Whether virtual or in-person, meetings are engrained in how businesses function. The truth, when it comes to how meetings are run, there is room for improvement. Businesses should strive for better meetings, and one way to have better meetings is to have a detailed meeting minutes template.
What goes into creating the perfect meeting minutes template that you can repeatedly for your meetings? It’s important not to miss any important piece of information about the meeting.
At yoyomeeting, we have some experience with meetings, so we know what to include in a meeting minutes template.
What’s The Purpose of Writing Meeting Minutes?
Meeting minutes serve as a record of what transpires during a meeting, including action items and next steps. They serve to document the meeting for those that did not attend. for those who are new to meeting minutes, see our minute taking tips for beginners).
The Meeting Minutes Process
For each meeting, the minutes process starts with an agenda and ends when you store away your minutes. In between these steps, a note-taker will document each meeting and transcribe the notes into legible minutes for others to reference.
What Should be Included in a Meeting Minutes?
When it comes to a template for meeting notes, there are certain things you’ll want to include. Here are the elements of a meeting minutes template:
- Meeting Agenda
- Date, Time & location
- Discussion Topics
- Action Items
The meeting agenda is essentially the outline of the meeting. These are pre-planned notes on the purpose of the meeting, as well as specific topics to discuss as a group. Although meeting minutes are sent out after the meeting takes place, the original agenda should be included in the minutes.
You’ll want to keep track of and manage the attendees of a meeting. Within the minutes, you’ll want to document the following:
- Who attends the meeting
- Notable absences of key team members
- The meeting leader
- What is expected from each member of the meeting
It’s best to have this on file on the meeting agenda. A meeting minutes template should include attendees and those who are absent from the meeting. This can help team communication – those that do not attend can be filled in on the action items after the meeting.
Date, Time & Location
Where and when will the meeting take place? What is the location of the meeting? The date, time & location of a meeting should be included in your meeting minutes.
Following the agenda that’s filled out, discussion topics included in a meeting notes template to document what goes on during the meetings.
What are the next steps that come from the meeting? What was accomplished? Ultimately, the reason why have a meeting is to get clarity and the next steps, but sometimes, that doesn’t always happen in every meeting. As the note taker, be sure to take note of the following occurrences:
- Topics voted on as a group
- Topics that were held over for another meeting (see our parking lot feature)
- Approved next steps – who is responsible for completing the task, and who they are reporting to.
- Due dates of tasks and next steps
- The date and time of the next meeting
Action items are the next steps on decisions made as a group. Leave this blank in the meeting minutes template going into the meeting, and fill it out as the meeting goes. You may even want to have an assignee for each task.
Effective Tips & Strategies for the Meeting Minutes Process
Tips on Note Taking During Meetings
Taking notes during the meeting to form your meeting minutes that attendees and those who missed the meeting. Your notes will document what transpires during the meeting, and the results for the topics included in the agenda. Here are a few tips on how to effectively take notes during meetings:
Create an Outline
Going into a meeting, you should know what’s on the agenda, including specific discussion points mentioned. With this in mind, you can create a basic outline of the meeting based on the discussions that were planned. Be sure to leave some space for each discussion to capture the notes for each topic.
Don’t Get Bogged Down in Minutiae
During the meeting, keep the mindset of capture only what’s necessary and final. These should be tasks and next steps, group decisions, and other notable final items.
Record the Meeting
This is a great idea for the notetaker. You can refer back to the recording of the meeting in case you miss an important detail. That way you can get proof of the meeting, and an unbiased view of what transpired.
Ask for Clarification
Don’t be afraid to ask for clarity on a topic. It’s better to do ask in the moment, instead of trying to remember what happened and ask after the meeting. This will help create meeting minutes that are more accurate.
Writing Your Minutes
Now that the meeting is over, it’s time to write your meeting minutes. How should you write and format them? What should be included? Read here.
This is particularly important when there are topics where two parties are strong-willed in their opinions on the matter.
Be sure there are no spelling mistakes that would distract people from the purpose of your notes. It’s also a good idea to use the same tense when writing your meeting minutes.
Keep it Simple
The shorter and more direct, the more readable your minutes will be. This will help the people who did not attend the meeting understand what resulted during the meeting on a quick basis.
If there are any important documents that were reviewed or brought up during the course of the meeting, be sure to reference those. There’s no need to summarize the documents – instead either provide a link to the document (assuming it’s in a shared folder that everyone has access to), provide it as an attachment, or provide a short description of how people can find it.
Send Them for Approval
In many organizations, meeting minutes will first be sent to a manager, director, or higher-up to be approved to send out to the team. Be sure to do this first prior to send your minutes to your team.
After creating your minutes and getting approval, note-takers will share the meeting minutes with the team. We recommend using web-based meeting software to send out your minutes to the team.
Meeting Minutes Template
To help you format your minutes you can use our meeting minutes template as a guide.
In addition to formal meetings, many informal meetings happen in business culture. Because of this, you may want to alter your meeting minutes template, depending on the meeting.
What are informal meetings?
Informal meetings are less structured in nature. Typically, there is not as much agenda planning that goes into informal meetings, and conversations are more free-flowing. For instance, there may be a common goal to achieve as a group, but there aren’t necessarily agenda discussion topics.
Here are some examples of informal meetings:
- Daily standup meeting
- Action item follow-up/progress update meeting
- New employee meeting
- Lunch meetings
- Brainstorming meetings
- Training and workshop meeting
Our Printable Informal Minutes Template
For those who like to write vs. type during meetings, we invite you to use our meeting minutes template to organize and record what occurs during informal meetings.
Formal business meetings tend to be more structured, and because of this, there is more preparation for meetings. More detailed agenda management and discussion planning are needed prior to the actual meeting to prepare for formal meetings properly. Here are a few common examples of formal meetings:
- Decision-making meetings
- Client meetings
- HR meetings
- Employee reviews
- 1v1 meetings
- Skip-level meetings
Our Printable Formal Minutes Template
For your next meeting, we invite you to use our meeting minutes template to keep track of the meeting – from start to finish.
Transfer Your Written Meeting Notes to a Meeting Minutes Software
Some people just prefer to take written notes during meetings instead of typing them. But after writing them, a web-based meeting minutes software can help you distribute meeting notes to the other attendees of a meeting and members of the team.
With yoyomeeting you can do just that! Sharing meeting notes with others has never been easier. Explore all features of yoyomeeting and see how our meeting management software can help your team stay organized while having productive meetings.