In this blog, we will look at the details of how to take meeting minutes. First, we are going to discuss the purpose of the meeting minutes. Second, we are going to discuss what to record throughout the meeting and finally, we are going to review a template that will help facilitate the minute taking process.
What are Minutes?
Minutes record major points, decisions, and follow up actions that are a result of the meeting. Meeting minutes also help to keep the meeting on track, because it uses the agenda as its outline. Meeting minutes serve as historical data that can be referenced in case a dispute should arise. They are also used to set the topics for discussion in the next meetings. Many times people who could not attend a meeting ask for the minutes so they can be updated on the latest developments in the meetings.
The minute taker should not have a major part in the meeting themselves. They must focus their attention on what is being said instead of participating. With this said, the act of taking minutes does not require that every word that is said must be recorded.
When taking notes, avoid becoming bogged down with writing full paragraphs. Outlining your points will make your note taking more efficient. When you are done taking minutes, immediately proofread and send them to the chairperson and distribute to all the meeting participants. File your minutes for referencing later.
What do I Record?
Many times people think taking minutes is a daunting task because there is a belief that every single word must be documented. If this was the case, then all you have to do is use a recorder and you are done. Recording everything will only make the minutes useless. The idea is to record information about who attended this meeting, the results and follow up action items. Here is a list of items that should be recorded in the minutes:
- Date, time and place of meeting
- The goal or purpose of the meeting
- The chairperson’s name
- Action items assigned to someone for completion after the meeting
- Decisions made during the meeting
- Attendees present and not present
- Items that did not get resolved
- Items to discuss in the next meeting
- Items that were on the agenda that did not get discussed in the meeting for one reason or the other
- The meeting end time
Keeping to this short list will make taking minutes more efficient and useful.