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What is the difference between meeting minutes and notes

What is the difference between meeting minutes and notes?

What is the difference between meeting minutes and notes

What is the difference between meeting minutes and notes?

Understanding Meeting Minutes/Notes

Definitions and Key Differences Between Them

Meeting minutes and notes are written records. Minutes represent a formal document that entails the main and points, decisions, votes, and actions of certain discussion items that were raised. It is used for legal and historical documentation purposes and is made by a designated minutes-taker. Notes represent an informal document, and any participant can make them for themselves. They are brief and require no specific structure since the user does not require to present the notes .

Therefore, the differences between the types of records can be discovered in their formality, level of detail, and purpose. Minutes are formal documents that following structure and are done on an official basis. On the other hand, notes are informal and vary in format . They are mostly meant for the note-taker.

What is the difference between meeting minutes and notes

Purpose and Use Cases

Meeting minutes determine official decisions and tasks and recount the information in a meeting to inform people who were not able to present at the overall decision. The minutes provide a record and account for decisions and tasks for future references. Because of this, the minutes are important for more formal gatherings with legal or business considerations. Notes are made to write down the discussion highlights and tasks that allow the note-taker to make better sense of the information. It is often done in less formal events or for personal use in the formal events that require minutes.

Components and Structure

Meeting minutes include:

  • Date, time, and location of the meeting

  • List of persons attracted and excused

  • Agenda items and brief summary

  • Decisions of items and time of adjournment

  • Consent items

  • Report of officers and committees

Notes are varied in structure, depending on what the user prefers to focus on. However, it is helpful to include:

  • Key point and ideas

  • Your own follow-up actions needed with deadlines

Creating Effective Meeting Minutes and Notes

Best Practices for Meeting Minutes

To create effective meeting minutes, the following best practices might be helpful:

  • Prepare in advance: set an agenda and distribute it along with any necessary background documents to attendees before the meeting. Such preparation might reduce meeting time by up to 25% by steering the discussion in foreseen directions.

  • Be concise yet detailed: include critical decisions, action items, and key discussion points. Avoid excessive detail that doesn’t add value to the purpose of the document.

  • Use a standardized format: ensure a consistent structure of meeting minutes, and follow it consistently across different meetings. It’s also helpful for readers – for example, list the date, attendees, action items, and decisions in the same order.

  • Record actions and decisions clearly: make sure every action is specific, while decisions are to the point. For example, “John Doe to provide a budget update by April 5th.”

Meeting notes vs minutes

Tips for Taking Effective Notes

During the meeting, it’s important to take efficient notes that will maximize follow-up clarity. Here are some tips:

  • Focus on key points: main decisions, action items, and crucial discussions. It helps to keep up with the information flow by writing down everything important without significant detail.

  • Develop your shorthand: use personal abbreviations and signals to write faster. It might not help others understand your notes, but it will ensure you can handle them later.

  • Review notes and organize them right after the meeting: it solidifies your understanding of what’s happened, and your notes will be clearer and more actionable. 10-15 minutes after the meeting will save you hours of future clarification work.

Tools for Documentation

Multiple tools and software solutions might help create and manage notes and meeting minutes. Here are several options with their effects and possible cons:

  • Digital note-taking apps : flexible and easy to organize with additional features like searchability and cloud storage – the popular options include Evernote and OneNote. THe former solution costs from free for basic versions to around $7.99 per month for premium.

  • Dedicated meeting minutes software: such as and MeetingBooster, these tools are specifically designed for creating meeting minutes with templates and automated distribution. They can cost from free for basic plans to over $50 for monthly pricing .

  • Collaborative document editors: Google Docs or MS Word Online that allow working on the same minutes document by multiple attendees. They are parts of office suites and can be free or cost up to around $12.50 per user per month for business-grade suites.

Managing and Utilizing Meeting Documentation

Storage of Documents

Working with documents and materials of any sort will inevitably lead to the need to store these materials, and storing documents properly can be of utmost importance . Moreover, proper storage and organization of meeting documentation enables the busy business manager to find valuable information when it is most needed. One option to consider, depending on the size and nature of your company, is to use a hierarchical or tagged system of means of safekeeping either in a cloud-based solution, like Google Drive or in a special document management system . Here, documents can be ordered by such categories as the date when the meeting took place, the project under consideration or the department producing these documents. Old documents have to be regularly reviewed and either archived or discarded, as an overstuffed, unused storage costs up to 35% more to access comfortably .

As for costs, cloud services are generally more scalable and offer more opportunities for remote access. They also vary in the amount of costs related to their use, with free limited storages like the 15GB Google Drive offing contrasting with the vast enterprise plans that can exceed $20 per user per month and offers state-of-the-art storage and security.

On-premises storing will require an initial sum of up to $2,000 – $5,000 in equipment for small to medium-sized businesses, as well as other maintenance costs .

Sharing and communication

The most effective way of using this sort of meeting materials is, of course, ensuring proper sharing and communication post-meeting. To that end, sending minutes and notes to your employees should take no more than 24 hours after the business event has taken place. This can be done using regular emails, company intranet briefs or even some already-familiar project management software, with the choice of one or more options depending on the size of the team and their connections . Email is currently the main tool for that, with all but zero direct costs and an arguable engagement capacity.

Project-management tools also offer integrated solutions for following up on the tasks and are already familiar to many employees . Free versions of these services’ basic level of use, while the premium features can cost anywhere from $10 to $24.99 per user per month .

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