What Are Meeting Notes

How to Write Great Meeting Minutes; A Short Guide

9 minutes read

The amount of information available to us today is far more than ever before, and in meetings, we get to hear even more information which can be overwhelming that taking meeting minutes becomes necessary most of the time. Meeting minutes are not a mere formality. The amount of information alone coming from meetings can make minute-taking a difficult task. However, writing minutes doesn’t have to be a task that scares you away. Minutes are a critical aspect of every organizational history and learning. It forms part of the way to keep everyone in the loop while maintaining accurate records of corporate strategy, decisions, and ideas. 

This article is the beginner’s guide to taking notes no matter the type of meeting. 

What Are Meeting Minutes?

Why Meeting Notes Are Important

Meeting minutes are documentation of a meeting’s objectives and outcomes that allow stakeholders to comprehend its mission and goals right away. These records should be clear and succinct, including the key points, needs, action items, and potentials discussed. Any stakeholder who was not in attendance at a particular event should be able to skim the minutes to see how they may

Meetings may be a source of transparency if, for example, you use them to communicate and clarify how leadership made certain decisions. Minutes can be the difference between continuity and chaos if, for example, they get new workers and leaders up to speed on a project’s history. They also have the ability to serve as progress trackers if you utilize them

Meetings themselves may be ineffective, but well-written meeting minutes might actually help your organization by enriching decisions and providing strategic value, according to Marcia W. Blenko, author and consultant, who said in HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Strategy that the notes are strategically planned to democratize company knowledge and foster a common understanding.

Despite the name, “meeting minutes” do not have to be detailed in every minute of a meeting. Nobody wants to be meticulously detailed, especially not people who have already sat through the meeting. It turns out that referring to these important learnings as “meeting minutes” makes them sound much more granular. 

You can use our tips and the featured meeting minutes template to improve your reputation as a company minutes specialist. Continue reading to learn not only how to take meeting notes but also how to take notes that help everyone at your firm be more strategic, decisive, and informed. 

Step by Step Process to Writing Really Good Meeting Minutes

How Do I Take Meeting Notes Like A Pro

If you’re new to taking meeting minutes, the process might seem daunting. Or, if you’ve been taking them for a while but they always seem to fall short, our guide below can help you turn things around.

Before the Meeting: 

  1. Review the meeting’s purpose and objectives. Is there anything that needs to be accomplished? Who needs to be in attendance? If there are any preparation materials, make sure to review them so that you’re up to date on the subject matter. This will help ensure that your minutes are accurate and helpful.
  2. Create an agenda. An agenda will set out the meeting structure and guarantee that all topics are addressed. It will also aid in keeping everyone on task and concentrated. Make sure to provide the agenda ahead of time to all participants.
  3. Choose a meeting minutes template. There are many different formats and styles for writing meeting minutes. Choose one that you’re comfortable with and that will be easy for others to understand. 
  4. Gather your supplies. Get everything you need to write: 
  • A notebook or laptop 
  • The agenda 
  • A meeting minutes template 
  • Pens or pencils 

Optional: If you’re using a laptop, consider using meeting minutes software like tl;dv. This can help save time by automatically creating meeting minutes templates and keeping track of important information like deadlines and action items.

During the Meeting: 

  1. Start by recording the basic information. This should include the meeting name, date, time, and location. 
  2. Next, list all attendees. If there are any absentees, make note of them. 
  3. As each agenda item is discussed, record the minutes. Be sure to include important details like decisions that were made and action items that were assigned. 
  4. If there are any handouts or other materials distributed during the meeting, be sure to collect them so you can include them within the minutes. 
  5. Towards the end of the meeting, take a few minutes to review the minutes with everyone in attendance. This will help ensure that they are accurate and complete. 
  6. Finally, assign someone to be responsible for distributing the minutes. This can be done electronically or by print, depending on preference. 

After the Meeting: 

  1. Once the meeting is over and the minutes have been distributed, take some time to follow up on any action items that were assigned. This will help ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner. 
  2. If there are any remaining questions or concerns, address them as soon as possible. 
  3. Finally, make sure to save a copy of the meeting minutes for future reference and file them away. With tl;dv, all participants will be sent a link to the meeting video, transcription and notes relieving you from having to do it manually. 

What is the Format of Meeting Minutes?

There is no one right way to format meeting minutes. However, there are a few elements that should be included: 

  • The basic meeting information (name, date, time, location) 
  • A list of attendees 
  • A summary of discussion points 
  • Any decisions that were made 
  • Action items and deadlines 
  • Handouts or other materials 
  • The date and time of the next meeting, if applicable 

Benefits of Meeting Minutes

1. They Make Meetings More Productive

Meeting minutes are a great way to avoid back-and-forth and endless discussion. They make things more efficient. If you want your meetings to be truly productive, you need to take meeting minutes. That way, everyone in attendance knows what the objectives are, what needs to be accomplished, and who is responsible for each task. Meeting minutes also serve as a great reference tool when you need to look back on previous discussions.

This is also possible because agenda items are placed on tables that assign contact persons, plans of action, and so forth. Stakeholders can readily be contacted when there is a need for further discussion or clarification. 

2. They Improve Communication And Collaboration

When meeting minutes are circulated after an event, they help to ensure that everyone is on the same page. They improve communication by providing a written record of what was discussed and decided upon. This is especially important in large organizations where there may be several stakeholders who were not able to attend the meeting. 

3. They Promote Accountability

Meeting minutes help to hold people accountable for their actions by documenting who is responsible for what. This is especially important for larger organizations where there are many moving parts and it can be easy for things to fall through the cracks. By ensuring that meeting minutes are taken and circulated, you can help to keep everyone on track and focused on the task at hand.

4. They Help With Decision-Making

Meeting minutes can be extremely helpful when it comes to making decisions. This is because they provide a written record of the discussion that took place, as well as the various options that were considered. This can be extremely helpful when trying to reach a consensus, as it allows everyone to see the different perspectives that were considered. 

5. They Improve Team Morale

When meeting minutes are circulated, it shows that everyone’s input is valued and appreciated. This can help to improve team morale by fostering a sense of inclusion and ownership. Additionally, by documenting the decisions that are made, meeting minutes can help teams to feel more confident in their abilities and more invested in the outcome.

How to Write Minutes in a Meeting as a Secretary

How To Take Better Meeting Notes

1. Get the meeting started on time. 

2. Introduce any new attendees to the group. 

3. Review the agenda and make sure everyone understands the order of events. 

4. As the meeting progresses, keep a running list of discussion points and decisions. Include the names of any individuals who are assigned to specific tasks. 

5. Once the meeting is adjourned, take some time to review your notes and flesh out any details that may be missing. 

6. Type up the meeting minutes and circulate them to all attendees as soon as possible. 

7. Follow up with any individuals who are responsible for action items to ensure that they are on track.

There you have it! These are just a few tips to help you write great meeting minutes. Remember, the goal is to be concise and clear. Include all of the important information without getting bogged down in the details. And don’t forget to circulate the minutes to all attendees as soon as possible. By following these simple tips, you can make sure that your meetings are truly productive as a secretary tasked with writing minutes.

How to Share Meeting Minutes

Taking Notes On Virtual Meetings

Once you have taken the minutes during a meeting, it is important to share them with all of the attendees. You can achieve this electronically or by print, depending on your preference. 

If you are sharing the minutes electronically, make sure to use a secure method of distribution such as email or a password-protected website. Additionally, be sure to save a copy of the minutes for your own records. 

If you are sharing the minutes by print, make sure to make enough copies for everyone in attendance. Once the meeting is over, distribute the copies and be sure to keep one for yourself. 

No matter how you choose to share the minutes, it is important to do so promptly. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and can reference the information when needed. 

Conclusion

Meeting minutes are a critical tool for making meetings more productive, improving communication and collaboration, promoting accountability, and helping with decision-making. They can also help to improve team morale by fostering a sense of inclusion and ownership. If you are taking meeting minutes, be sure to share them promptly with all of the attendees. This could be done electronically or by print, depending on preference. By following these tips, you can ensure that your meeting minutes are effective and helpful for everyone involved. Remember to try tl;dv for your meeting recording, note taking and transcription for free!