Meeting minutes are important because they allow professionals to review information and topics that were discussed during company meetings or conferences. They also help stakeholders understand the purpose and outcomes of the meeting. Clear and concise notes allow both those who attended the meeting as well as those who were not present to gather a full scope of key points, action items, and opportunities that were discussed. Understanding how to properly take minutes at a business meeting will ensure that your team members and stakeholders are well informed of happenings within the organization as well as their duties and responsibilities. Here are some steps you can take to effectively write and distribute meeting minutes.
1. Prepare a Template Ahead of Time
Prior to the meeting, you should create a template or outline with important information already filled out. This would include things such as: organization name, meeting purpose, start and end times, date and location, list of attendees and absentees, and space for signatures. Filling this out ahead of time will save time during the meeting so you can concentrate on taking relevant notes.
2. Take Notes During the Meeting
Throughout the meeting, you want to take notes about important actions, decisions, assignments, and discussions that occur. Avoid writing everything down and limit your notes to only the most important information. You also want to record the names of anyone who provides reports or presentations and summarize that content. You should also record any votes, project assignments, deadlines, or new projects and include details and dates. Avoid using your opinion and strictly record factual information and discussions.
3. Collect Copies of Reports or Presentations
If any participants shared a report or presentation, you want to obtain a copy of the report as well as any slides from the presentation. Once you receive these documents, you can attach them to your meeting minutes to share with participants.
4. Review Your Notes
Once you have completed taking and gathering your notes and materials, note the time that the meeting ended. You then want to review your notes to be sure you didn’t leave anything out and at this point you can add any other pertinent information. If you need any additional information from someone, you can send them an email asking for this information so you can get that added to your minutes as well.
5. Create a Final Draft
Once you have gathered all the information and materials from the meeting, it’s time to type this information into paragraphs. Write a separate paragraph for each action item and order your paragraphs in the same order that the meeting took place. Keep your notes in present tense and refrain from any opinions or technical jargon. Your minutes should be very straightforward and easy to understand.
6. Deliver the Minutes
After you have typed up your final draft you are ready to share the meeting minutes with all participants. Be sure to attach any necessary documents so you can provide the information to all participants, even those who missed the meeting.
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