How To Write Meeting Minutes
I once heard an anecdote from a lady that the first time she wrote minutes, she mistakenly wrote down the number of minutes people spoke for! Sadly, if only it were as easy as that! If you've not taken minutes before, it can be a challenge. So many people talking about different things, and it can be hard to keep up.
What are Meeting Minutes?
Meeting minutes account the points, actions, and takeaways from a meeting written in a word document. They serve as a legal record as to what took place in a meeting and who attended.
Meeting minutes are not verbatim and instead serve as a concise summary of the business meeting. It is also mandatory for some organisations to have minutes of every meeting. Writing minutes is indeed a skill that can take some years to master. Here is a basic guide on how to write an effective set of minutes.
How to write Meeting Minutes
1. Let's start with the basics. Make sure you include the date, time, location, and attendees and absentees (known as apologies).
2. For cohesion, use the same format and style from previous minutes your organisation has. If this is the first time your organisation is producing minutes, and you do not have a template, you can purchase one from my Fiverr page here.
3. Use the meeting agenda as a blueprint to shape out the minutes. The tricky part is knowing what features of the discussion to include. Remember; you are not obligated to write the follow-up to War & Peace, and minutes are not verbatim. You will want to have the main points of discussion, action items, decisions and motions. You will also need to make it clear to the reader how exactly decisions were formed by writing a summary of the discourse of said decision. For this you perhaps could use phrases such as "Following a discussion it was agreed..." or "the Board discussed at length x, whilst Colin advised x, and Dani observed x".
4. Consistency is key. Use the same tense throughout, and always write in the third person. Refrain from using "we" and "us" and instead refer to your organisation as "the organisation" or "the organisation's name".
5. Some people find it helpful to have a little table of action items at the end of the document, with due dates beside each action.
6. Proofread, and then proofread again! Ask yourself if this would make sense to the attendees and even absentees? There are plenty of grammar checkers online, and my favourite is Grammarly.
7. Once done, and you are happy with it, circulate the minutes to the relevant parties. Minutes usually get approved at every meeting, so you will soon know if they were pleased with the minutes or not. But I have faith in you, reader, and I am sure your minutes will turn out great!