Your team doesn’t gain much from a long report of the meeting. However, they will get great value from meeting minutes that maintain relevant knowledge and encourage momentum.
Do you want to promise top-quality meeting minutes to your colleagues?
Imagine a complete transcription of everything you said at the meeting. Confusing? Yes. Boring? Absolutely! Transcription should not be your goal when writing minutes. But what is a good report then?
A good report summarizes information that, going forward, is relevant and makes sure that the team is prepared for next step.
We have compiled a list of meeting minute best practices to maintain knowledge and encourage momentum. If you can tick all the points, your team will have the most solid base to work from.
Your meeting minutes should:
1. Cover the facts
Make it a good habit to start the minutes with the meeting title, date, time, place, who participated and who was the meeting chairman. It will also help the team to stay focused if you note the purpose of the meeting at the top. For example, the purpose might be "Deciding New Export Strategy" or "Brainstorming on Marketing Campaign."
2. Give an overview
Make sure that all the items in the report are relevant and leave out insignificant points. A brief and accurate report is easier to get an overview of. It may be an advantage to divide each agenda item into fields after what is decided, who should take action and what should happen in the future.
3. Summarize for those who couldn’t make it
Try to read the minutes as if you were not at the meeting. Does everything make sense? It's a good exercise to remember important details that are easy to forget.
4. Tackle tasks
Make sure you write down who solves a given task and when it should be done. It is a friendly reminder of the person to take action. In addition, every member in the team knows, what the others are working on.
5. Give an overview of decisions
What solution did we choose? Highlight concrete decisions and make sure nobody is in doubt about the next step. Bonus: skip the "what did we decide on last time?"-meetings.
6. Make sure it’s cohesive
The meeting minutes must point the team in the right direction. When everyone in the team receives the same report, you avoid misunderstandings and ensure a common understanding of where the team are heading. Be objective and use a language that everyone understands.
7. Allow your minutes to be easily accessible
No matter how you share and save documents, make sure everyone knows exactly how to find their way back to the meeting minutes. Make sure it is easy to find a specific detail from the meeting. Make the paper searchable so that participants can search for specific topics from the meeting.
Make meeting minutes a priority
If you use these best practices, we guarantee your meeting minutes will give the greatest value for your team- especially after everyone has left the meeting room.
But you won’t achieve the perfect meeting minutes without putting in the effort. It takes both energy during the meeting, but also time and energy after the meeting to put together the minutes and make sure everyone can access it. Time, that is taken from other tasks, which may often seem more important. Try to prioritize the creation of good meeting minutes.
In addition, it’s a good idea to designate specific guidelines in your team or organization to make sure everyone agrees on the meeting culture.
Here are a few guidelines to introduce at your workplace:
- Agree to point out a minute-taker at the time the meeting is scheduled.
- Set a maximum of days after a meeting is held when the meeting minutes should be published.
- Structure online subfolders, where everyone can easily find the meeting minutes (and the archived meeting minutes!).
Want to learn more? Read this blog post that contains a simple template that makes it easier to write meeting minutes.
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