While not every gathering has meeting minutes, the most effective ones do. Meeting minutes do not have to be wordy, but they do need to be clearly structured and easy to use in order to be effective. They should summarize the action items discussed during the meeting to ensure it is effective and productive. We offer 14 free meeting minutes templates. Taking meeting minutes has never been easier!
What Are Meeting Minutes?
What is “minutes of meeting”? The title can be intimidating because no one can keep up with writing a minute-by-minute account of a meeting. Actually, while the meeting minutes are called minutes, like the measurement of time, the original meaning was minute as in minutiae, meaning the details of what happened. This is as opposed to the broad agenda of what was planned for the meeting. See meeting agenda template.
Meeting minutes are a written record of what happened during a meeting.
These will be read by people who didn’t go to the meeting. It will also be read by diligent attendees who want to know what the takeaways from the meeting were. What are the next action steps? What was decided? Who is working on what things? People who were assigned tasks may consult the minutes so they can remember what their next steps are. Managers may consult to ensure that everyone completed the tasks that were assigned to them. These are all questions people may have when they come looking to the meeting minutes for answers, so it’s important the minutes of the meeting (sometimes referred to as MOM) cover these details.
Meeting Minutes Template
Simple Meeting Minutes Template
Board Meeting Minutes Template
Here is a meeting minutes example for a board meeting but you can use any of the templates on this page and adapt them to your needs since the titles are editable.
Minutes of Meeting Format
Unless you are taking formal meeting minutes in places such as the parliament there is usually no specific format for minutes of meeting. It is more important for them to be effective than to be written in a specific format.
We offer 14 different possible formats for you to edit as you please. Choose the minutes of meeting format that is closest to the one that you want to use and edit it to reach your ideal format.
If you find a meeting notes template you like as-is, you can download the editable PDF or the image file. You can type on the editable PDF file and then save or print.
If not, select the meeting minutes template Word version if you want to make any changes to the layout or wording. We also offer an Excel format for those who prefer to use a spreadsheet for minute taking.
Once you are satisfied with the format, add a summary of the meeting.
How to open the templates in Google Docs?
- Download any of the Word documents on this page and save it on your computer.
- Open your Google Drive and click “New”.
- Select “File upload”.
- Select the meeting minutes template Word doc and click “Open”. The minutes of meeting sample that you selected will now upload.
- Double-click the document that you uploaded.
- Click “Open with”.
- Select “Google Docs”.
How to Take Meeting Minutes
This quick outline will help you if you are not sure how to write minutes of meeting.
Minutes taking doesn’t have to be complicated. We have included 14 different templates to ensure that at least one will be close to the format you need. Find a minutes of meeting sample that best suits your needs.
If you have a meeting agenda template, then use that to create a simple template for the expected discussion topics. Under each one, make a list of the takeaways. These are the action steps and decisions made on these topics. If something needs to be discussed further at another meeting, that should be included.
Important Details to Include in the Minutes of the Meeting
While meeting minutes can be written without a meeting agenda, it is often more effective if the agenda is given to the Secretary before the meeting. Then, the agenda can be used to create a more effective template for the minutes of the meeting.
Include the date, time, and location of the meeting.
The minutes of the meeting will need to include the list of attendees. The list should include both those who attended and those who did not (i.e those who were invited but didn’t attend). It may be helpful to have a list of expected attendees ahead of time, and then you can mark them as they arrive. If you don’t know the attendees, it is okay to ask everyone to introduce themselves at the start of a meeting.
When you write the minutes, you want to write down any motions that were made or votes that were held.
Record any decisions made.
Take note of steps planned.
If there are action items that were brought up but left open, make note of where the meeting left off on those action items. This makes them trackable for people in the future. Most of our meeting templates include an action items section to complete during or after a meeting. A minutes of meeting template with action items will ensure that the meeting is productive.
If there is another meeting date and time in the future, include that at the bottom of the minutes.
How To Make Meetings More Effective
Writing a meeting agenda for a meeting is a first step. Having someone take minutes is a great next step.
While the agenda adds structure to the meeting, the minutes give you something to take away from it.
It isn’t effective to have a meeting where afterward no one can remember what the takeaway actions were. The minutes are a document attendees can refer to and see that actions they are responsible for. Later, if they need to consult someone about a particular action item, they know who among them is responsible for that as well. They can remember where people are at on certain projects and decisions as well. Without the meeting minutes, everyone needs to check in with everyone else as they can’t remember what happened.
If your agenda has notes on time for each discussion topic, stick to that timeline. If the topic isn’t wrapping up and the time is up, then you are allowed to say that this will need to be handled at another time because this meeting doesn’t have room for all of this.
Give your meeting some time for wrapping up each of these discussion topics. After each discussion topic has happened, you want to take a minute or two as the leader to state the clear takeaways from that discussion. This will help the person taking minutes so they clue in on what needs to be written in the minutes. It will also help everyone in attendance be sure they’re on the same page.
Be specific on action items. If you expect a specific person to do a specific thing after this meeting, state that very clearly.
Make sure that when you assemble your agenda, you put your most vital discussion topics first. Sometimes people are tempted to save the best for last or lead into those topics, but if you run out of time, it is important that your most important topics get hit on first. Use your time wisely.
After the meeting, review the minutes and then distribute them to the relevant people. This way, everyone has their takeaways.