How to Take Minutes of a Meeting in 5 Simple Steps

Taking minutes of a meeting is easy as long as you follow the same process every time. Consistency is key when learning how to take minutes at a meeting.

An average executive spends 23 hours a week at meetings. While some of this time is necessary to make major decisions, better organization could lead to less follow-up.

Taking thorough minutes at each meeting will limit the need for additional gatherings, allowing people to work rather than talk about work.

Read on to find out how to take minutes at a meeting that increases productivity.

1- Use the Meeting Agenda to Plan 

Writing minutes is much easier when you have an idea of the discussion topics. You can find a general overview of the meeting on the agenda.

This will include the names of the expected attendees and any documents distributed during the meeting. Include the agenda headers as well as who will speak on your outline.

Use the agenda and a free meeting minutes template to create an outline to help you organize your note-taking.

2- Ask the Meeting or Board Chair of Expectations

Taking minutes at a meeting isn’t always going to follow the same procedures. Ask the chair of the meeting or the board of directors if they prefer certain items to be included in the minutes.

Clarify if they want you to make a note of who is motioning and seconding voting initiatives during the meeting. Also, ask if they have a preferred format. This will save you time from having to go back and change your outline.

3- Including the Basics

If you ask, “What are meeting minutes?” you will see that they all include some basic information. These items can automatically be added to any type of meeting.

  • Date and Time
  • Names of Attendees
  • Corrections to the last meeting minutes
  • Agreements and decisions made
  • Actions to be completed and by whom
  • When the next meeting will be and where

Include sections for these items on your outline since you know that they should be on your minutes.

4- Using Short-hand, Summarizing, or a Recorder

Minutes are legal documents that are used for future reference to an important meeting. So, you need to ensure that you gather all of the relevant information.

This can be a difficult task if you try to write word-for-word the whole meeting. Instead, use short-hand or summarizing technics that can later be transcribed into full cognitive sentences.

Recording the meeting can help you revisit the discussion to see if you missed something important.

5- Finalizing, Approving, and Sharing Minutes

The minutes of the meeting need to be typed in the appropriate format, checked for grammar and spelling errors, and approved by your supervisor. A draft might be initialed or signed by your boss to ensure that it was seen by him or her. You will need to file the draft, final copy, and any documents distributed during the meeting.

Once the final minutes are approved you can distribute them among your staff and anyone who missed the meeting. You will also include them in the packet for the next meeting.

How to Take Minutes at a Meeting to Elevate Your Career

Learning how to take minutes at a meeting isn’t the most difficult or glamorous job in the office. It can be cumbersome and degrading when you aren’t part of the meeting but just a notetaker. However, proving that you are organized and thorough can help you get the recognition and, hopefully, the promotion you deserve.

Visit our Inspiring Professionals section to see how others succeeded in their fields.

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