Meeting Minutes Formats

Quick Summary
If you're going to do meeting minutes, make sure they're sharp, concise, and readable.

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What this is

This template provides two formats for keeping useful, effective meeting minutes, such as for project team meetings or review meetings.

Why it's useful

We're not necessarily huge fans of meeting minutes -- if they're very long at all, they may not be very usable! But sometimes minutes are needed to provide a record of key discussion topics and outcomes, especially for people who weren't there. And a good documentation of meeting topics, decisions, and actions can provide valuable records for the active phase of a project, as well as fodder for lessons learned as the project closes out. That is, if the meeting minutes are done in a format that people can scan quickly and easily for the information they need!

These formats are designed to provide a crisp, concise record of meeting context, major topics covered, and key actions, issues, and decisions.

How to use it

HINT: The goal is to NOT record reams and reams and pages and pages of notes that are hard to digest. Pick a format that fits your meetings and your information communication needs. Don't do minutes just for the sake of doing minutes, do them because you fully understand who will need to reference the minutes and for what. Then, for each meeting, do the following:

  • As you plan your meeting, appoint a recorder to take minutes. (Note: That person should be prepared to take notes objectively - recording key discussion points, decisions etc. without imposing any particular "spin" on the meeting record.)
  • During the meeting, the recorder should keep a record of key points of discussions, issues raised, decisions made, and actions assigned. (Do not rely on individual memory to complete the minutes afterward!)
  • As the meeting progresses, the Meeting Leader can periodically check with the recorder to insure that items are being recorded fully enough. This helps the group form an accurate memory of the meeting.
  • Publish the minutes as soon as possible as a draft when the meeting breaks, and allow the meeting attendees to submit changes or additional items before the minutes are published as "official."
  • After the minutes are compiled, add the new issues, decisions, and actions to the project's master lists.
  • Keep a copy of the minutes with the rest of the project documentation for reference.

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