Documenting the events and decisions in a meeting is extremely important in business communication. This ensures that participants share a common understanding of what the meeting was about and what they should do next. They can be useful in recording discussions and informing those who were unable to attend the meeting in person of what transpired during the encounter.
Given how meeting minutes are treated as an official and legal record which can be used as evidence to prove a fact or claim, they must be written as clearly and coherently as possible. So in this article, let’s look into the basic components of a meeting minutes along with a few guidelines on how to create one.
Listed below are the basic elements of a good minutes of a meeting:
1. Heading: The heading contains general information about the department or committee gathered for the meeting. This includes the name and business address of the organization, along with the date, time, and location of the meeting. It’s important to print the heading in a larger and bolder text to make it easy for the company to find the document when the circumstance calls for it.
2. Objectives: The objectives of the encounter must always be stated in the minutes of a meeting. This refers to the topics that need to be covered and resolved throughout the period. The meeting agenda will also serve as a guide for both the leader and minute-taker to know which points to raise and to note down during the encounter. That way, you can stay focused to your main goal.
3. Attendees: Make a list of people present at the meeting, those who were unable to come due to a valid excuse, and those who have requested for a copy of the minutes for their personal use. But if you’re holding a meeting for a committee of more than a hundred participants, you can list down those with high-level positions in the company. These individuals will be held accountable for the teams or departments that they represent.
4. Action Items and Discussions: During a meeting, attendees usually talk about matters that require attention and look for a temporary or permanent solution to address them. This includes any unfinished business that had not been resolved during the previous encounter, along with new and ongoing issues that need to be raised. Suggestions, concerns, and proposals made by participants must be noted down as well. An action plan is then developed to ensure a more successful outcome.
5. Announcements: It is possible for a meeting to adjourn without addressing every item on your agenda. This usually happens due to a time constraint or an insufficient amount of resources to settle a problem. During such cases, make sure to indicate a proposed agenda for the next meeting along with other announcements made by your participants.
When tasked to record the minutes of a meeting, you’ll need to make a plan before the meeting, take notes during the meeting, and produce a formal report right after. Although it seems like a lengthy process to execute, constructing an effective meeting minutes is pretty simple with the help of four easy steps:
1. Preparation: There are no hard and fast rules when writing the minutes of a meeting. Every organization does it a bit differently than others, so you might want to consult with your board president regarding the formats and requirements you’re expected to meet. You can also review past meeting minutes to keep documents consistent. Be sure to gather information about the meeting, such as the proposed agenda and the names of all attendees.
2. Drafting the document: When taking down minutes, you can either type out your notes or write them longhand, depending on what your organization requires you to do. The content of your meeting minutes should include the date and time the meeting was called to order, the names of the participants and absentees, corrections to the previous minutes of the meeting, additions to the current agenda, and other elements that might be essential to your objective.
It’s important to build up your notes as the meeting progresses to ensure that principal areas of the discussion are well-documented.
3. Writing the official record: Review a copy of the staff meeting agenda to gain a better understanding of its scope. You can use notes for clarification, especially for points that require further explanation. Actions, motions, votes, and decisions must also be reviewed to ensure clarity. Remember to edit your draft to compose a clear, concise, and easy-to-read meeting minutes. If necessary, you may also attach handouts that were distributed during the meeting as a reference for your final copy.
4. Signing, filing, and sharing the minutes: Once you have finished your meeting minutes, you need to have them signed by the board secretary and/or the president of your organization. There may also be protocols that need to be followed in terms of storing these minutes. It’s best to secure a few extra copies of the document in print or in a drive in case of loss. Make sure that the minutes has been approved by the president before sharing them to the public.
You’ll probably need to write meeting minutes at some point in your career. So to ensure that your documents are a clear and accurate view of what actually happened, these tips are sure to be of help:
The minutes of a meeting provides leaders with a detailed record of a previous discussion between members of an organization along with its agreed outcomes. The document can be used as a reference to support a claim in case a misunderstanding or disagreement arises. Meeting notes, as they are also called, can help save time and money by providing you and your colleagues a precise recollection of what was discussed and agreed upon at a meeting.
Although a company secretary is generally held responsible for taking the minutes of a meeting, this task can be assigned to anyone in the room. This must be someone who is a part of the meeting but does not play an integral role in its occurrence. So if your usual minute-taker has a major presentation prepared for the meeting, you might want to find someone else to do the job.
The length of a meeting minutes typically vary depending on both the agenda and duration of the program. Some meeting minutes are longer than others due to the amount of information being covered. In fact, most minutes of a meeting are written in a single-page document. It is simply a summary of what transpired during the course of a meeting, emphasizing significant points that need to be addressed and updated for the next encounter.
We hope you found this article informative and helpful for you to prepare your own minutes of the meeting with ease. So get started with the meeting minutes for your professional use today with the help of the templates and guidelines provide in this article.