Meeting minutes | Steps to effective writing

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If you’re looking for a method for writing meeting minutes, you’re about to discover the steps to follow to achieve the ideal content. Meeting minutes offer a number of advantages that will enable you to effectively implement your agreed objectives. To make this document as effective and understandable as possible, it’s important to prepare it well beforehand and during its final writing.

What are meeting minutes used for?

A meeting calendar reminder
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Meeting minutes summarize all the ideas, instructions and actions decided upon during the discussion. All those present, or even absent, have access to a document summarizing the meeting, which also limits the risk of forgetting or misunderstanding the decisions made.

The benefits of meeting minutes

The purpose of taking minutes is to keep a faithful record of discussions. It formalizes the objectives set and the action plans envisaged by the various participants.

They also provide a means of tracking progress at a future meeting. You’ll be able to take stock of what worked, what wasn’t strictly implemented, or on the contrary, what improved the meeting’s purpose.

Another advantage is that absent participants are kept informed of discussions and decisions taken. They are therefore not left out, and can contribute to the action plan if their role so requires.

The different types of meeting minutes

Depending on the type of meeting and the status of the participants, minutes can take different forms:

  • Minutes are suitable for institutional meetings, which require a precise, detailed record of the participants’ exchanges.
  • A summary report is the opposite, as it only summarizes the main points of discussion and conclusions for each item on the agenda.
  • The decision statement is a short document that reports on the important points discussed, and will be suitable for quick exchanges on one of the actions to be taken in the short term.
  • Meeting minutes record the discussions and decisions taken in great detail, even going so far as to transcribe all the comments made by participants.

How do I take minutes? The 8 key steps

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There are a number of steps to follow when drafting meeting minutes, in order to produce a document that is accurate, concise and comprehensible to all participants, including those absent.

1 Prepare an agenda for the meeting

To attract the full attention of all participants, it’s important to clearly stipulate the meeting agenda. This should be clearly mentioned in the header of the minutes.

2 Structure your minutes in advance for greater practicality

In order to be efficient and save time, you need to prepare a number of elements before drafting your minutes. All information concerning objectives, timetable, participants, decisions and any comments have a place to be filled in, thus limiting omissions.

3 Take stock of decisions made at the last meeting

If the agenda has already been discussed at previous meetings, it’s a good idea to take stock of the decisions made. It’s a good way of taking stock of what has gone well, and analyzing what has gone badly.

4 Appoint a rapporteur

Someone needs to be designated as the rapporteur. This person will be responsible for taking notes and writing up the meeting minutes. With just one person assigned to this task, there’s no risk of information being scattered or recurring.

5 Write down decisions in plain language

All decisions and action plans to be implemented, as well as points of disagreement, should be recorded in clear, simple sentences on the minutes. In this way, everyone knows what the objective is, so that everyone can do their utmost to achieve it.

6 Indicate the date, time and place of the next meeting

Noting the date and time of the next scheduled meeting sets time limits for implementing the actions decided.

7 Send out your meeting minutes quickly

It’s always best to send out the meeting minutes as quickly as possible, while the discussions are still fresh. It also sends a clear message about the need to implement the means to achieve the objectives set as quickly as possible.

8 Have your minutes validated by the participants

When transmitting the minutes, it’s a good idea to specify a deadline for acceptance of the content. Consider 72 hours as sufficient time for participants to send in any comments or suggestions before the minutes are validated.

What are the tips for writing a good meeting report?

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There are a number of tips to bear in mind when writing the minutes of a meeting.

Write them up as soon as the meeting is over

As soon as the meeting is over, it’s a good idea to write up the minutes immediately. This ensures that all the information exchanged is up to date, and that there are fewer omissions.

Simplify the minutes for greater clarity

As well as clearly noting the decisions taken, it’s important that the entire report is written in simple sentences. These should be short, structured, and even presented in the form of a bulleted list.

Use a tool and format that simplify sharing and exchange

To ensure that all recipients have easy access to the minutes, you can use a format that is accessible to all. A Word or PDF file is the most common format for this type of document. However, with Google Docs, you can authorize the addition of comments and enable a better exchange of information between recipients.

Classify your meeting minutes optimally

To keep track of decisions and objectives reached at meetings, it’s essential to classify minutes correctly. Grouped according to subject and in chronological order, it will be easier to retrieve information and synthesize it for future meetings. By keeping the same structure, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for quickly, and analyze progress or obstacles more quickly.

Record your meeting

Recording the meeting is one way of ensuring the most accurate possible transcription of exchanges. New tools are constantly being developed to support and improve work tasks. For example, Microsoft Teams can automatically summarize conversations (currently in English) if the feature is activated. As the number of available AI tools continues to grow, there are many to choose from, including Perforny, Modjo and BeesApps.

Meeting minutes template to download

Meeting minutes need to be structured and complete. To help you with this task, you can download a template that can be improved according to your needs.

Template to create and upload

Simple but essential steps for good meeting minutes

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It’s clear that taking minutes is the best way to record all the ideas, decisions and points of disagreement that will help put in place an action plan to achieve a goal. By proceeding step by step and with organization, you’ll obtain a very useful document for summarizing the meeting for all participants, as well as for those who were absent. With the idea of improving your meeting minutes in mind, you can also consider optimizing the layout of your meeting room with Spot Booker.

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