be willing to take minutes carefully and accurately. These minutes will then be shared with the meeting participants and in some cases, other people who need to be aware of what happened in the meeting.
This article will outline what meeting minutes are, why they are important and how to take minutes correctly and effectively. As a bonus, we will recommend a tool that is a complete game-changer in helping you take meeting minutes!
What Are Meeting Minutes and Why Are They Important?
Meeting minutes are a written record of the conversation and decisions that are made over the course of a meeting. They are also a useful source of information for those who were unable to attend the meeting.
Meeting minutes can be written for any type of meeting that has to be documented. This written record can then be used to keep track of decisions and action items and can be revisited at a later date. As a result, earlier meeting minutes can be used to make future organizational decisions.
So, why should you record the minutes of your meetings? There are 2 main reasons.
For starters, they serve as a historical record of the organization’s short- and long-term strategy. Meeting minutes can be used as a record for future reference, allowing participants to see what kind of progress has been made.
The second reason is that meeting minutes provide legal protection for the company. Due diligence is frequently recorded in company meeting minutes, which can then be documented to validate the organization’s ethical and fair policies. Minutes also serve as evidence as to how and why certain decisions were reached. This could prove useful in the future if any questions arise in regards to a decision that was made.
What Should and Should Not be Included in Meeting Minutes
There are 7 things you absolutely should include every time you write meeting minutes. These are:
1) Time and Date
This may seem obvious but it is important to note when the meeting took place, in case you need to refer back to decisions that were made, conclusions that were reached and action points that were put in place.
2) Names of Attendees
Take note of the meeting participants’ names and those who were unable to attend. An easy way to do this is with Notiv! The date and time, as well as the names of the participants, will be included in your meeting minutes if you use Notiv to schedule your meeting and write your minutes!
3) Meeting Purpose
Try to be as specific as possible in this section of the meeting minutes when discussing why the meeting was called and what it aims to achieve. This will be especially important for those who were unable to attend the meeting and for those who are using the meeting’s conclusions to make decisions.
4) Agenda Items and Discussion Topics
Use your meeting agenda as an outline for what will be discussed at the meeting!
It’s a good idea to send out your meeting agenda ahead of time so that everyone can contribute ideas and thoughts. This also means that no one enters the meeting without knowing what will come up.
If you’d like to know more about how to write a meeting agenda that you will actually stick to, we have a great article about it. Click here to check it out.
5) Action Items
Productive meetings result in action items being assigned to participants. Any decisions or action items should be recorded as soon as possible so that you can accurately transcribe them.
Listen for actions that need to be taken in response to important decisions, recommendations, difficulties, or solutions that have been discovered, rather than trying to capture everything.
Alternatively, you can use Notiv to transcribe the meeting minutes for you so you can focus on being present and participating in the conversation, without having to worry about taking notes yourself!
6) Details of the Next Meeting
Knowing when your next meeting is going to help you manage your time and prioritize all of your tasks more effectively. It’s vital to know where your next meeting will take place, and whether it’s online or in person.
7) Relevant Documents
Finally, as you’re sending out the minutes report, make sure to include any relevant documents that were used or referenced in the meeting.
As for what not to include in the meeting minutes, here’s a short list:
1) Personal Comments
Adding your own observations will make you seem unprofessional. It is important to remain unbiased and objective for the sake of making important business decisions.
2) Abbreviations and Acronyms
Unless it’s absolutely necessary to capture the conversation, avoid using trendy terms or abbreviations. However, if you do, be sure to include explanations of what these terms mean.
3) Sensitive Information
This may seem extreme, but no matter what happens in the meeting, never write a sentence in your minutes that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of a national newspaper.
4) Ignoring Uncertainties
If you’re unsure about something that is being discussed, don’t disregard it. Ask for clarification during the meeting so that the meeting minutes are accurate.
Minute Taking Tips
Now it’s time to go over some essential tips and tricks you should know that will help you take meeting notes more efficiently.
1) Write Notes in Real Time
Ideally, you should be taking meeting minutes during the meeting itself. If you want until the meeting is over, you are sure to forget some details. The longer you wait, the less information will be retained.
If listening, participating and taking notes at the same time sounds like a lot to handle, consider using a tool like Notiv to take your notes for you while you focus on being present.
2) Use a Template
Save yourself time on creating a template by using a premade one. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of them online but here’s one we like!
3) Proofread with Care
Meeting minutes are important to your company so take pride in your work and proofread them before sending them off for approval. Anything worth doing is worth doing well!
4) Send Minutes out Promptly
In an ideal world, minutes should be sent a few hours after the meeting, while it is still fresh on everyone’s minds. Send the report to important decision makers, meeting participants, and those who were unable to attend but need to be aware of what was discussed.
Formal Meeting Minutes
It is important to know the difference between the formal and informal meetings because that will depend on what kind of minutes you take.
The difference between formal and informal meeting minutes lies in the level of detail. Informal meeting minutes concentrate on the meeting’s notes, whereas formal meeting minutes must include much more information.
A formal meeting will have the following elements:
1. An agenda
3. Defined roles
4. A formal decision making process
5. Governing documents
7. Meeting minutes
Overall, in formal meetings, the expectations are higher and there is more pressure to get information down accurately.
Simple Meeting Minutes (Informal)
As mentioned above, informal meetings are different in that they do not require the same level of attention to detail.
One other big difference is that during informal meetings, you are less likely to take minutes and more likely to take notes or just action points. This means you’re more likely to use informal language, and the meeting structure and style may be more relaxed.
Because these meetings are more casual, discussions will just flow organically and decisions will be made by consensus.
Minute Taking Template
As we mentioned earlier, there are thousands of free templates online, but here’s one we think is useful. Feel free to use it in your next meeting!
The regular meeting of the Organization/Committee Name was called to order at time on date in location by Facilitator Name.
Approval of Agenda
The agenda was unanimously approved as distributed.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were unanimously approved as distributed.
Summarize the discussion for each existing issue, state the outcome, and assign any action item.
Summarize the discussion for new issues, state the next steps, and assign any action item.
Agenda for Next Meeting
List the items to be discussed at the next meeting.
Meeting was adjourned at time by Facilitator Name. The next general meeting will be at time on date, in location.
Minutes submitted by:
Take Effective Meeting Minutes with Notiv
We’ve mentioned Notiv a number of times in this article, but we really think Notiv is the solution you’re looking for in regards to taking effective meeting minutes.
So, what is Notiv? It is an AI Notetaker that records, transcribes and summarizes your meeting minutes while you focus on the conversation.
How does Notiv work? First, you schedule your meetings as normal in your Google or Office calendar. Then, select which meetings Notiv should attend. When your meeting starts, Notiv will automatically join. This can be on Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams or WebEx. During the meeting, Notiv will take notes and create action items based on what is being said in real time.
When your meeting ends, Notiv will automatically send you an email with the recording and transcript of your call, along with a short summary of what happened. You can share this email with the meeting participants, or anyone that needs to know what happened.
We know how stressful it is to participate in a meeting, listen to what others are saying and take notes at the same time. So not only does Notiv save you from worrying about getting everything down, it also saves you time.
As discussed, it is extremely important to know how to write meeting minutes properly. Use minutes to keep track of your business’ progress. We hope that this article provides answers to your questions about minutes and how to write them efficiently.
Let Notiv take your next meeting minutes for you, while you sit back and focus on having productive conversations. Chat to us today!
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