When you’re meeting with your team, it’s unlikely you’ll be taking audio or video recordings of everything that happens. This is where meeting minutes come in – they’re thorough notes of all of your gatherings, including important decisions taken and action points. They facilitate effective communication and decision-making within a business setting.
What are meeting minutes?
In a nutshell, meeting minutes are detailed notes documenting the proceedings of a meeting, capturing key discussion points, decisions, actions, and outcomes. Typically assigned to a designated member, minutes ensure transparency, accountability, and clarity regarding the meeting’s objectives and resolutions.
Why are they called minutes?
The term minutes actually has nothing to do with time – in fact, it comes from the Latin term ‘minutia, which means trifles or details. In other words, meeting minutes refers to keeping record of the details of a meeting.
Why is taking minutes so important?
Meeting minutes provide a historical record of the company’s discussions, decisions, and long-term plans, offering valuable insight into an organisation’s evolution over time. They allow attendees to refer back to these minutes for future reference, understanding the progression of ideas and actions taken.
By officially recording discussions and decisions, minutes ensure transparency, accountability, and compliance with regulatory standards, serving as a form of legal protection to safeguard the company’s interests and reputation.
What to include in meeting minutes
Here’s a list of what to include in your meeting minutes:
- Date and time the meeting happened
- Name of attendees and absent participants
- Decisions made regarding each agenda item
- Next steps
- Outcomes of any voting rounds
- Motions accepted or rejected
- New business
- Data and time of the next meeting
3 steps to excellent minute writing
To ensure your meeting minutes are spotless, these are the essential steps to take:
- Pre-planning: begin by planning the meeting in advance. Collaborate with the meeting leader to come up with a clear agenda, outlining key discussion topics and objectives. Review the agenda beforehand to familiarise yourself with the meeting flow and anticipated outcomes.
- Record-taking: record the date and time to maintain a chronological record of discussions. Capture the names of all participants and note any absentees for reference. Throughout the meeting, diligently document discussions, decisions, and action items in real-time, ensuring accuracy and completeness.
- Polishing and transcribing the minutes: use the meeting agenda to guide your note-taking process, focusing on key points discussed and action items assigned. Transcribe the minutes promptly after the meeting while details are fresh, highlighting important takeaways as needed. This ensures you produce comprehensive and reliable meeting minutes that serve as a valuable record of the proceedings.
Sharing, storing, and useful tools
When it comes to sharing meeting minutes, make sure to clean them up for clarity and coherence. Proofread the content to ensure that supplemental context is included and that the notes are understandable to someone reviewing them in the future. Think about whether a coworker could grasp the discussions and decisions made months down the line.
For filing or storing meeting minutes, you have a number of options. One common method is to use a shared drive (like on Google Workspace), then organise minutes into folders for easy access. Alternatively, meeting agenda software can streamline the process, offering features for storing, organising, and retrieving minutes efficiently. Regardless of which method you go for, the key is to commit to a systematic approach that ensures easy retrieval and clear communication of meeting outcomes.
Minute-taking best practices
Mastering minute-taking requires attention to detail and effective communication skills. These are some best practices to abide by:
- Prepare thoroughly: before the meeting begins, familiarise yourself with the agenda and objectives. Understanding the flow of the meeting will help you anticipate key discussion points and allocate space in your notes accordingly.
- Active listening: actively listen to the speakers, capturing essential points and decisions accurately. Avoid getting caught up in verbatim transcription; instead, focus on amalgamating information into concise, clear notes.
- Stay objective: maintain neutrality in your minute-taking, recording discussions and decisions without bias. Stick to factual information and avoid injecting personal opinions or interpretations into the minutes.
- Organise and summarise: structure your notes logically, using headings, bullet points, or numbered lists to delineate different topics. Summarise discussions succinctly while ensuring that all crucial points are captured.
- Review and distribute promptly: after the meeting, review your minutes for accuracy and clarity. Make any necessary revisions and distribute the finalised minutes to attendees in a timely manner. Prompt dissemination ensures that everyone remains informed and accountable for action items.
Minute examples and basic template
If you’ve never taken meeting minutes, here’s a basic template you can follow:
Meeting Title: [Insert Meeting Title]
Date: [Insert Date]
Time: [Insert Time]
Location: [Insert Location]
- [Agenda Item 1]: [Brief summary of discussion and decisions made]
- [Agenda Item 2]: [Brief summary of discussion and decisions made]
- [Agenda Item 3]: [Brief summary of discussion and decisions made]
- Action items to be completed before the next meeting:
Example of meeting minutes
Meeting Title: Marketing Strategy Meeting
Date: February 8, 2024
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Conference Room A
- John Doe (Chairperson)
- Jane Smith
- Michael Johnson
- Emily Brown
- Alex Chen
- Review of previous marketing campaign
- Brainstorming new marketing strategies
- Budget allocation discussion
- Review of previous marketing campaign: John Doe provided an overview of the results from the previous marketing campaign. Overall, the campaign exceeded expectations in terms of reach and engagement. Jane Smith suggested analysing the demographics of the target audience to tailor future campaigns effectively.
- Brainstorming new marketing strategies: the team engaged in a lively discussion about potential marketing strategies for the upcoming quarter. Ideas included leveraging social media influencers, launching a referral program, and hosting interactive webinars. Action item: Michael Johnson to research influencer partnerships and report back by the next meeting.
- Budget allocation discussion: Emily Brown presented a proposed budget allocation for the next marketing initiatives. After a thorough review and discussion, the team agreed to allocate additional funds to digital advertising and content creation. Action item: Jane Smith to finalise the budget allocation and distribute it to team members for review.
- Action items to be completed before the next meeting:
- Michael Johnson to research influencer partnerships.
- Jane Smith to finalise the budget allocation.
Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 AM.
Meeting minutes should be an essential element of any important team or client meeting. Remember, meeting minutes shouldn’t transcribe every single sentence that was said – they help keep track of key decisions that were made, pivotal discussion points, and a roundup of follow up points from the meeting.