How to Write Meeting Minutes? [With 5 Free Template Examples]

Meetings. We have all been in long meetings more often than we would have liked. Whether they are business meetings, one-on-one reviews, team discussions, daily Scrum meetings, or weekly reviews, meetings are part of our workflow. And nothing is more frustrating than when each participant recalls a different version of the meeting or doesn’t have a clear memory of the discussed topics. Here is where meeting minutes enter the scene.

What are Meeting Minutes?

Meeting minutes are a written record of the meeting. They include everything that happens during the meeting, from discussion points to suggestions, decisions, actions, progress, task planning, future steps, and so on. Meeting minutes are concise, straightforward, and well-organized. They aren’t a narrating the meeting but rather a detailed summary.

Often, a designated person writes the meeting minutes. Based on the meeting type, it may be a secretary or assistant (e.g., business meetings), a team member (e.g., team meetings), or an HR employee (e.g., disciplinary meetings). After the meeting, the meeting minutes are sent to the participants and used as a starting point for future meetings.


The Benefits of Writing Meeting Minutes

The key aim of meeting minutes is to record what was discussed and decided during the meeting. Attendants can access the note anytime they want and clearly understand the meeting. Furthermore, they all have the same record of the meeting. Meeting minutes help you avoid confusion, mistakes, and conflicts. They promote transparency, access to data, and communication.

Meeting minutes have an additional benefit. People who missed the meeting (e.g., employees who took time off) or managers can stay updated with tasks progress and business actions by reading the meeting minutes. You can also use them to prepare a new employee, explain a decision, or compose the next meeting’s agenda.

Meeting minutes are official records. As a result, they can be used in legal situations. Some types of organizations (e.g., government, nonprofit organizations, public companies, etc.) are legally required to have meeting minutes.

Practically, the importance of meeting minutes can be summarized as following:

  • Ensure transparency of decions & follow-up actions
  • Record the key discution points & outcomes
  • Highlight assigned tasks, responsible persons & deadlines
  • Provide information regarding the attendance & absence at the meeting.


How to Write Meeting Minutes?

Meeting minutes should be accurate, clear, and to the point. They should record all relevant information in a well-structured form. Meeting minutes often include the following elements:

  • Date and time of meeting
  • Participants’ names (and affiliations if external)
  • Notetaker
  • Agenda items
  • Discussion points
  • Decisions made
  • Actions
  • Follow-up steps (with responsible persons and deadlines).

The language is simple and clear. The structure of the document is airy and easy to follow. The writer of the minutes takes notes during the meeting and follows thoroughly the discussions. He or she doesn’t write in advance nor completes the notes after the meeting is over. The information should be accurate, impersonal, and respectful. The tone of the minutes is neutral and usually formal.


General Tips for Taking Meeting Minutes Effectively

A few simple tips will help you get started writing meeting minutes. You can prepare and plan your actions if you’re assigned the secretary role before the meeting. For example, you can ask for the meeting agenda and include it in the minutes, format the meeting minutes document, and write information you already know (date, time, location, and purpose of the meeting, participants, etc.). During the meeting, you will only update the initial data (e.g., note if someone is missing or someone else took their place).

So, consider the following tips before committing to the minutes-taker role:

Prepare in advance: ask for the meeting agenda, participants’ names, and other relevant and known information. When you start with the outline of the meetings, have the participants already in the document, and know what the agenda items will be, you gain time and will be less stressed. Using the minutes’ template, like the ones available below, will be helpful. 

Create a structure and follow it consistently: Find a suitable document format for meeting minutes and discuss it with the meeting’s chairman or people in charge. Once you have the structure, stick to it, and use it for all future meetings. It’s easier for you to work with a familiar format and easier for the participants to follow it.

Take notes in smart ways: You can use pen and paper, but you’ll soon fall behind the speakers. The next best thing is to take notes using a laptop. But you will still have to share the document with the participants. The very best thing is to use online documents and share them at the end of the meeting or collaborative tools and invite the participants to work with you on the document.

Summarize: Don’t write everything you hear. Take brief and concise notes, but make sure they are accurate. Use abbreviations and lists to speed things up. Remember that the tone of the minutes is neutral and usually formal.

Take note during the meeting. The writer of the minutes takes notes during the meeting and thoroughly follows the discussions. Edits, spelling, and grammar can be fixed after the meeting is finished.

Ask for clarifications: If you missed something or aren’t sure you understand correctly, ask for clarifications. It’s OK to respectfully interrupt and ask for more precise conclusions or better-explained decisions.

Ask for feedback: After one or two meetings, take time to ask your co-workers what they think about the meeting minutes and how you can improve them. Not only will you receive valuable tips, but you will also cultivate a transparent policy and open a communication channel.


Free Meeting Minutes Templates

Below you can find some examples of meeting minutes. More exactly for informal meetings, team meetings, business meetings, project meetings, and weekly reviews. You can identify all the necessary elements of a meeting minute, download the word templates, or just copy-paste the format within your follow-up email to share the key takeaways with your colleagues.


Informal/Simple team meeting minutes template

Date: Feb 20, 2023

Meeting Objective: To discuss the onboarding process

Participants: Alex, Maria, John, Judy, Victor, Saul

Agenda

  • Topic 1 including main points, outcomes, next steps
  • Topic 2 including main points, outcomes, next steps
  • Topic 3 including main points, outcomes, next steps
  • Closing roundtable questions

Follow-up actions:

  • By Tuesday:
    • John to review the onboarding plan for the upcoming new hires and report if any blockages exist
    • Saul to prepare the computer + credentials
    • Judy to finalize the paperwork.

Download The Informal/Simple team meeting minutes template

Informal meetings are useful when few colleagues meet to discuss a particular problem on an ad-hoc basis, or as a sector. They are informal, because they will not be treated as formal one. Colleagues can meet at a coffee, or in someone's office to discuss a specific objective, or upcoming milestone.


Team Meeting Minutes Example

Team Meeting Minutes of [Team name / HR] for [Discussion subject / Welcoming new employees]

Date and Time: Nov 20th, 2022

Location: HR Office

Attendance: Alexandra, John, Bill, Maria

Hugo (absent), Valerie (excused)

Writing meeting minutes: Maria

Meeting objective: Discussing the welcoming procedure for three new employees in Marketing and IT

Agenda: Existing welcoming procedure (Alexandra), why it needs to change and how (John), presenting a new welcoming procedure (John), approving changes, future steps

Report:

  • Alexandra presented the existing HR procedure
  • John explained why it is obsolete and what changes we need to be made
  • Bill presented his case for a different welcoming procedure for the IT team members
  • Adopted changes: 
    • IT new employees will receive a technical brief
    • All new employees will receive training in using HR software and tools
    • All new employees will be welcomed by their teams in an informal environment (to be discussed the budget)
    • Company policy has to include changes.

Task planning:

  • Maria: update the company policy and send it to all employees
  • Bill: technical brief for IT new employees
  • Alexandra: budget for welcoming treats
  • John: HR software and tools training

Next steps: Meet in two weeks to discuss the progress and results.


Download the team meeting minutes template

Staff meetings or team meetings are regular reunions where colleagues gather to be updated on the teams progress, upcomming initiatives, support needed, acknoledge hard work, welcome new commers, or commonly decide on the strategies and tactics needed to be assembled and executed to reach the desired outcomes.


Business Meeting Minutes Example

Business Meeting Minutes for [Discussion subject / Collaboration between parts]

Date and Time: September 15th, 2022

Location: Conference Hall

Attendance: Business Group (members) and Organization (members)

Notetaker: Maria Johnson, assistant manager for Organization

Meeting objective: Discussing the collaboration between parts of the project/product

Agenda: Collaboration protocol, new business proposal, budget, timeline

Key items discussed:

  • Talking point #1
  • Talking point #2
  • Talking point #3

Decisions

  • The six-month collaboration contract is approved 
  • The Organization will have the leading role in Marketing and Advertising
  • The Business Group will designate an expert to work with the Organization on-site during the project

Task planning

  • Create a business plan and contract for approval (Organization)
  • Discuss budget options and timeline with the board director (Business Group)
  • Discuss legal terms with Legal Department (Organization and Business Group) 

Next steps: Meet in two weeks to discuss the progress and results.


Download the business meeting minutes template

Business meetings usually bring toghether representatives from two or more entities to do business toghether. One has to offer somenthing, or is in need of service, that the other party could be a buyer, or has a solution available in the market. They follow pretty much the same structure as an internal meeting, however the tone is a bit more formal, and the details regarding the attendance is a bit more detailed.


Project Meeting Minutes Example

Project Meeting Minutes of [Project name / National Conference of Medicine - NCM] for [Discussion subject / Location]

Date and Time: September 15th, 2022, 10:00 AM

Location: NCM Central Office, Lisbon

Attendance: Alexandra John, Maria Gutierrez, Juan Rivas

Writing meeting minutes: Juan Rivas, NCM committee secretary

Meeting objective: Finding a location for the 3rd edition of NCM in Lisbon, Portugal

Agenda

  • Necessary facilities (Alexandra John), 
  • budget options (Maria Guerez), 
  • location options (Maria Gutierrez)

Report:

  • Alexandra John presented the necessary facilities for the upcoming conference (400 seats, 4 rooms, video projectors, catering, easy access)
  • Maria Gutierrez presented the budget ($2000 per day) and existing options

Adopted motions: 

  • Extended budget to $2500/day
  • Negotiation with Cultural Lisbon Center and Parma Hotel
  • Negotiation with Culinary Aesthetic Catering

Task planning:

  • Maria Gutierrez: finding funding options for increasing the budget
  • Alexandra John: Negotiation with third-parties
  • Juan Rivas: Contacting participants for food allergies and preferences.

Future steps: Meet in one week to discuss the progress and results.


Managing projects is a complex and many times many players are involved. Since there is also a timeline, a special attention needs to be given to tracking that all the discutions and outcomes to be followed up by the responsible employees. The project meeting minutes helps to handle such needs, regardless if they happen physically or as a virtual meeting on Zoom, Teams or Meet.


Weekly Review Minutes Example

Weekly Meeting Minutes of [Team name / HR]

Date and Time: September 15th, 2022; 10:00 AM

Location: HR Office

Attendance: Alexandra, John, Bill, Maria

Writing meeting minutes: Maria

Meeting objective: Discussing weekly tasks

Agenda

  • Progress in welcoming procedure (Alexandra), 
  • New hires (John),
  • Progress in implementing new HR procedures (Bill)

Report:

  • Alexandra presented the progress in the welcoming procedure (30%)
  • John presented the two new hires as part of the IT and Accountancy teams
  • Bill presented the progress in implementing HR procedures (65%)

Adopted motions: 

  • Bill will help Alexandra finish the welcoming procedure
  • John will start looking for two new people for the IT team
  • Company policy has to include changes made in HR procedures
  • Training in HR software for new employees

Task planning:

  • Maria: update the company policy and send it to all employees
  • Bill: finish implementing HR procedures
  • Alexandra: welcoming procedure up to 70%
  • John: HR software and tools training

Download the project meeting minutes template

Having a clear record with the outcomes of the weekly meeting ensures that everyone is aligned with what has been discussed, what are the follow-up actions, who is responble for what. And if someone who was absent at the meeting is interested about some outcomes of the points discussed, he can find them in the meeting, and can ask the participants for more details.


Conclusion

Meeting minutes help you keep up with the progress of your projects and others. Similar to shared calendars, HR tools that show you who is at the office and who’s on leave of absence, meeting minutes encourage transparency, communication, and a trustful work environment.


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