Minutes of meeting can be a struggle to write, especially for first-time minute takers. Despite its name, meeting minutes is not a minute-by-minute record. Instead, you should only capture relevant information, including what has been decided in the meeting, who should be taking the next steps, and when should they be implemented.
Roles of a Minute Taker
As a minute taker, you will take lead of the project in setting guidelines and directions. You will also have to ensure those documents are accurate for all stakeholders to look back at in case any problems arise.
In addition, your writing needs to be clear and properly structured for employees who were absent from the meeting, so they can easily refer to the tasks assigned to them.
Step 1 – Writing Minutes of Meeting: Before the Meeting
Before the meeting commences, it would be ideal to get a copy of the agenda from the meeting leader. Structure those minutes according to the agenda and ensure that it matches the flow of the meeting.
An example of a meeting agenda on Microsoft Word
From the meeting outline, you can also determine additional information to include in your minutes, such as the names of all participants, and the documents which will be distributed during the meeting.
If you are new to taking minutes, it is recommended to refer and adapt to how previous meeting notes were written in the company. If you are unable to find any previous meeting notes, Indeed.com has prepared a list of common placeholders which you can use as a head start:
- Organisation name
- Meeting purpose
- Start and end times
- Date and location
- List of attendees and absentees, if necessary
- Space for important information like motions passed or deadlines given
- Space for your signature and the meeting leader’s signature, if needed
- An agenda, if the meeting leader provided you with one
Step 2 – Writing Minutes of Meeting: During the Meeting
You are now in the meeting with your template ready. By this time, you should have your template filled out as much as possible. The next step is to determine what information you should include in your meeting minutes.
Generally, you should avoid documenting everything verbatim. You may do that on a separate note, but you must filter out the important information from the unimportant.
Crucial information can include highlights of a presentation or report and any assignments that your manager has given to an employee. You should note down the name of that employee, the essential details of the assignment, and the exact deadline.
Additionally, your minutes should record any votes and motions in the meeting, including who has requested to move the motion, what the motion was, and if the motion was passed.
If you are noting down discussions, you need to document them objectively and refrain from using your opinions to describe others.
Step 3 – Writing Minutes of Meeting: After the Meeting
You should note down when the meeting is adjourned. This is when you should start typing your minutes—while everything is fresh in your mind.
You are encouraged to paragraph every crucial decision to ensure it is easy for both attendees and absentees to understand what you have written. Attach any supporting documents into the minutes and proofread it for grammatical errors.
After your minutes are completed, it is time to send it to the people in leadership and get their signature of approval. If there is feedback, you should make the edits quickly and run through the necessary people once more.
Finally, you may send the minutes to all the relevant employees. But before you hit ‘send’, remember to attach any handouts or decks from the meeting along with your minutes.
Follow these guidelines closely and you will master the basics of minutes writing. But producing effective minutes, on the other hand, requires strategic business writing skills.
At ACES Learning Hub, we provide an Effective Minutes-Writing Skills course dedicated to helping you write well-crafted minutes, with clarity and speed. Led by Training Director Nancy Neo, you will learn the writing strategies needed to write clearer and more accurate minutes.
Enhance your minutes writing skills. Register for our Effective Minutes-Writing Skills course today!