Nobody loves meetings at Slite. So we put together a simple, actionable, step-by-step guide to write effective meeting minutes.
Meetings are popular to move things forward in organizations. But they're also infamous for their inefficiency: according to Doodle 2019 state of meeting report, the cost of poorly handled meetingsin 2019 will reach $399 billion in the U.S solely.
That's why learning how to write effective meeting minutes is vital to leverage all the efforts spent in meetings and make your team or company thrive.
We've put together a step-by-step guide for you to improve your note-taking skills and run more productive meetings.
What are meeting minutes?
They're an official record of the meeting for its participants and a source of information for teammates who were unable to attend. They are meant to be a permanent written record for future references about decisions made. No meeting should end-up without meeting notes, that's a rule at Slite.
Despite the name, meeting minutes don't have to be a record of every single "minute." On the contrary, it is vital to learn how cut through the noise and bring the most relevant information to your document.
What should you include when writing meeting minutes?
To write effective meeting minutes you should include:
Meeting name and place
Date and time of the meeting
List of meeting participants
Purpose of the meeting
For each agenda items: decisions, action items, and next steps
Next meeting date and place
Documents to be included in the meeting report
Efficiency & tips:
Type directly on your laptop, so you don't have to retype everything later.
If anything is unclear, speak up and ask for clarification right away, so you won't have to poke around after the meeting. Don't leave room for ambiguity.
Capture essential points only. Write down the main decisions and action items concisely, you don't want to miss any. You'll always have time to get back to it when wrapping-up after the meeting if you wish to add some more details.
8 tips to run effective team meetings: we wrote a dedicated guide to help you run great team meetings.
Use Draft by Slite to start taking notes directly from a new tab in your brower (Firefox or Chrome)
How to prepare before the meeting?
A great meeting starts before you actually start writing minutes.
To ensure maximum efficiency you should always clarify what is expected of you as the note-taker, especially if you are new to it.
It's also important to check with the meeting owner that the meeting agenda is set in advance. Not only is it the path to running effective team meetings but it's a great way to be more efficient:
use the agenda items to prepare an outline for your document and pre-fill the list of meeting attendees
If necessary, include a reference to items from the previous meeting that attendees would need to be aware of
And last but not least, if you're using a note-taking software (such as Slite), you can set-up meeting minutes templates for different meetings and pre-attach relevant documents to the note (meeting presentation, report to be discussed...)
That way, when you actually get to the meeting, you're ready to write down the important stuff.
Depending on the type of meeting you'll want to structure your meeting minutes differently. Below is an example of minutes items for an informal meeting. You can also discover fully customizable meetings notes templates.
Finalizing the meeting minutes
You should wrap-up your notes right after the meeting, while it's still fresh in your mind:
Complete your meeting notes and clarify points when necessary
Double-check that decisions and actions are precisely noted
Keep things as concise and digestible as possible
Proofread with care. Nowadays you can use automated grammar checkers such as Grammarly to help you go faster
If needed send the draft to the meeting leader before sharing with other attendees. (Especially for most formal meetings such as "board of directors" or committee meetings.)
Sharing the meeting minutes
You made it! This last step is crucial: make sure to share your meeting minutes with all meeting attendees and relevant stakeholders. Furthermore, you can choose to host the meeting minutes in a collaborative tool like Slite so that everyone has easy access to it.
Productive and effective team meetings are not only good meeting minutes: you'll need to ensure that the right people have access to the right knowledge before, during and after your meetings and can easily collaborate on it.