How to Write Meeting Minutes Effectively
The minute of the meeting is a kind of official document that records and expresses the main idea and agreed matters of the meeting. The minute of the meeting is not only a simple record of the content of the meeting but also the result of logically combing the meeting records regularly. In writing down the minutes of the meeting effectively, you must get the main points and summarize them. It is for this reason; we have provided the best tips on how to write minutes of a meeting effectively.
What is a meeting minute?
A meeting minute could also be a statutory official document used to record and communicate the situation and agreed matters of a meeting. Meeting minutes vary in a method in that it could be an objective documentary material that records everyone’s speeches or reflect the main agreed matters of the meeting in a concentrated and comprehensive manner and serve as specific guidance and norms. They could also serve as official documents used by government agencies.
Tips on writing minutes of a meeting
Clarify meeting-related information
Before the meeting, clarifying the theme and tasks of the meeting can give you stronger control over the main content of the meeting. And during the meeting, when the team gets out of the discussion direction of the topic and starts small talk, it can also bring everyone back on track in time.
In addition to understanding the topics of the meeting, getting the information of the participants in advance is also an important part of preparing for the meeting. During the meeting, you can accurately capture the information of the speaker, and it is also convenient for you to take a seat during the meeting and make corresponding records.
Organize meeting materials in advance
For important meetings, if possible, you can sort out the meeting materials in advance. If you can get the PowerPoint or meeting materials related to the speaker, do a good preview, which can make you fully prepared, and it is also convenient to check and make up in time.
Organize important conclusions
The conclusions of the meeting and the next implementation plan are all discussed by the participants present. Based on the aforementioned, it is necessary to embody the key speech opinions in the meeting minutes, so that those who did not attend the meeting can know the in and out and understand when they read the meetings’ minutes.
Also, the main opinions closely related to the central topic should be written as fully and completely as possible. This is so because the minutes of the meeting should play a guiding role and express the consensus or basic opinions formed by the participants during the discussion. At the end of the meeting, the host will sum up and give a concluding speech and decide on the matters that need to be decided.
Methods of writing meeting minutes
Depending on the nature, scale, and topics of the meeting, the minutes of the meeting can be written in the following ways:
1. Centralized overview
This way of writing is to use a general description of the basic situation of the meeting, the main issues discussed and researched, the understanding of the participants, the matters agreed upon. This writing method is mostly used for small meetings, and the issues discussed are relatively concentrated and single, opinions are mostly unified, easy to implement, and the length of writing is short.
2. Itemized narrative
To convene large and medium-sized meetings with many topics, it is generally necessary to adopt a sub-item narrative method, that is, to divide the main content of the meeting into several large issues, and then attach subtitles and write them separately. This style of writing is focused on horizontal analysis and explanation, with basic comprehensive content and detailed questions, which often includes an analysis of purpose, meaning, and current situation, as well as an explanation of goals, tasks, and policy measures. This kind of minutes is generally used for meetings that require a comprehensive understanding and thorough implementation at the foundational level.
Structure of the meeting minutes
By giving a clear structure to a meeting minute, you increase their readability. In the case of uniform formatting of all reports, the persons involved thus become accustomed to a fixed structure and orient themselves more easily in the future. Therefore, it is useful to create a standard for secretaries to be incorporated in each report. The following are some guidelines to be followed when writing a minute of the meeting.
The header: The header includes the place, date, and the name of the participants. The topic covered during the meeting can also be entered as a title.
The main text: here the topics discussed in the meeting are organized by events, a paragraph is dedicated to each topic where you summarize the arguments and debates that took place on a topic, as well as include counterarguments to specific statements in the main part, particularly if they raise questions that might be relevant for later meetings.
The conclusion: At the end, summarize again the conclusions and decisions made during the meeting. If any tasks have been assigned, indicate who is responsible, indicate when the next meeting will be held. If other appointments have been decided, pen it down so that they become official. At the next meeting, these notes will help document important progress. In the end, the minutes usually provide a space for the signature of the president and the secretary.
Attachment: handouts, slides of presentations or documents with figures and facts on the subject must be included in the attachment, aimed at presenting the information contained in the minutes as clearly as possible.
As someone performing the role of a secretary, you should stick to certain stylistic conventions. Write objectively and practically. Avoid sentiments and writing in the first person, instead highlight topics of particular importance by using quotes. Also, for official decisions and requests, use direct speech and report all other information with indirect speech.
The basic tips of writing effective meeting minutes
A report should be based on detailed notes: in fact, it is easy to forget data and facts, perhaps assigning statements or tasks to the wrong person. So don’t hesitate to ask during the meeting if something is unclear to you. As you focus on something you would like to include in the record, something else has been discussed or you are not so vast on a particular topic and don’t know how to detail it in your report, seek clarification.
To make your job a bit easy, talk to the participants who have hard copies of their submission, such as graphics or handouts, which would be used in preparing the minutes. Furthermore, you can also already insert them as attachments and do not have to request them later. Note that it is important to be able to attach names to faces, so do well getting acquainted with names.
Leave a lot of space between the written line and at the end of an important topic, in case you want to add some points. With this, you can elaborate the arguments one at a time and you do not have to structure the notes taken thematically afterwards. Don’t forget to use shorthand to get your points down, to be fledged out later.
As a secretary, you must expose all sides fairly and remain objective in reporting decisions that do not convince you.
Do a recap
At the end of the meeting, check your notes again by reading them aloud. If a person claims that their speech was not reported correctly, they can immediately object. This way you can also check the facts for accuracy and at the same time, this process reminds all participants of the meeting’s highlights.