Meeting minutes template really can save you a lot of time, let's find out why. If you’re familiar with the Ebbinghaus's Forgetting Curve, you probably know that the key points of the theory are:
- Memories weaken over time
- The biggest drop in retention happens soon after learning
- It's easier to remember things that have meaning
- The way something is presented affects learning
This explains why you can’t remember much of the things you discussed during this morning’s meeting, doesn’t it? But you do remember it was too long and unproductive.
Meetings can become an unnecessary burden for the whole organization or a valuable tool for your business, depending on how you use them. Almost 50% of employees consider regular meetings a complete waste of time.
When used correctly, meetings should get everyone from the team aligned and on the same page regarding their business activities.
If you want to make your meetings more productive, here's where you can start - write meeting minutes. It is a simple change in your routine that can bring great results in terms of efficiency.
We'll guide you through the concept of minutes and give you useful tips on making the most of them in the following text.
- What are the meeting minutes?
- What should meeting minutes include?
- Why is it important to take meeting minutes?
- Meeting minutes template
- How to get the most out of your meeting minutes template
- What to do with minutes after the meeting
- FAQ: How to Take Meeting Minutes in 2022
What are the meeting minutes?
Meeting minutes are records of a meeting's proceedings. They document the key decisions and course of the discussion. This way, all participants are on the same page with regard to the meeting's key takeaways.
Meeting minutes are used by people within the company who manage others as a primary source of information. It is critical to take accurate meeting minutes, as they serve as the legal record of a company's activities. To keep things simple, we break down all of the basics below.
What should meeting minutes include?
General details, like names of the participants, date, time, and meeting location. They are usually included at the top of the meeting notes and help find the ones you need in the future.
Meeting agenda , which will guide you through the points discussed during the meeting and help you recap important points by the end. It usually includes key points from the previous meetings, reports and data related to the topic of the meeting, topics to be discussed by urgency, stoppers, and goals, tasks, and actions the meeting should lead to.
The meeting objective is an important part of the minutes of the meeting since it provides a clear goal for the duration of the meeting. Let's say that the meeting aims for a pricing strategy for a new product on the market. With this in mind, all the participants will gravitate towards the topics contributing to it. For example, presenting research on the competitors' pricing strategies or a forecast of the revenue for the next quarter.
Follow-up actions should be tracked through the meeting minutes to clearly show what needs to be done after the meeting. When writing them, make sure to be as clear and concise as possible to avoid confusion. For example, "do a competitor's research" could be pretty vague when discussing a new product launch. "Do a competitors research for X product on X market" is a much better action point.
Besides that, you should assign every action point to one of the attendees, even if they need to delegate it further. In the next meeting, you'll have a person accountable for each point you spoke about, so tracking progress will be easier.
Any document that was mentioned as relevant during the business meeting should be a part of the minutes of the meeting. This will save you a lot of time that is usually spent on finding the reports and presentations mentioned in the minutes.
Lastly, when the attendees decide on the next meeting date and time, this information has to be marked at the end of the minutes. As with action items, it is important to be as precise as possible and avoid unclear terms such as: "a week from now" or "when the research is complete."
Why is it important to take meeting minutes?
You can use minutes for whichever type of meeting you want, from the one between team leaders and employees to a much more informal meeting. And for all of them, they provide immediate benefits. You’ll notice an increase in the effectiveness of the team and company overall.
Meeting minutes increase the effectiveness of meeting through:
- Providing a written record of important decisions and takeaways from the meeting. This saves you a lot of time in communicating with the teammates and stakeholders - you can simply send them the minutes.
- Being a trusted source of information. Later, the meeting participants can use them when forming future decisions. Through this, there is little space for miscommunication about responsibilities and the action that needs to be taken.
- Informing other employees and serving as a knowledge base for the company. This is especially important when topics discussed in the meeting impact multiple teams or stakeholders. Besides that, exchanging information becomes easier for all players since they can share meeting minutes.
- Let's say you have second thoughts about a certain decision you made during a meeting. With meeting minutes, you can go over attendees' main ideas. It can help you look at the situation differently, with all the necessary facts.
- Meeting minutes can help you plan the actions for the future because, if done well, they should reflect company strategy and keep you focused on your goals.
Meeting minutes template
To get a clearer picture of what the minutes of the meeting should look like, we'll provide you with an example of a meeting minutes template:
Minutes: Project Progress Meeting
Date and location: August 5th, 2022, Company HQ.
Objective: Review if the product is aligned with the business strategy and if the project can be completed by the deadline.
Deadlines: The final product version has to be ready for deployment by Q1 2023.
- Luke spoke with the stakeholders. They have an additional request regarding ____ functionality.
- Mary gathered feedback from the design team on current challenges and presented them at the meeting. The main ones are:
- Kathy presented a revised marketing plan for the product. The main changes that need to be done are:
The main obstacles and risks are: The design team needs feedback before continuing to work on the product. Stakeholders need a detailed presentation on why the modified product will have the best product-market fit, and no further changes will be needed.
- Luke needs to present planned modifications to the stakeholders and get their approval to continue product development by August 8th.
- As soon as we get the approval of the stakeholders, Mary needs to delegate tasks to the design team so we can move ahead.
- Kathy will start preparing the implementation of the marketing plan, so the promotion can start at the beginning of September.
- John needs to create a revised financial plan that will be a part of the presentation for the stakeholders.
The next meeting will be held on August 13th to review the newest project updates.
Here is a team meeting minutes template you can copy and paste to get started:
- Date and location:
- Meeting agenda
- Item 1
- Item 2
- Item 3
- Key discussions
- Decisions made
- Next steps
- Action items, responsible person, deadline
Here is another, more formal meeting minutes template:
- Call to Order
- Company name, date, time
- Voting members
- Members not in attendance
- Approval of minutes
- Related reports
- Main Motions
- 360 Feedback Questions to Ask in 2022
- Complete Guide for an Efficient Board Meeting Agenda [+ Free Template]
- Project Kick-Off Meeting Agenda Template
How to get the most out of your meeting minutes template
Now that we've explained why detailed meeting minutes are important, you see how they could be useful for your business. These notes help you remember what happened in a meeting and provide direction for future actions that need to be taken. To use them to their maximum, follow these tips:
Familiarize yourself with minutes from the previous meeting
As part of the preparation phase, you should send all attendees' minutes from the previous meeting. This way, they will be able to familiarize themselves with the most important decisions and thereby contribute to the upcoming discussion.
Write down all the information you have before the meeting starts
You can cover general information such as date, time, logistical information, goals of the meeting, or anything else that fits here. The more data you can collect and present, the better since people will follow the meeting easier.
Customize the template based on your needs
The meeting minutes template is just a framework to help you get started. However, you should customize the format based on your needs. For instance, if you have a very short, update meeting, feel free to remove all items that you won’t be covering (strategic decisions, voting members, etc). Also, if you feel that the template is missing items, go ahead and add those. This can include a brainstorming session or report analysis. Whatever you add, make sure to do it before the meeting so you don’t lose precious time.
Focus on what matters
It is impossible to write down every point from the meeting. You must prioritize the most important ones and add them to your notes.
First, you want to pay attention to specific challenges people bring up. Note down all specificities that explain the main factors contributing to the challenge (actors, financials, competitors' activities, etc). Once you start discussing it, you can relax a bit and wait for the final decision.
Also, you want to catch all of the major takeaways that people have or important observations. Basically, anything that can help shape the way you do business.
If people start talking about specific reports, don’t worry about jotting down all details - you can simply attach the document and highlight relevant areas for the conversation.
Without these priorities, you risk getting lost in the content of the meeting and missing out on important points.
Additional tips for note-taking
Since some meetings can be overwhelming, it is hard to capture the key takeaways. The speed at which people usually speak doesn't help either.
You can improve your note-taking skills by using some time-saving tricks, such as:
Use the initials of the people who participate in a meeting instead of their full names. Only include their full names in the beginning when mentioning the participants, and continue with initials afterward. This will make it easier to mention people responsible for key decisions and assigning tasks.
Use short words and acronyms wherever possible. With this, you can simplify product names, team names, or repeated practices. For example, instead of writing out the full name of your business development team, simply use BD instead.
Cut your sentences. There is no need for lengthy, beautiful sentences full of attributes. Your goal is to keep as much helpful information as possible while trying to make sense. Grammar is not that important as well. For example, instead of: "The Business Development team has decided to move forward with the acquisition of the Venture Capitalists LLC," you can write:" BD decided to acquire VC."
Practices to stay away from:
When writing minutes of the meeting, you should be as objective as possible and stay away from the following:
Including personal observations. While keeping notes of your thoughts on the meeting is good, you should do it separately, in your own notebook. But the meeting minutes should consist of facts related to the meeting.
Capturing literally everything. The minutes of the meeting are not a transcription of the meeting. Instead, their goal is to summarize the main points of it.
Handwriting minutes of the meeting. This mistake will cost you the most in terms of time and energy later. Imagine how hard it is to search for a specific point of discussion in handwritten notes that are ten pages long. The digital format lets you go through and share the document with others easily.
What to do with minutes after the meeting
Minutes of the meeting should cover all the important decisions you made during the meeting and provide clear next steps for the teams and individuals included.
Once you complete the meeting minutes, it is important to share them with the attendees and the employees impacted by the topics discussed and the decisions made. You can share them in paper form, but an even better option is using email or cloud for sharing - generally, a paperless approach.
Minutes will be especially useful as the next ones approach. It's good to remind all attendees to go through the meeting notes to make the upcoming meeting as effective as possible without losing time on recapping previous meeting decisions and actions.
This can serve as input to modify your template for the next minutes of the meeting so you can make the most of it.
Meeting minutes are important since they help you collect all the important information from a meeting and help you guide your business decisions. Taking them might seem overwhelming at first, but quickly you'll get the grasp with the tips and tricks we've provided.
Once you start using the meeting minutes, your work life should become much easier since you'll have all the necessary information at hand at any point you need them.
FAQ: How to Take Meeting Minutes in 2022
How do I write minutes of a meeting?
When writing minutes of a meeting, it is important to cover everything important that was discussed during them as concisely as possible. For good meeting minutes, cover:
- What was achieved during the meeting
- Decisions that were made at the meeting
- Any actions that were planned to do, as well as the person responsible for them
- Important deadlines
What are the 3 types of minutes?
- Action records the decisions and actions of the meeting and are concise and to the point.
- Discussion, for the meetings where the background processes are important. They are lengthy by nature.
- Verbatim, a record of every single word said at a meeting.
What is the format for writing minutes?
You should keep meeting minutes simple and clear to understand and format them to include the following:
- Date and location
- Discussion topics
- Follow-up actions
- Plan for the next meeting
These are the essential points all minutes of the meeting should have. Include additional sections according to your business needs.