How To Make Meaningful Meeting Minutes - Docket

How To Make Meaningful Meeting Minutes

No matter your feelings about your meetings, good or bad, we can all agree that they are necessary to getting work done. There are so many variables when it comes to meeting cultures that dictate how a meeting is prepped, run, and memorialized or if any of those steps are done at all.

Minutes of meeting are one of those steps that are either debated, ignored, handled independently, or done religiously so when you join a new company, team, or project, it is a gamble as to how or what is expected. When it comes to minutes of meeting, what is important is how they can be captured in a way that is useful and accessible by others at a later time.

What is “minutes of meeting?”

Minutes of meeting are notes taken during a meeting. Examples of minutes taken at a meeting may include a word for word capture of a discussion, a variety of notes taken by attendees in their own words, or a single line encompassing the final result of a meeting. 

The importance of minutes of meetings

So why are minutes of meeting so important? A meeting that brings together multiple people to discuss issues, challenges, or the need to make decisions is a cost to a company (or multiple companies) in resources. Those dollars add up in the overall cost of doing business so using their time wisely is critical to achieving the best possible outcomes in an efficient manner. Meetings are the fuel that drives work forward so it is critical that anything important shared in a meeting is documented so it can be utilized outside of the meeting.

In order to do this effectively:

  • Set the example by sharing a meeting minutes template document in your next meeting and sharing it on screen so others can observe and join in the action of taking minutes of meeting drafted notes during the meeting. Showing how to write minutes of a meeting examples are the best way for others to mimic and learn.
  • Teach others to share more in meetings Discuss with your team your desire to create more focus on how they are taking notes in a meeting to make it a more powerful tool and work together to define what this looks like so they are a part of the decision and effort. Once defined, everyone can build these guidelines into a reference tool. You can start by sharing a professional minutes of meeting format document like a professional minutes of meeting format PDF, minutes of meeting draft, minutes of meeting email sample, minutes of meeting sample PDF, minutes of meeting sample document, or a minutes of meeting sample PDF download that they can refer to. 
  • Know your audience and create a flow through your agenda that makes it easier to follow and take notes. For example, a staff meeting agenda is likely more of a casual flow using a staff meeting minutes sample agenda or staff meeting minutes sample document whereas a professional-client meeting probably requires more formal steps to get everyone through the meeting process. 
  • Create a template that is repeatable and customizable to save you time once you find one that works for you and your team or audience. For your team or department meetings, a simple meeting minutes template, informal meeting minutes template, meeting minutes template Excel, or a simple meeting minutes template Word can be a good starting point. But to really make this impactful, implement a meeting tool like Docket to build or find a template that can be used by the entire team and quickly applied to any meeting.  

Make meeting minutes meaningful

Once you’ve introduced the importance of meeting minutes through minutes of meeting samples and started to create a minutes of meeting template with action items, understanding how to organize meeting minutes in a way that is meaningful and useful is also beneficial. For example, a professional meeting minutes template or a school staff meeting minutes sample may provide good guidance for the discussion but as notes are taken, especially collaboratively among multiple meeting guests, the notes may appear to be incomplete or out of context depending on who took them and where they fall in the meeting minutes. Here are a few ways to take the wealth of information collected during a meeting and turn them into a more impactful tool for the next steps beyond the meeting.

  • Group similar information so a reviewer can understand content from reading through the notes.
  • Identify decisions and key takeaways so a reviewer can quickly see critical conclusions from the discussion.
  • Assign tasks, owners, and due dates in the meeting to create accountability and have confidence that next steps will be taken.
  • Share a recap with attendees and those who need to know the results to create alignment.
  • Use the highlights of the recapped meeting history as a starting point for the next session to refresh the group prior to introducing the next set of work.
  • Make the process repeatable using a meeting tool like Docket so it becomes a natural part of your process.

Make meeting minutes meaningful by taking the information shared by people in meetings and turning it into useful and actionable information so that the time spent in meetings continues to facilitate discussion, create opportunity, and turn challenges into solutions.

About the Author

Heather Hansson

Heather is VP of Product and Chief of Staff at Docket. She enjoys leading cross-functional teams to work together on vision, strategy, and implementing solutions that help people work and live better. When she isn’t helping rid the world of wasteful meetings with Docket, Heather likes to run, take violin lessons with her son, and spend time with her family.

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