Guidance on Writing Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes are an important part of any important meeting. People tend to forget what is said during a meeting and the best way to remind them is by having minutes available to them soon after the meeting. Minutes do not provide an exact written replica of the meeting, but rather a brief overview of what was discussed.


The best way to insure good minutes from a meeting is to organize the meeting in advance. This step can include a written meeting agenda, a list of possible attendees, and any handouts you will need for the meeting. This step can make it easier to take notes during the meeting and allow you to check off who attends the meeting. If you are making a layout of the meeting you can use sub-headings for each topic to be discussed.

Take Notes During the Meeting

Just as those in attendance may forget what was said or done in the meeting, so could you. It is a good idea to take brief notes of important decisions that are made during the meeting. If you have votes on items in the meeting you should be sure to include who proposed the vote and how many were in favor. You do not need specifics such as names and exact dialogue. If a discussion becomes heated, use a more positive word such as passionate to describe it. Your notes will help you when you are ready to create your final draft after the meeting.

Organize the Minutes Soon After the Meeting

It is best to organize the minutes and write them up within a few days after the meeting. You should write up the minutes while they are still fresh in your mind. If your life or job is hectic it is best to write them up immediately following the meeting to avoid forgetting any key points. You can organize your minutes using the subheadings from the meeting agenda and a brief description of what took place during that portion of the meeting.

Distribute Minutes Quickly

People will quickly forget what happened in the meeting and some may forget there even was a meeting if too much time has passed. To avoid this problem it is important to get the meeting minutes distributed in a timely manner. Most minutes include any handouts that were distributed in the meeting in case the originals have been misplaced. Be sure your minutes explain any decisions or changes that were made in the meeting.

Taking effective meeting minutes will help your business or organization run more smoothly. Keep in mind that the minutes will be distributed to people who were not present for the meeting as well as those who were. Those who were not able to make the meeting will appreciate being able to see what took place and how changes were decided.