Taking Minutes of Meetings

Taking Minutes of Meetings

Business meetings are held to review and analyze the performance of an organization over a specific time-period and to have discussions on its future course of action. There is a standard process of summarizing the highlights of a meeting which help an organization to ensure transparency and efficiency.
Taking minutes of meetings accurately and communicating them effectively is an invaluable business skill. In today's fast-paced business environment, the task of taking down the notes is not restricted to accountants and secretaries only but managers are increasingly entrusting their sub-ordinates to carry out the proceedings. So, next time your boss looks up to you to do the needful, don't run for cover, instead read the points mentioned below to impress one and all with your business skills.

Minutes are simply the notes taken during a meeting to remind you what was discussed upon and what conclusion the meeting came to. It helps the organization to remember 'what' is to be done and 'who' is going to do it. During the course of a discussion, there can be scenarios when there is a lack of clarity or disagreement among the colleagues about what transpired in the meeting. Minutes help to clarify these confusions. Taking minutes isn't essentially a word to word recording, instead it is a summary of the important points and recommendations discussed in the meeting.

How to Take Minutes of Meetings
  • Decide how are you going to take notes. You can either use a pen-paper or a laptop, notebook etc.
  • Get the agenda as an outline. You can get it from the last meeting. This helps in getting a better understanding as it helps you to be well-versed with the topic.
  • Try to reach the venue earlier than everyone else. It helps you to choose a place of your choice. Make sure that the place that you have chosen is well-lit and is somewhere in the middle so that you can hear all the attendees.
  • When all the attendees have entered the room and are seated comfortably, pass an attendance sheet and get a list of committee members. Note the time from which the meeting begins
  • While taking minutes, don't concentrate on details, only write down the motions and decisions including the point of view of committee members.
  • Use bullet points to note down the minutes as it becomes easier to read. Make a note of all the issues on which a conclusion couldn't be reached. This serves as an important reminder to the committee about the things which still need to be done.
  • Once the meeting is over, prepare transcripts while your memory is still afresh and you can recall the important points. Double-check for typographical errors before sending it to the participants.
  • If the participants feel that the minutes need some correction, or this is not what they had intended to say, look into their concerns and get a consensus from other attendees. After all the attendees have signed off on the copies, keep the minutes with the facilitator so that it can be used in the next meeting.
There is no hard and fast rule about how one should go about jotting down the minutes of meetings. To illustrate the steps mentioned above, let us take a look at a sample template.

Name of the Organization

Board Meeting Minutes Day, Month, Year

Time and Location:

Present: Names of attendees

Absent: Names of members absent and their proxies if any

  • Meeting called to order by (name of chairperson) at (time)
  • Agenda
  • Highlight important discussions
  • Meeting adjourned at (time)
Future Business:
  • Agendas for upcoming meetings
  • Assignments for members

Every meeting has some suggestions, debates, conclusions etc. The main aim of taking minutes is to make sure that the time and effort invested is not wasted. It also helps the organization to review its plans and policies.