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Tips: Taking Meeting Minutes

Are you required to take minutes in a meeting? Here are some tips to assist you when you are next required to do so.

Purpose

The purpose of taking the minutes of a meeting is to keep an accurate record of events for future reference.

What needs to be covered?

These points should be covered in the minutes:

  • When the meeting took place
  • Who was in attendance
  • Who was absent
  • What was discussed
  • What decisions were made

How much detail?

The amount of detail included in the minutes of a meeting will be dependent upon the type of meeting being held.

Tips for writing meeting minutes

Before the meeting

  • Decide how you will take notes – pen and paper, laptop computer, voice recorder
  • Make sure your choice of note taking is working eg laptop works
  • Use the meeting agenda to construct an outline

At the meeting

  • Arrive early
  • Record names of attendees or circulate a blank sheet on which attendees are to print their names
  • Have a copy of the previous meeting's minutes
  • Note the time the meeting begins
  • Use the agenda document as a template to take notes for each agenda item
  • Summarise what is said, asking for clarification if necessary
  • Write down motions, who made them and the results of votes, if any
  • Make a note of decisions made, actions agreed upon, person(s) responsible and deadlines
  • Make note of any motions to be voted on at future meetings
  • Note the time the meeting ends

After the meeting

  • Type up / finalise the minutes within 48 hours of the meeting
  • Use the past tense and use the active voice eg 'Ms Gardner outlined the plan'
  • Proof read the minutes before distributing them

Template for meeting minutes

Here is a possible template that you could use when preparing to take minutes in a meeting.

  • Name of organisation or group
  • Name of meeting – it might be a regular meeting or one with a specific purpose
  • Date of meeting
  • Names of those attending
  • Apologies
  • Time meeting began
  • Agenda item one – usually the minutes from the previous meeting
  • Agenda item two, three, etc
  • General business
  • Date of the next meeting
  • Time meeting ended

By following these tips, you will find it easier to take the minutes during a meeting.

!

Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone is the author of Success Talks: Conversations with Everyday Leaders. Maria works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. She provides tailored programs in presentation skills, business writing and effective communication as a leader and team member. Maria’s programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
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