Many employees not only feel they waste a lot of time in meetings, they also feel that most meetings are ineffective. How can we change this? You invest time in attending a meeting, so make sure you get the most out of it!

Let’s take a look at meeting minutes. Effective meeting minutes, a written record of what is discussed and decided during a meeting, are a huge contributor to efficient meetings.

Wait. Are you confused already? What are meeting minutes? If you’re not sure what meeting minutes are and why we need them, first read our blog about meeting minutes and why they are important.

Preparing and writing minutes doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Here are 5 steps that will help you get started with preparing and writing effective meeting minutes.

1. Planning

Good preparation is key! So, prepare your meeting minutes. Make sure you have a digital copy of the meeting agenda beforehand, so you know who will be attending the meeting, what will be discussed and in what order. Use it as a guide or outline for taking notes and preparing the minutes.

Another important part of your preparation is clarifying expectations. When you take on the role as minutes taker for a meeting, be sure to ask the Chair or leader of the meeting what his or her expectations are of your role during the meeting, as well as the type of detail he/she expects in the minutes.

Before you start taking notes at the meeting, it’s important to know what information you need to record at the meeting. Here’s a list of what should be included in effective meeting minutes:

  • Date, time and location of the meeting.
  • The purpose of the meeting.
  • Names of attendees and those who were unable to attend.
  • Agenda items.
  • Decisions that were made.
  • Actions that need to be done. Include the deadline and who it was assigned to.
  • Follow up meeting.

2. Minute taking

Now that you know what to record, you are ready to start writing those effective meeting minutes! Tips that might help you:

  • Create an outline. Having an outline (or template) based on the agenda makes it easy for you to simply write down notes and decisions under each agenda point as you go along.
  • Check-off attendees as they enter the room. Or circulate an attendance list they can check off themselves.
  • Ask for clarification if necessary. Sometimes, the group will move on without making a decision or a clear conclusion, ask for clarification of the decision and/or next steps involved.
  • Be selective. Listen for, and capture key points of the meeting. You can’t keep up if you try to capture it all, so be sure to simply (and clearly) write (or type) just the decisions, assignments and action steps.
  • Record it. Literally. If you are concerned about being able to keep up with note taking, consider recording the meeting, but be sure to let participants know they are being recorded. The recordings can come in handy if you need clarification.

3. After the meeting

Once the meeting is over, pull together all your notes and recordings. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your meeting minutes are complete by adding additional notes to the minutes as soon after the meeting as possible, while everything is fresh in your mind.
  • Review your outline and if necessary, clarify (action) points. The meeting minutes must be easy to understand but still be as short as possible.

4. Distribute or share meeting minutes

As the official minute taker, your role might include distributing the meeting minutes. Before you do that, make sure you let the chair or leader of the meeting check your meeting minutes and approve them. How will you share your meeting minutes? Time to distribute your meeting minutes! Paperless, of course. Online sharing is easy!

5. Filing minutes for future reference

You’re almost there! Your meeting minutes need to be stored for future reference. Some organizations may store these online and also back these up on an external hard drive. And for some companies, you may also need to print and store hard copies as well.

It’s important to store your meeting minutes well. This way you’ll always when you had a meeting, about what, and who attended, as well was which agenda points were discussed and which decisions were made.

How can GAIKU help?

So, taking effective meeting minutes is important for you to have efficient meetings. GAIKU can make this job even more simple for you. GAIKU is a web app that’s created to guide you before, during and after any type of meeting. When it comes to your meeting minutes, GAIKU will do a lot of tasks for you, so you’ll have more time to focus on other important things! GAIKU records your meeting minutes, notes, and stores all information for you to trace back your meeting history. Also, GAIKU will help you distribute your meeting minutes, action points and will help you schedule and plan a follow-up meeting. That sounds great, right?

Sign up today and start improving your meetings!