How to Take Meeting Minutes
How to Take Meeting Minutes
Nov 21, 2023
As an administrative assistant, a secretary or any other person assigned to take minutes for a meeting, it is crucial to learn how to take accurate and clear minutes.
Meeting minutes are a formal written record of what transpired during a meeting, and they serve as a source of reference for future discussions and actions. This article discusses tips and tricks on how to take meeting minutes accurately and efficiently.
Before the meeting begins, make sure that you have all the necessary materials, such as pens, paper, and a laptop. This is crucial if you want to know how to take meeting minutes.
It is helpful to set up a meeting template that contains standard information, such as the title of the meeting, day and date, time, and the list of attendees. If an agenda is available, make sure to print a copy for yourself, and you can refer to it while taking minutes.
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How to Take Meeting Minutes: Active Listening Is Key
Active listening is a vital skill when taking minutes. Even if you know the subject matter, it is essential to listen attentively to the discussion and clarify any unclear points. Try to capture the essence of what is being said without being too wordy.
Use the Right Meeting Minutes Format
How to take meeting minutes in the right format? Two popular formats are SPAR and chronological. Here's a description of each:
How to Take Meeting Minutes in SPAR Format
SPAR stands for Situation, Problem, Action, and Result. This format is highly structured and focuses on identifying and documenting specific aspects of the meeting discussions.
Situation: This section outlines the context or background of the topics discussed in the meeting. It sets the stage for understanding the current state or conditions that are being addressed.
Problem: Here, the specific issues or challenges that need to be addressed are detailed. This section highlights the core of the discussion, focusing on what needs to be resolved or improved.
Action: In this part, the minutes will document the actions that were decided upon during the meeting to address the problems. It includes who is responsible for each action and any deadlines or milestones.
Result: This final section is used to describe the expected or actual outcomes of the actions taken. It can include follow-up plans or how the success of the actions will be measured.
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How to Take Meeting Minutes in Chronological Format
The chronological format of meeting minutes follows the order of the agenda items as they were discussed in the meeting. It is a more traditional and widely used format.
Introduction: This includes basic information like the date, time, location of the meeting, attendees, and the meeting's objective.
Body: The body of the minutes is organized according to the sequence of the agenda items. Each agenda item is addressed in the order it was discussed, summarizing the key points, discussions, decisions made, and any voting outcomes.
Action Items: Similar to the SPAR format, action items, including the responsible parties and deadlines, are noted. However, in the chronological format, these are usually listed under each relevant agenda item.
Conclusion: This section might include the time the meeting ended and notes about the next meeting or any closing remarks.
Both meeting minutes formats have their advantages. The SPAR format is particularly useful for problem-solving meetings or when it’s important to focus on action and results. The chronological format, meanwhile, is more straightforward and easier to follow for general or informational meetings.
The choice between them often depends on the meeting's purpose and the organization's preferences.
Important: Ensure that the format used is uniform throughout the document. Use short sentences and bullet points to record actions and decisions.
How to Take Meeting Minutes Objectively
As a minute-taker, strive to be neutral and objective while taking minutes. Don't inject your opinions or judgments into the minutes.
Capture the essence of the discussion and record facts, not rumors, or personal assumptions. This professionalism will maintain the credibility and integrity of the minutes.
How to Take Meeting Minutes in a Timely Way
After the meeting, the minutes should be finalized, reviewed, and distributed to the attendees within the shortest time possible, preferably within 24 hours. We recommend reviewing the notes with the chairperson to verify accuracy.
Once reviewed and approved, distribute the minutes to all attendees, including those who were absent. It is necessary to record the minutes in a central location, either electronically or in the office.
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Who Should Receive the Meeting Minutes
The distribution of meeting minutes typically depends on the type of meeting, its content, and organizational practices. Generally, the following groups or individuals should receive meeting minutes:
Meeting Attendees: All meeting attendees should receive a copy of the minutes. This ensures everyone is on the same page regarding what was discussed, decided, and what actions are to be taken.
Absentees: Team members or stakeholders who were supposed to attend the meeting but couldn't should also receive the minutes. This keeps them informed of the meeting's outcomes and any responsibilities they may have.
Management or Supervisors: In some cases, it's appropriate to share the minutes with higher management or supervisors, especially if decisions made during the meeting require their approval or awareness.
Department Heads or Team Leaders: If the meeting covers issues or decisions affecting different departments or teams, the respective heads or leaders should receive the minutes. They can disseminate relevant information to their teams as necessary.
Record Keeping: An official copy of the minutes should be kept for record-keeping purposes, typically within a designated repository or database for organizational documents.
Specific Employees with Assigned Tasks: If particular tasks or action items were assigned to people who were not present at the meeting, it might be helpful to share relevant excerpts from the minutes with them.
Other Stakeholders: Depending on the meeting’s nature, other stakeholders, such as project sponsors, partners, or committee members, might need to receive the minutes, especially if the meeting discussions or decisions directly affect them.
It's essential to maintain confidentiality while distributing minutes. If sensitive or proprietary information is discussed, it should only be shared with people who have the necessary clearance or need to know.
Additionally, the format and detail level of the meeting minutes shared can vary depending on the audience – for example, upper management might only require a summary of key points and decisions, rather than a detailed account.
How to Take Meeting Minutes in the Easier Way
Taking meeting minutes can be streamlined and made more efficient with the use of technology like Noty.ai. Here are steps on how to leverage such a tool to simplify the process:
Set up Noty.ai to record the meeting. Ensure it’s connected to your conference system if the meeting is virtual.
Start the recording feature in Noty.ai as the meeting begins. Ensure that the audio is clear and all participants are audible.
Encourage participants to speak clearly and one at a time for accurate transcription.
Meeting Transcription and Note-Taking
Noty.ai will transcribe the meeting in real time. You can watch the transcription process and make any immediate corrections if necessary.
Utilize Noty.ai’s Highlight feature to highlight or bookmark important points, decisions, and action items during the meeting.
Reviewing and Editing the Transcript
After the meeting, review the automatically generated transcript. Edit for clarity, grammar, or any inaccuracies in transcription - it's all part of AI Workplace Assistant.
Export the notes to Google Docs and organize them into clear, concise points. Structure them according to your organization’s preferred format for minutes (e.g., action items, decisions made).
Extracting Key Information
Use Noty.ai Summary feature to extract key decisions, action items, and important discussion points.
Using To Do List functionality, assign tasks and responsibilities as noted in the meeting directly within the tool, if it has task management features.
Finalizing and Distributing the Minutes
Format the final version of the minutes as per your organization's standards.
Easily distribute the minutes as a meeting follow-up to all relevant parties, including attendees, absentees, and other stakeholders using Noty for Gmail plugin or directly from Noty.
By using Noty.ai, the process of taking meeting minutes becomes more automated and less cumbersome, allowing for accurate, organized, and timely documentation of meetings. It reduces the manual effort involved in traditional minute-taking and ensures that no critical information is missed.
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Wrapping It Up: How to Take Meeting Minutes Like a Champion
In conclusion, taking accurate and clear minutes is a crucial activity that is beneficial for all parties involved in any meeting. Preparing beforehand, active listening, using the proper format, being objective, and distributing the minutes on time are essential aspects to keep in mind while taking accurate minutes.
Through these tips and tricks, you can learn how to take meeting minutes that are full of integrity and credibility, thus ensuring effective meetings' success and efficiency.