How to Write Effective Meeting Minutes

March 13, 2023 16 Min Read

Meetings are an essential part of any business or organization. They provide a forum for team members to discuss important issues, make decisions, track progress, and assign responsibilities. But with so many people involved and so many topics discussed, it can be easy to lose track of what was said and agreed upon. That’s where meeting minutes come in.

Don’t know how to write meeting minutes? Don’t worry. It’s actually much simpler than it seems.

This article will teach you everything you need to know to take proper minutes. And if you stay till the end, there’s a free meeting minutes template that will help you get started.

📝 What Are Meeting Minutes?

Meeting minutes are a written record of everything that happens during a meeting. They serve as official documentation of who attended the meeting, what was discussed, what decisions were made, and what the team will do next.

🏭 Etymology: The term “minutes” possibly derives from the Latin phrase minuta scriptura (literally “small writing”) meaning “rough notes.”

Meeting minutes serve the purpose of informing those who were not present during the meeting about its proceedings. They also provide a bite-sized reference for keeping track of the decisions made so they can be revisited and used to guide future decisions.

Why Are Meeting Minutes Important?

Meeting minutes are important in ensuring transparency and accountability within an organization. They provide a clear and concise summary of the topics discussed and decisions made during a meeting, ensuring all participants are in the know. 

Meeting minutes also act as a follow-up tool. By documenting any action items that were assigned, along with the responsible party and due date, meeting minutes can help ensure that tasks are completed efficiently and to a high standard. This makes them a crucial part of any meeting agenda.

In addition to tracking individual responsibilities, it’s a good idea to maintain a list of these action items for review in subsequent team meetings. This helps track progress, foster accountability, and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

By making meeting minutes a staple in the meeting culture, organizations can improve their overall efficiency and productivity.

Who Is Responsible for Taking Meeting Minutes?

It’s common for a meeting facilitator or a designated minute-taker to be responsible for taking meeting minutes. This person is responsible for accurately recording meeting events and distributing the notes for review and confirmation among attendees.

This review process allows for any errors or inaccuracies to be identified and corrected before the minutes are finalized and used as an official record.

In some organizations, such as government entities and trade unions, there is a designated secretary responsible for taking meeting minutes. You can also rotate the role of the minute taker among meeting participants to ensure equal participation.

It’s important to ensure that the responsibility is assigned to a reliable and meticulous individual. Whether it’s a designated minute-taker or one of the meeting participants, having a clear and accurate record of the meeting is crucial in maintaining transparency and accountability.

✏️ How to Write Meeting Minutes

Start With the Basics

Keep your meeting minutes concise and to the point. Including too much information can make the minutes difficult to read and understand. At a minimum, your notes should feature:

  • 🗓️ Date and time of the meeting
  • 👥 Names of meeting attendees (including those who were absent)
  • 📑 Agenda items or topics discussed
  • ✅ Action items or decisions made (with deadlines)
  • 💬 Discussion points or summary of each agenda item
  • 🗳️ Any voting outcomes or agreements made

Keep Track of Key Discussion Points

When writing meeting minutes, it is important to summarize the main topics discussed during the meeting, including any decisions made and action items assigned. This practice is especially important in team meetings, where a multitude of topics might be covered, and various tasks may be delegated.

It is crucial to note key discussion points from previous meetings as well, as these provide context to the current discussions and can help meeting attendees follow the progression of topics over time.

When recording decisions made in a board meeting, detail is necessary but maintain a balance. You want to include the highlights of the discussion but avoid getting into too much detail. This approach keeps the minutes concise and ensures the record accurately reflects the intent of the decision made.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that when you’re preparing for a new meeting, reviewing other meeting minutes can be beneficial. This allows for an understanding of what has been previously discussed, enabling a more focused and informed discussion.

Follow Up and Ask For Feedback

After the meeting, take the time to review and summarize the key points, decisions, and action items that were discussed. When done, send your minutes to the rest of the team.

It is important to distribute them to all attendees for their review and confirmation. This step is crucial as it helps to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of what was discussed.

You can easily improve the quality of your notes by asking for feedback from the attendees. You can even invite your team to edit the notes together (more on that in a moment).

Use Clear and Concise Language

When writing meeting minutes, it is important to use clear and concise language that is easy to understand. Here are a few tips that will make your team’s life easier:

  • 🐇 Use short, simple sentences to convey your ideas.
  • ⚙️ Avoid using overly complex or technical vocabulary.
  • ⚡️ Use active voice instead of passive voice.
  • 🗑️ Eliminate unnecessary words or phrases.
  • 🌟 Use familiar terms and avoid acronyms or abbreviations.
  • 🪨 Break up long paragraphs into smaller, more manageable chunks.
  • 👀 Consider using examples or visual aids to help illustrate your points more effectively.

Finally, use headings and bullet points to organize the document and make it easier to read. This will ensure that your minutes are useful for the attendees and also across your organization.

Write in an Objective and Accurate Tone

Writing meeting minutes in an objective, impartial, and accurate manner is crucial. Avoid opinions and personal comments, and stick to the facts and main points discussed.

Using clear and concise language can also help maintain an objective and accurate tone. Avoid using overly complex or flowery language, and instead focus on using simple, direct language.

Maintain a sense of impartiality when writing meeting minutes. Avoid taking sides or showing favoritism towards any particular individuals or viewpoints. Instead, present the information in a neutral and balanced manner that accurately reflects the discussion that took place.

Keep Your Meeting Minutes Consistent

Having a format or template will help you keep your notes consistent. This, in turn, will make the minutes easier to read and understand, saving your team time and effort down the road.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a free meeting agenda template that can serve as the roadmap for your next meeting. With a clear structure in place, all you have to do is fill in the blanks.

🤔 Is There a Simpler Way to Capture Meeting Minutes?

Writing effective meeting minutes doesn’t have to be difficult. With 🐑 Taskade, you can easily capture and organize meeting minutes while chatting and collaborating with your team without having to shuffle multiple apps. Here’s how Taskade can make your meetings better:

  1. ⚡️ Real-time note-taking: Taskade allows you to take notes in real-time during the meeting, so you can capture the key discussion points and any decisions made. 
  2. 🤝 Collaboration: With Taskade, your entire team can work, chat, and take notes in the same project, at the same time. Everything is synchronized in real-time.
  3. 👨‍💻 Built-in video chat: You can host your meeting with Taskade’s built-in video call feature, allowing for seamless collaboration with your team.
  4. 🗂️ Easy organization: Taskade helps you organize information both on a project level (#hashtags, backlinks), and across workspaces (tags, global search).
  5. 📲 Accessibility: Taskade is available on all major platforms, including web, desktop, and mobile, making it easy to access your meeting minutes from anywhere.

And the best part?

Taskade comes with hundreds of free templates you can use to supercharge your projects. Just like this meeting minutes template you can copy to your workspace and share with your team.

👋 Parting Words

Whether you’re an experienced minute-taker or just starting out, taking good meeting minutes is a valuable skill to have. We hope that the tips from this article will help make your meeting minutes clear, concise, and more engaging.

🤖 Custom AI Agents: Use custom AI agents to refine meeting notes, flesh out discussion points, and organize everything in your workspace.

🪄 AI Generator: Automatically structure and format meeting minutes, generate action items, set the stage for key decisions, and more.

✏️ AI Assistant: Summarize long discussions into concise minutes to improve communication and collaboration in your team.

🗂️ AI Prompt Templates Library: Access AI prompt templates that are specifically designed for popular persona and business use cases.

💬 AI Chat: Engage in discussions with AI to fill in gaps, clarify points, and make the process of writing and editing minutes less time-consuming.

📄 Media Q&A: Employ AI to learn and improve from past meeting minutes, using analysis to highlight commonly discussed topics.

And much more…

Taskade AI banner.

Who is responsible for taking meeting minutes?

Meeting minutes are typically taken by a designated person, such as the meeting facilitator or a designated minute-taker.

What should be included in meeting minutes?

Meeting minutes should include the organization name, meeting details (date, time, and location), attendees, main topics discussed, decisions made, votes taken, and guests/speakers present.

How should meeting minutes be written?

Meeting minutes should be written in a clear and concise manner, with headings and bullet points to help organize the information. Use objective, impartial and accurate language, avoid opinions, and personal comments, and stick to the facts and main points that were discussed during the meeting.

What is the purpose of meeting minutes?

Meeting minutes are a formal record of the decisions, actions, and any assigned tasks discussed during the meeting. They also provide a comprehensive overview of what was discussed and agreed upon, ensuring all participants are informed and aligned.

Why are meeting minutes important?

Meeting minutes are a record of who is responsible for what. They provide a starting point for the next meeting and allow those who were not present to understand what was discussed and what decisions were made.

What should not be included in meeting minutes?

Meeting minutes should be impartial and avoid any personal opinions or biases. It’s important to stick to objective facts and avoid including subjective comments. The goal is to provide an accurate and neutral record of what took place, not to capture every detail of the conversation.

How should meeting minutes be formatted?

Meeting minutes should be formatted to include the following elements: date and time of the meeting, list of participants, agenda items, decisions made, actions taken, and next steps. They should be clear, concise, and organized, with headings for each section, bullet points for simplicity, and actions or decisions clearly highlighted.

How should action items be recorded in meeting minutes?

Action items in meeting minutes should be recorded clearly and concisely. They should identify who is responsible for the task, what exactly the task is, when it needs to be completed by, and any other relevant details. This allows for easy follow-up and accountability, and ensures that everyone is clear about their responsibilities.

What is the difference between meeting minutes and meeting notes?

The key difference between meeting minutes and meeting notes is their purpose and detail. Meeting minutes are formal records of decisions made, actions agreed upon, and tasks assigned, usually following a structured format. They serve as an official record for reference or legal purposes. Meeting notes, on the other hand, are informal, often unstructured records of the discussions that take place, ideas shared, and observations made during the meeting. They are generally used for personal reference or to share information with people who could not attend the meeting.

Last Updated on February 2, 2024 by Dawid Bednarski