Meetings can be one of the most important parts of any team or organization. They're a way to bring people together, share ideas, and come up with solutions to problems. But if you're in charge of taking meeting minutes, it can be hard to know where to start. And if you've never taken meeting minutes before, they might seem like a daunting task. However, once you learn how they work and what information is included in them—as well as why they matter—you'll see that writing them is easier than you think!
What are meeting minutes?
Meeting minutes are a written record of the decisions made, actions taken and outcomes of a meeting. They are also documentation of what was discussed and what was decided. They can be prepared by anyone who attended the meeting, but in most cases it's best to have someone else take notes so that you're not distracted by note-taking while participating in the meeting itself.
Why are they called "meeting minutes"
There's a reason that the term "meeting minutes" is used to refer to the record of an official meeting. The name actually has nothing to do with time. The word minutes comes from the Latin word for details "minutia". The term meeting minutes first appeared in the 1700s meaning small notes or jottings, which became associated with official written records of what occurred during an event like a public assembly or town council meeting.
What is the purpose of meeting minutes?
Meeting minutes serve a variety of purposes. The most common is documenting the decisions made in a meeting, but they can also be used for:
- Recording what happened during the meeting.
- Providing a record of the meeting for future reference.
- Helping with accountability (i.e., ensuring that people are held responsible for their actions).
- Helping with follow-up and reporting back to those who weren't present at the meeting.
Why are meeting minutes important?
Meeting minutes are a record of decisions, actions and discussions taken during a meeting. They provide you with a clear understanding of what’s been agreed on and who is responsible to follow up on the action items.
The standard meeting minutes format
- Always include the date, time, and location of the meeting. Use a consistent format for this information so you can easily track dates on your records. For example: “Meeting held at 3:00 p.m., February 21st, 2022 in Room 108 of Building A on campus.”
- Minutes should capture action items or tasks assigned after each topic has been discussed in detail; these should be written as bullet points with due dates attached if needed. Make sure anyone responsible for completing an action item is aware of his/her assignment before leaving the room! If there are any outstanding issues from previous meetings or unresolved ideas from one particular meeting that need further discussion/processing later on down the road (e.g., before another upcoming team meeting), make sure those are noted here too so they don't get lost amid everything else going on around them."
How to write action items with action verbs
To write action items that are more than just a list of things to do, use action verbs to describe the person who will take the action. To be very clear in your communication - action items should always follow the pattern "Person" + "Action" + "Condition". For example, "Colin to send an email after the call."
Following these steps will make taking notes at a meeting easier and quicker.
- Write down the date, time, and location of the meeting
- Record who was present at the meeting and what roles they played (for example: manager, secretary, or executive)
- List the items discussed in chronological order from start to finish
- Write down any action items assigned at that point in time
Meeting minutes are critical for hybrid and distributed teams. Getting clear communication documented however takes a lot of time and effort! It also steals focus from one person in the meeting. Luckily, we've built an AI at Supernormal that automatically takes the notes for you and even captures action items, key decisions and summary. Get started for free at Supernormal.