This article outlines a generic minutes writing format that will help one prepare minutes of a meeting. Take note that the writing format, style, and composition for every meeting minutes vary depending on the organization and the type of meeting held – formal or informal.
What are the minutes of a meeting?
Minutes comprise an official summary of the proceedings of a meeting: a written record of whatever took place. These are essential to use for future reference to inform decisions and as a communication tool.
Minutes writing is not a demanding task. Nevertheless, one ought to capture the following information:
- Meeting’s Agenda
- Persons in attendance and whoever is recording the minutes: also those absent.
- The title of the group that is meeting or the company
- The date and time, along with the venue.
- Note if attendees acknowledged minutes from the previous meeting.
- Reports presented
- Decisions made and by whom (motions passed, votes, etc.)
Minutes are tangible documentation of a meeting and an information source for members who did not attend. Also, the minutes of a meeting are a reference point:
- When aftermaths of a meeting influence other collaborative projects.
- Minutes can acquaint or remind persons of the tasks assigned and timelines set.
Minutes writing format may include:
- A heading comprising the title of a meeting, venue, time, and date
- Members present – list all the members who attended the meeting.
- Members absent with apologies: list absent members who sent apologies.
- Members absent without apologies: list absent members but did not ask for permission to be away.
- In attendance – list names of guests.
- Agenda – consists of numbered items for discussion in a meeting.
- Minutes: Each minute presents a topic e.g. Min. 1/06: Salary raise for ICT staff.
Essentials of minutes writing
One can take minutes in real-time or make notes after each topic.
- Be concise. Document the happenings at the meeting. Though one needs not a word-for-word accounting of everything said. Precision in minutes writing not only allows for easy understanding but also provides perspective for future reference.
- Note the facts but not personal observations when writing minutes of a meeting: a factual record of the discussion.
- Provide extensive but clear notes on significant items discussed.
- One can use a template for the right minute writing format, especially formal meetings. With informal meetings, one is flexible.
- Present the draft minutes of a meeting for review following the company’s policy.