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A Guide to Taking Helpful Meeting Minutes

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October 18, 2021

Effective note-taking in a meeting can dramatically increase productivity in an office. Meeting minutes keep a record of what important items were discussed, what actions were taken, and which tasks were assigned out to employees. Minutes also include the opinions and input from employees in attendance. 

Meeting minutes are used as a summary and reference point later on and can be documented for employees to revisit later. They’re an important part of any company because they help avoid redundancy, increase productivity post-meeting, and hold employees accountable. 

You may be wondering what details and processes should be included in recording meeting minutes. Let’s get into it. 

Include Basic Details 

To ensure the attendees have the right information, make sure you include these details when taking meeting minutes:

  • Date and time of the meeting
  • Purpose of meeting and agenda
  • Who attended the meeting
  • High-level points discussed
  • Action items agreed upon 
  • Q&A (if applicable) discussions

These details are important because anyone referring back to this meeting for information has all they need. 

Write Minutes While They’re Fresh

Don’t wait hours or even till the next day to get your meeting minutes completed. The longer you wait, the less you will remember about what was said, who agreed to do what, the tasks completed, and the details discussed. 

We recommend starting to write the minutes - or at least taking the appropriate notes - during the meeting so you don’t miss any important details. You can go back and edit the language later on, but writing in real-time ensures you are catching all major details and tasks for attendees.

Record Action Items

It’s important to know the agenda and the end goals of a meeting so you can keep track of the action items for each person involved. When tasks are delegated, make sure you take note of these and include any discussed deadlines or next steps that are expected. 

Also make sure to include the action items that were completed prior to and discussed in the current meeting, as they are often helpful to review in the future. These notes provide an easy way to check in with employees on their delegated tasks. 

Know the Context

The more you listen to and absorb the information and topics being discussed, the more enlightening your minutes will be later on. Focusing on just taking notes isn’t always the most effective way to provide action-based minutes for employees. 

If you know the overall goals of the meeting and what needs to be conveyed, you’ll be able to convey the important points concisely and to the point. 

Be Prepared

Be ready and present before the meeting begins, whether that means logging in to the Zoom space or arriving at the meeting room early. If you are recording the meeting, make sure you’ve tested the appropriate technology to make sure everything is working correctly. 

There’s no right or wrong approach on how to take minutes at a meeting. The better informed you are on the meeting’s action items, tasks delegated to employees, and overall goals, the more effective your minutes will be.

Meeting minutes are an invaluable resource for companies, departments, and individual employees because they add another level of organization and accountability to everyone involved. Minutes also provide employees with something to refer to in case any employees miss a meeting or need clarification. 

For more tips on how to elevate your meeting minutes and make them an effective resource for employees, check out this page or read more here. We offer tips on how to encourage collaboration in meetings, produce more efficient minutes, list actionable items, and more. 

American Society of Administrative Professionals

Producer of

APCEA Summit  EA Ignite