What are Meeting Minutes?
Meeting minutes are notes that are recorded during a meeting. They highlight the key issues that are discussed, motions proposed or voted on, and activities to be undertaken. The minutes of the meeting are usually taken by a designated member of the group, and they provide an accurate record of what transpired during the meeting.
Steps Involved in Recording Meeting Minutes
There are five main steps involved in recording the minutes of a meeting. They are:
- Writing or transcribing the minutes
- Sharing meeting minutes
- Filing or storage of minutes for referencing in future
If a meeting is well-planned in advance, taking minutes will be a lot easier. That said, the chairperson and the secretary or minutes-recorder should work together to determine the agenda of the meeting beforehand. For example, the person recording meetings could work with the chair to draft a document, which serves as an agenda and a format for the minutes.
If it’s not possible for the chair and secretary to meet and come up with a draft, then it’s up to the secretary to get a copy of the agenda before the meeting starts. The meeting agenda will serve as a guide for how to take notes and prepare the minutes. In addition, the agenda also includes other details, which need to be incorporated in the minutes. They include:
- Names of all the members present – Includes guess and speakers
- Documents that may be handed out as the meeting progresses such as copies of handouts
When an individual is chosen as the minutes-recorder, it’s important to find out what is expected of him. Therefore, he should approach the chair of the committee and ask what his role in the meeting will be. For example, if the meeting will involve proposing motions, the designated member should inquire whether he should include the names of those proposing motions and those seconding.
What to Include in Meeting Minutes
Before recording any details, a designated minute-recorder should familiarize himself with the type of information that he should record. As mentioned earlier, the committee may be using a specific format to record notes. But overall, the minutes include the following details:
- Date and time the meeting happened
- Names of attendees as well as absent participants
- Acceptance or amendments made to the previous meeting minutes
- Decisions made regarding each item on the list of agenda such as:
- Activities undertaken or agreed upon
- Next steps
- Outcomes from elections
- Motions accepted or rejected
- New business
- Date and time of the next meeting
The Process of Writing Meeting Minutes
When the meeting ends, the individual tasked with writing minutes should get all the resources he needs to write minutes in a clear and more presentable way. Here are some tips to consider:
- Once the meeting ends, don’t take too long to write the minutes. This way, everything that took place in the meeting is still fresh in the mind.
- Review the outline that had been created earlier and make adjustments where necessary. It might include adding extra information or clarifying some of the issues raised. Also, check to see that all verdicts, activities, and motions were clearly recorded.
- Revise the minutes and ensure they’re brief but clear.
Distributing the Meeting Minutes
Once the secretary completes writing the minutes, he’s supposed to share them with the committee members. They can be shared online or through the cloud. Considering that minutes and other types of documents can lead to a lot of paperwork, it’s also better to use a paperless sharing approach.
For example, if the minutes-recorder was documenting the minutes using Microsoft Word, which does not offer online sharing, then he should consider converting those records to PDF format and share them through email. Alternatively, one can use Google docs, which offer a way of sharing with other users.
It’s not enough to share the minutes to committee members. The secretary is also supposed to save them for future references. Most companies store their minutes online – either in Google Docs or OneDrive.
Meeting minutes are important as they are used to document the key issues raised during a meeting. For example, effective minutes can state the approaches that were proposed to solve a particular problem and the main reason why members choose one method over the others.
The minutes of the meeting can be recorded manually or on an electronic device such as a laptop or iPad. After the meeting, the secretary reviews the minutes and makes edits where necessary. The meeting minutes are then shared with the participants. Apart from distribution, the minutes are also saved for future references.
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