One of the tasks of a business office manager or administrator is taking minutes during company meetings. Taking good notes can seem like a daunting task–but it doesn’t have to be. Below you will find some tips for taking minutes and a free template to help make jotting down relevant details a snap.
Tips for Taking Meeting Minutes
Although it may seem that the minutes taken during a meeting are meaningless or a waste of time, they actually serve an important purpose. They are an official record of decisions that were made and of which individuals within your company played a role in those decisions.
To ensure that the minutes you take are recorded properly, follow these simple tips!
- Be prepared – Before the meeting begins, make sure you will not be playing a major role in the meeting. If you have to add comments and answer questions, it will be difficult to do so and take minutes at the same time.
- Know who will attend – It’s also a good idea to know everyone who will be in attendance before the meeting starts. This will allow you to have a list to refer to in case you’re not familiar with all of the participants. Also, find out their titles or positions ahead of time, if necessary.
- Presentation easel – If you are taking notes publicly for the benefit of other members in the meeting, a presentation easel will help make it much easier!
- Understanding what’s important – During the meeting, you need to understand that you will not be able to record everything that is said word for word. Instead, you will need to summarize its most important points. However, motions should be recorded exactly as stated. You should also consider indenting them so they stand out.
- Writing down what’s important – You can’t write everything word for word, but you also need to ask yourself how important each statement is. Will a simple sentence uttered by a participant matter down the road months or even years later? If so, be sure to get it down. If not, you can remove it later or skip it.
- Use a voice recorder – If allowed, one way to ensure that you don’t miss anything important is to use a digital voice recorder. Of course, you will need to get consent from all attendees before doing so.
- Ask questions – Although your role may be to record events, if you are confused or didn’t hear something, don’t sit in silence! Speak up and ask to have something repeated if needed.
- Use a template – A template for meeting minutes will save you a lot of time and stress. By having this meeting minute template ready ahead of time, you can fill in the blanks without having to wonder if you missed anything. Use this free template below in your next meeting, and see how it goes!
- Name of company
- The type of meeting and how often it takes place
- The date / time / place – leave space for both convening and adjourning times
- Attendance sheet with spaces for those that attend and those that are absent
- Place for your signature
- Place for an agenda if one is provided—you can also refer to this during the meeting
- Pad for taking notes – This may seem obvious, but do be sure to have steno pads available to use for recording meeting minutes. You wouldn’t want to show up to the meeting and have to excuse yourself because you forgot it!
- After-the-meeting review – Once the meeting is over, don’t wait to review your notes. Do so while the information is still fresh in your mind and the minds of those who participated. Be sure to ask for clarification at this time when needed.
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