Whether you are working in an organization or involved in a club, sports activity, or any other social event, you will always hold some meetings at some point in time. Meetings are important in any social setting. They not only help improve the work process but also provides an opportunity for members to raise ideas or discuss issues that would affect the group’s goal achievement. However, when your meeting doesn’t have a general direction or purpose, it can cause time and resource wastage. Therefore, if you want to improve the efficiency and timeliness of your meetings, meeting minutes & notes can serve.
What is meeting minutes and notes
In its simplest definition, meeting minutes and notes refer to a written record of every occurrence that happened during a meeting. Usually, these write-ups are used to inform absent members of what the meeting was all about, as well as what the members decided during the meeting. It is also important to note that while both minutes and notes are similar, there are some differences that are worth noting. Meeting minutes are formal and can be used for official reporting. On the contrary, meeting notes are less formal. They are the casual shorthand notes recorded during the meeting. Either the way, the two are documentation written during a meeting.
Why write meeting minutes?
Writing meeting minutes and notes can seem like an unimportant task for some. However, you shouldn’t note that failure to write these minutes can cause you more time and money. For instance, if you don’t write minutes, you’ll realize that your colleagues are more enlightened about what ideas were reached during the meeting. Usually, people raise different suggestions, comments, and ideas. And since it’s impossible to remember everything discussed, writing the meetings/notes is a wise idea.
What to include?
Perhaps you have been chosen to write minutes in your team’s forthcoming meeting and wondering where to start. Well, the following are some key things to include in the minutes/notes:
- The date and time of the meeting
- The names of members present, or those absent with an apology
- Amendments or corrections made to previous meetings
- Voting motion and seconder
- A list of agendas or items discussed.
- A list of actions proposed during the meeting.
- Any other business of the day.
- The next date scheduled for the next meeting
Tips for writing meeting minutes and notes
Writing meeting minutes or notes can be a grueling task, especially or those who are new in the sector. However, if you are charged with the responsibility of writing minutes, the following tips will make the whole process simple and easy.
Before attending the meeting, it’s advised for you to have adequate preparation so as to get familiar with everything. Remember that every organization has its own fashion of doing things. Therefore, you need to take some time and review some past minutes. This will provide you with an idea of the organization’s preferred minute format and structure.
Take a record of the meeting
As a secretary, one thing you should focus on is understanding how to take a meeting during the meeting. As such, you type notes as the meeting progresses, record or device other effective methods of getting the information taken. Make sure you include every information discussed in detail. For agenda items, you should write a short statement of each action taken by the members. Alongside this, you should include a brief highlight of the rationale behind each decision. For instance, if there was an extensive argument, you need only to summarize the main points from the argument.
Review meeting minutes
Here, you need to review the agenda and add notes, actions, votes, and decisions for clarifications. Make sure you edit the meeting to make it clear and easy to understand.
Additionally, it’s recommended that you attach any handout or documents that were issued or referred to during the meeting processions.
Signing and sharing of the minutes
Once you’ve reviewed the document and you are certain everything is in order, it needs to be signed to make it official. You can, therefore, let the chairperson as well as the secretary sign in their signatures. The document should then be shared with various members. There are a number of ways in which you can share the minutes. This includes email sharing, cloud sharing, or sending them through physical addresses.
Note that the main purpose of taking the meeting meetings is to bring out the genuine intentions of the members, and they serve as official legal records. Therefore, it is important that you only record those items that are harmless to the members.
Common mistakes to avoid
Some of the most prevalent mistakes people do when drafting meeting minutes include:
- Ambiguous illustration of member’s course of actions.
- Delaying to provide the meeting minutes to the board.
- Failing to manage the minute documents effectively.
- Failure to get the documents signed by the official members.
- Recording information that could cause tension or harm the members in any way.
Keeping meeting minutes and notes can be cumbersome for many. However, we have designed easy and straightforward meeting minutes templates to make everything easier for you. Our templates also have an open format; hence you can share your agenda topics with ease. At the same time, it has fields for the attendee list, action items, and other items. Therefore, if you are preparing for your next meeting, you can go ahead and download our free meeting minutes and meeting notes.
Whether you are a secretary to an organization’s board, or you are standing in for an absent secretary, writing meeting minutes or notes shouldn’t be a worry. In as much as they are essential, the minutes are equally important to the future operation of your organization. Therefore, you are as detailed as possible. Minutes help keep individuals accountable and informed hence aligning to the team’s goals.