How to Take Meeting Minutes in 7 Easy Steps
Updated August 12, 2022
Taking meeting minutes accurately is essential to capturing the vital information discussed in a meeting. A good meeting minute can suffice as a general accounting of the meeting discussions. Also, it can serve as an official record for all resolutions made and actions taken in a minute. Clearly, meeting minutes are very important, and so a lot of thought has to be put into writing them.
In this article, we explain what meeting minutes are, what every minute should contain, and some tips for writing minutes of meetings. Also, we'll discuss how you should go about writing meeting minutes.
What are meeting minutes?
Taking minutes has to do with writing the relevant matters that were discussed in a meeting. This contains the summary of each item on the agenda that was addressed. Meeting minutes have a lot of use cases in businesses. This is what is tendered or shown to employees that were absent from the meeting. Therefore, meeting minutes have to be profound to ensure that absentees can have a good description of how a meeting went despite their absence.
That being said, meeting minutes serve as a reminder to follow through on a suggested plan, program, and project made by an employer or decisions that may have been neglected. You can as well use meeting minutes as a future reference.
Every organization does not take minutes with levity because it is regarded as a legal document. Therefore, ensure all you write down is understood clearly. You may consider showing the minutes to an experienced colleague to double-check the accuracy of what has been written.
What should meeting minutes contain?
When writing meeting minutes, there is certain information that must be present. Your company may have a pattern for minutes taking. However, you must know that without this information included, your minutes are not complete. Below is the information that a meeting minutes should contain:
Name of the company
Time and date of the meeting
Name of the place where the meeting held
Names of employees present and absent
Any correction or addition to the previous meeting minutes
Date of adjournment for the next meeting
How to take meeting minutes
Here are the steps of all you need to know about taking meeting minutes.
1. Plan a format before the meeting
Using a meeting minute template will go a long way in helping you get as much accurate information as you can. Most times, the format is written based on the meeting's agenda.
An agenda has to be prepared before the meeting, so all you need to do is meet with the anchor of the meeting to get the list of matters that will be discussed. You can also request past minutes to study the pattern meetings usually follow so you know what to add to the format.
When you plan a format prior to the meeting, Since there is a space allocated for each item– the items are according to the agenda – on the format you have planned prior to the meeting, it is easier for you to write directly under each item as the meeting progresses.
There is general information that should be used in your format, and they include:
Reason for the meeting
Time the meeting started and ended
Names of absentees and people present
2. Write extensively on important matters
You begin with writing extensively from the name of the person that moves a motion as well as the result of the votes taken towards moving the motion. You may need to specify if such a motion was approved or not.
Also, you must be able to distinguish between unnecessary and the key take-away from conversations. Note any instruction or task given to an employee. Make sure you write the name of the employee, the task, and the deadline.
Whenever budgets are submitted, and reports are given, ensure you put down the name of the reports plus the person delivering them. Note every correction raised. In cases where reports are spoken rather than written, you may need to summarize what has been said for reference.
In addition, whenever there is a disapproval of a proceeding, record the disapproving statement and its cause. If there's any ruling by the manager or head of the company, include it. Note that you do not have to write verbatim everything that is being said except otherwise stated. A summary of each concluded decision is adequate.
3. Get a copy of budgets and reports
If there were budgets and reports given during the meeting, you should ask for a copy of these documents once the meeting is over.
This is so that you can send the documents alongside the minutes to the employees. And if there were any corrections made to such documents, from the minutes you sent, the concerned employees may even discover corrections they omitted during the meeting.
4. Double-check what you have written
The moment the meeting ends, revert to your note to double-check what you have written. If there is anywhere you need further clarification on, make sure you ask your questions now, when everyone is still around, and everyone can still remember what was said and who said what. Attention to detail is important and you want to make sure that you got the exact statements said by the employees.
Peradventure you did not get the information you want from an employee because you did not notice when they left, you can reach out to them by sending an email requesting the information you need.
5. Type the minutes
Once the meeting is over, begin to type the minutes you have written on your system while you can still remember all that was discussed. Your notes should be close by, so you can compare what you have with what you are typing. Every item on the agenda should be in a separate paragraph to make your minutes appealing and easy to grasp. To make the minutes more comprehensive, here are what you should take note of:
Get an accurate grammar and spelling checker to point out hideous errors
Decide on what tense – either past or present – the minutes would be and use the same tense all through.
Your stance on every subject discussed in the meeting must not reflect in the minutes. Be professional and unbiased.
Use clear words. Make sure whatever you have written is not ambiguous. You may replace a confusing statement with a short and concise one.
Do not include unnecessary conversations with no relevance.
You may go ahead to insert page numbers in the minutes for easy reference
6. Get the minutes approved by colleagues
Once you are done typing the minutes and have proofread them, you may forward them to the person that anchored the meeting. You can as well send the minutes to your superiors that will include their signature as a form of approval. If after reading, errors were pointed out, or you were asked to alter one or two things, make sure you affect the change at that instant. Ensure you point out the things that were changed in the minutes. After the minutes have been approved, you may now send them out.
7. Forward the minutes to the employees
You may make findings on how minutes are being forwarded to the employees. Let the method you use be according to the company's style.
By convention, minutes are forwarded to employees via email anyway. Make sure you attach every necessary document before you send the minutes out. Also, include the names of employees that were absent from the meeting. You may also confirm from your boss if they would require you to forward the minutes to an external person. You can now go ahead to forward the minutes.
Tips for taking minutes
You may share an attendance sheet to collate the names of the employees present
Names of employees present for the meeting may either be written alphabetically or based on job roles
You may use shorthand to make writing faster
You can record minutes, so you do not leave important details
You may get a ready-made template from online websites. All you need to do is edit the name of the company used, logo or any other copyright terms used.
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