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How do I create a meeting minutes template

How do I create a meeting minutes template?

How do I create a meeting minutes template

How do I create a meeting minutes template?

The Essential Components of a Minutes Template

Agenda items: These should list the broad topics that were covered at the meeting in the order they were addressed.

Attendees: Record who was present, and include titles or roles for clarity.

Time and date: State precisely when the meeting occurred for ease of organizing and recall.

Location: Note where the meeting took place, and whether it was a physical or virtual venue.

Facilitator: List who led the meeting and opened the topics.

Minutes taker: Note who was responsible for recording the minutes.

Action items: List each item that was recorded, who is responsible for following up actions, and by when.

Follow-up: Note any future meetings, deliverables, or other actions.

How do I create a meeting minutes template

How to select the Right Format

Linear format: ideal for simple, brief, or heavily structured meetings, this format lists topics in a straightforward, chronological order.

Functional format: Suitable for more complex, larger, and more varied topics, this structure groups similar items together.

Hybrid format: this informal type of minutes is easy for both linear and functional formatting. It highlights important topics or decisions from unstructured discussion.

How to Structure by Meeting Types

Different Meeting Types Require Different Levels of Detail:

Board Meetings:

  • Executive summary: List the key decisions or agenda items in a very short summary.
  • Discussion: Expand on each agenda item with direct quotes and viewpoints presented.
  • Voting records: include the results of the vote, including how each member voted and whether any abstained.

Team Huddles:

  • Key Takeaways: Summarize the main points without lengthy discussions.
  • Actionable Tasks: Emphasize what needs to be done and who and will do it.
  • Next Meeting’s Agenda Preview: Give a heads-up on upcoming topics to keep the team prepared.

Workshops and Seminars:

  • Session Summaries: Provide a brief overview of each presentation or workshop segment.
  • Participant Insights: Capture feedback and ideas from attendees.
  • Resource List: Include references and materials for further exploration.

Free meeting minutes templates

Embracing Confidence in Your Documentation

When structuring your minutes, confidence in the content comes from precision and clarity. Avoid ambiguity by:

  • Using active verbs to describe actions, such as “decided,” “proposed,” or “delegated.”
  • Refraining from speculative language: Stick to what was discussed.
  • Ensuring readability: Use bullet points, clear headings, and short paragraphs.

Pre-Meeting Preparation

Before the meeting, it’s crucial to lay the groundwork for effective communication and decision-making. Here’s a step-by-step guide to pre-meeting preparation:

  • Agenda Crafting: Develop an agenda that clearly defines the meeting’s objectives, topics for discussion, and expected outcomes. It’s best to distribute this at least two days before the meeting to give attendees time to review and prepare.
  • Logistics: Ensure that the chosen venue—whether physical or virtual—is booked and accessible. For virtual meetings, conduct a tech run to confirm that the video conferencing system is reliable and that all participants will be able to connect without issues.

Material Distribution

Select and distribute any necessary documents, such as reports or analyses, in a digestible format. Limit these to a concise summary to allow participants to focus on the discussion rather than getting lost in excessive data.

Real-Time Minute-Taking: Capturing the Meeting’s Essence

During the meeting, the art of minute-taking is to record the key points and decisions without missing the flow of conversation. Here’s how to do it effectively:

  • Active Listening: Stay alert and focused on the conversation, identifying and noting down the main points raised by participants .
  • Action Item Recording: Be diligent in capturing action items, including what needs to be done, by whom, and by when .
  • Clarification: If something is unclear, ask for clarification on the spot to ensure that the minutes accurately reflect the discussion.


Post-Meeting Minute Approval and Dissemination

After the meeting, the minutes need to be reviewed, approved, and shared to ensure that all participants are on the same page and to facilitate follow-up actions. Here’s the process:

  • Minutes Review: Transcribe and organize your notes into a coherent document, highlighting decisions, assigned tasks, and any follow-up required .
  • Approval: Circulate the draft minutes to all attendees for review and feedback. Aim to have this done within 24 hours after the meeting to keep the information fresh .
  • Distribution: Once approved, distribute the final minutes to all attendees and relevant stakeholders. This ensures that everyone has a record of what was discussed and agreed upon, and it facilitates accountability for the action items.

How to write with precision and context

The quality of minutes depends on the clarity and context of the information provided. To this end,

  • use plain language – avoid jargon and acronyms and use only words that will be understood;
  • provide context – for each decision made, add a short statement explaining why it was made or place a reference that the information has been previously discussed;
  • structure information – use headings and bullet points so that people would be able to quickly scan the minutes when reading them.

Using technology in the process of taking minutes

A number of technologies can be used when taking the minutes to streamline the process:

  • use digital tools – minutes can be taken in Google Docs or Microsoft OneNote, which is especially helpful when working in real time or when there is a need to immediately share the minutes with others;
  • use speech-to-text software – dragon dictation and similar applications can convert spoken word into the text, which is especially helpful if the number of speakers is large and they speak fast.
  • record the meeting to capture every detail, mark main points or use the recording as a reference in the process of writing minutes.

How to make sure meetings are accessible and retrievable

To make sure minutes are accessible by those who need them,

  • put minutes on a shared drive or an intranet to which all team members would have necessary access;
  • update minutes regularly and still keep a master list or an index of all meetings with dates;
  • make sure that the distribution of the minutes is automated using emails and that the reminder to complete tasks from minutes is also automated.

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