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 a meeting are usually taken by a designated member of the group. Their task is to 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 the 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 minutes could work with the chair to draft a document that will serve as an agenda and provide the format for the meeting.
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 guests and speakers
- Documents that may be handed out as the meeting progresses, such as copies of a list of proposals to be voted on
When an individual is chosen as the minutes recorder, it’s important for them to know what is expected of them. Therefore, the individual should approach the chair of the committee and ask what their role in the meeting will be. For example, if the meeting will involve proposing motions, the designated member should inquire as to 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 minutes recorder should familiarize themselves with the type of information that they should record. A group may be using a specific format to record notes but, overall, the minutes of a meeting typically include the following details:
- Date and time the meeting happened
- Names of attendees, as well as absent participants
- Acceptance of, or amendments made to, the previous meeting’s minutes
- Decisions made regarding each item on the agenda, such as:
- Activities undertaken or agreed upon
- Next steps
- Outcomes of 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 up the minutes in a clear, 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 your mind.
- Review the outline that had been created earlier and make adjustments where necessary. This 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 group members. They can be shared online or through the cloud. Considering that minutes and other types of documents can entail a lot of paperwork, it may be preferable 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 they might consider using Google docs, which offers a way of sharing documents online with other users.
The recorder is also supposed to save a copy of the meeting minutes for future reference. Most companies store their minutes online – either in Google Docs or OneDrive.
Meeting minutes are important because 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 other.
The minutes of the meeting can be recorded manually or on an electronic device such as a laptop or iPad. After the meeting, the recorder reviews the minutes and makes edits where necessary. The meeting minutes are then shared with the group participants. Apart from distribution, the minutes are also saved for future reference.
CFI is the official provider of the Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program, designed to transform anyone into a world-class financial analyst.
To keep learning and developing your knowledge of financial analysis, we highly recommend the additional CFI resources below: