What are meeting minutes?
Meeting minutes are a written record of the conversation and decisions that are made over the course of a meeting.
Despite their name, the Minutes don’t have to be a record of every single minute of a meeting but rather the main points which can be used as a permanent performance written document to be used as a reference for future decision-making.
This written record can be used to:
(i) inform team members who weren’t able to attend what happened.
(ii) to record actions that must be completed before the next meeting.
Minutes for Formal Meetings
Formal meeting minutes are used to document big or official decisions that often require approval. These meeting minutes use formal language and are structured with the purpose of being shared with all of the meeting participants afterwards.
If you’re writing minutes for a formal meeting, it’s important to document as much information as possible, and keep the meeting format consistent from meeting to meeting.
Minutes for informal meetings
Informal meeting minutes serve as a quick reference to important topics that have been covered in your meeting such as goals, obstacles, deadlines or ideas that have surfaced.
It’s a good idea to send out the meeting agenda in advance so that everyone can make suggestions and contribute to it, and the meeting agenda can be used as the basis for your Mom.
Whatever the style of meeting, these points must be included in the MoM
- Date and time of meeting
- Names of the participants
- Purpose of the meeting
- Agenda items and topics to be discussed
- Action items
- Next meeting date and place
- Documents to be included in the meeting report
Tips for not wasting time when writing up MoM
Use a template, this will save you time as you can copy the structure from previous MoM.
Prepare in advance, adapt your template to the meeting agenda, make a note of attendees etc
Type directly into your laptop so you don’t have to retype everything later.
Remember that the objective of any meeting is to assign action items to different participants; record any decisions or action items as soon as they happen so that you can transcribe them with accuracy. Recording the action items of a meeting will enable you as a group to know who is responsible for different tasks that will help you achieve your larger, organizational goals. Don’t leave room for ambiguity.
If anything is unclear, speak up and ask for clarification right away so you won’t have to waste time after the meeting asking colleagues for clarification.
Capturing everything would be impossible, so instead, listen for actions that need to be made in relation to major decisions, recommendations, challenges or solutions that have been identified.
Write up the MoM asap. Once the meeting is over, try to write up the MoM as quickly as you can while everything is fresh in your mind. This decreases the chance of mistakes and allows you to contact meeting participants if you have questions.