How to Write Great Meeting Minutes

Writing minutes is not just taking notes: it’s setting the foundation for impact. A well-structured meeting can clarify objectives, foster collaboration, and set a game plan in motion – so you want your meeting minutes to do the same, right?

This step-by-step guide will help ensure you provide accurate and concise minutes that can be properly documented and referred to later.

Step 1: Get Prepared

Before the meeting even starts, make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with the meeting agenda and any relevant background materials. Build a template or format to follow as you record minutes. This will allow you to stay organized as you go, and provides an easy to read visual for efficiency.

Step 2: Be Present

Okay, so this goes without saying: attend the meeting. But, this is where being a proactive minutes taker goes beyond just being “present.” Be an active listener throughout the duration by focusing on key points, decisions, and action items.

Step 3: Record Relevant Information

This is where accuracy and efficiency can shine. You’ll want to note the date, time and location of the meeting, as well as a list of all attendees’ names. Include any guest speakers or special attendants. And finally, you’ll be capturing the main discussion points by clarifying any decisions made and/or action items assigned.

Step 4. Use Clear and Concise Language

Using simple and precise language helps provide clarity and quick comprehension. Use bullet points or numbered lists to make this information easy to follow.

Step 5. Focus on Key Points

Thanks to the preparation you went into the meeting with, you’ll be able to have a broad understanding of the meeting’s goals and objectives. Once the meeting is underway, summarize the main topics discussed rather than providing a verbatim transcript. Highlight key issues, decisions and concerns for easy review and follow-up.

Step 6. Document Decisions

By clearly stating any decisions made during the meeting, you’ll provide an outline for what needs to happen next. Who made the decision? What is the outcome? What action comes next? Make a list of these, if applicable, and include details like who is responsible, the deadline, and specific tasks involved.

Step 7. Remain impartial

Minutes should maintain a neutral tone, to avoid interjecting personal opinions or bias.

Step 8. Proofread and edit

No one wants to waste precious time trying to decipher sloppy copy. Review all of your notes to ensure accuracy and clarity. Correct any grammatical errors or inconsistencies. We recommend utilizing online tools like Grammarly, a cloud-based typing assistant. Grammarly can help with spelling, grammar, punctuation – even style, tone, and context.

Step 9. Distribute!

Keep a list of those who need to stay in the loop following the meeting, and make sure everyone who attended receives a copy. Share the finalized minutes promptly following the meeting. If there are any related presentation slides, documents, or materials discussed, be sure to include links or references. Maintaining confidentiality with sensitive content is important to remember here.

Step 10. Follow-up

You’ll want to stay on top of action items and their progress. Be sure to provide updates on outstanding action items in subsequent meetings.

When minutes are well-structured, purpose-driven and actively maintained, they can enhance productivity and collaboration across the board for both current and future discussions. By putting these steps into practice, you’ll find yourself crafting meeting minutes that not only serve as valuable references, but contribute to the overall success of your team.