Master the Art of Writing Meeting Minutes (with Free Templates)

Master the Art of Writing Meeting Minutes (with Free Templates)

Munir Ahmed

January 25, 2024

1/25/24

Jan 25, 2024

1/25/24

10 min read

Meeting minutes
Meeting minutes
Meeting minutes
Meeting minutes

Meeting Minutes or Minutes of Meeting (MoM) are the written record of a meeting's activities, developments, and outcomes. These give a summary so that even absentees can understand what happened.

The document clearly explains the next steps, actionable takeaways, and future decisions. It is even approved by the board members to maintain its authenticity and credibility. Therefore, it should be clear, accurate, and precise.

Don't get confused with the word "minutes," as it came from the Latin phrase "minuta scriptura," which means rough notes. It does not refer to recording every minute of the meeting.

It is recorded by the secretary or a specific member of the team who is referred to as a "Minute Taker." It requires a formal structure, key elements, and a proper method to convey the information, which is what we'll explore in the next sections of this post.

Importance of Taking Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes play important roles in an organization. They serve multiple purposes, such as:

Remembrance: Anyone can recall what happened in the meeting by looking at the meeting minutes. They serve as a memory of all meetings that happened in the past.

Accountability: These official documents can help in team members' accountability and performance analysis.

Productivity: Meeting minutes enhance the productivity of a team by organizing and highlighting tasks, goals, developments, and other key aspects. They prevent confusion among team members.

Legal Document: In case of any conflict, meeting minutes can be produced in courts and serve as a valid document and proof.

Future Decisions: Meeting minutes keep track of past decisions and make future decision-making easier.

What You Need to Include in Meeting Minutes

Depending on the type of meeting, the meeting minutes items can differ. Here are the key and general elements:

  • Title of the meeting

  • Date, time, and location

  • Name of attendees and absentees

  • Purpose of the meeting

  • Agenda items

  • Action items

  • Decisions

  • Voting outcomes

  • Supported documents

  • Date of the next meeting

How to Write Meeting Minutes

We've encapsulated the process of writing effective meeting minutes in ten steps.

  1. Preparation and Planning

  2. Pre-writing

  3. Purpose

  4. Initial Note-taking

  5. Writing Meeting Minutes

  6. Resources and Documents

  7. Editing and Revision

  8. Getting Approval

  9. Translation

  10. Sharing

1) Preparation and Planning

The date of a meeting and agenda points are decided earlier, which leaves some time to plan and prepare for the meeting minutes. You can go through the agenda and previous meeting minutes.

Planning makes you ready for the situation and boosts your confidence. Say the purpose of the meeting is voting for General Secretary. You can plan meeting minutes based on the fact you need to note the attendees' votes.

Prepare an outline or template for the meeting minutes according to the meeting purpose and agenda. It has dedicated sections for the date, participants, agenda points, etc. It makes minute-taking quicker and easier.

Check out our free Meeting Minutes Template for all-purpose meetings. Feel free to edit it according to your needs.

2) Pre-writing

The pre-writing phase refers to writing a few known elements of the meeting minutes before the meeting starts.

Write the date, time, and location of the meeting. You can also add a list of participants in advance; if anyone is absent, you only need to add a strikethrough.

You can use Lark Docs and its notes templates to take notes during the meeting.

Pro Tip: Write the initials or designations of participants to address them while taking notes.

3) Purpose

The purpose of the meeting should be clearly explained in the meeting minutes. It helps readers understand the objectives of a meeting at a glance.

Write the purpose in bullets to make it concise and easy-to-understand.

4) Initial Note-taking

Meeting minutes are written after the meeting. However, you should note important actions, decisions, and other key details to add later in the document.

You might forget some important developments once the meeting ends; that's why note-taking is essential. It helps you remember everything that happened and saves time finalizing the official document.

You don't need to write the details of every minute. Focus on the meeting and only write what's essential. Write short phrases, bullets, acronyms, name initials, etc., to save time.

Further Reading: How to Write Effective Meeting Notes

5) Writing Meeting Minutes

The best time to write meeting minutes is just after the meeting.

Fill in the actions, goals, decisions, deadlines, votes, takeaways, and other details in the template. Convert the notes you've taken during the meeting into formal meeting minutes.

Remember that meeting minutes are the summary; ensure concise and clear words. Use short phrases and highlight the important points.

If you've recorded the video, you can use Lark Meetings to transcribe the conversation. It helps you go through the important points and include everything necessary.

6) Resources and Documents

The participants of the meeting may present reports, research, and other documents. Once the meeting is over, request the resources and documents.

Without these documents, meeting minutes don't make complete sense. It is necessary to attach them to give a complete idea of the meeting to absentees and follow up without struggling.

7) Editing and Revision

Review the minutes of the meeting and proofread everything to ensure accuracy. Pay attention to the details, such as format, grammar, typos, inconsistent structure, etc.

You should remove the redundant and unnecessary items from the document. Make it presentable and easy-to-understand.

You can also ask a few attendees to go through the meeting minutes once and point out the details you've missed and mistakes. You might miss your mistakes, but others can point them out easily.

8) Getting Approval

Getting approval from the board members, supervisor, or whoever is responsible makes the document credible. It can be used to resolve future conflicts and as a legal document in courts.

If they suggest any edits, make them and get their approval.

It might not be necessary for all meetings; however, it is a great way to ensure accuracy.

9) Translation

If participants of the meeting speak and understand different languages, it’s a must to translate meeting minutes and convey every piece of information accurately.

You might need professionals for this step; however, you can make it easier using an AI translation tool.

Lark Meetings can translate the transcription of meetings into different languages with one click.

10) Sharing

The primary objective of meeting minutes is to share it with the participants, absentees, and all the concerned people to give them a summary of the meeting and maintain an official record.

Once you finalize the document, submit it to the official record if your organization has a separate database for important documents.

Share the meeting minutes via email, collaboration tool, or any other suitable medium. Make sure to control the access to selected persons. It ensures the confidentiality of your data.

Make Writing Meeting Minutes Hassle-free with Lark

Lark Suite is a productivity super app for teams that includes apps for messaging, meetings, documents, calendars, tasks, emails, and tons of things.

Using Lark Docs and Lark Minutes, we can effectively take meeting notes, create meeting minutes, and even transcribe meetings with AI.

Let's see how we can write meeting minutes and notes with Lark. Create a free Lark account to follow along.

Write Meeting Minutes Effectively with Lark Docs

Using Lark Docs and Lark Minutes, we can effectively take meeting notes, create meeting minutes, and even transcribe meetings with AI.

Let's see how we can write meeting minutes and notes with Lark. Create a free Lark account to follow along.

Write Meeting Minutes Effectively with Lark Docs

Lark Docs offers meeting minutes templates and notes you can use to write your meeting minutes.

Open the Lark Desktop app. On the left, click "Docs."

On the Home page, click "Templates."

It'll take you to the Templates library. Search "meeting minutes," and you will see the available templates.

Hover over to the template you want to use and click "Use."

Modify the template according to your meeting.

We've selected a special template that can be converted into a mind map. Click "Mind map."

Automate Meeting Minutes with Lark Minutes

Lark Minutes uses AI to convert audio and video into text. You can extract relevant information, change language, edit transcription, add comments, view notes, and do a lot more.

On the Lark desktop app, click "Meetings > Minutes."

Hover over to the Upload button. You can upload a file from your computer or import it from Lark Docs.

Click "Upload Local Files" and select the file from your computer. Click "Submit."

Lark Minutes will upload the file and transcribe it through AI. Once it is ready, you'll see the video on the Home page. You'll also receive a notification once the transcription is available.

Click the video to open it. You'll see the transcription on the right.

Copy anything from the transcript and add it to the Meeting Notes. You can also highlight anything in the transcript and add comments.

Once everything is ready, click the "Share" button. Add selected persons to give access or share through a link.

Best Practices for Effective Meeting Minutes

Follow these best practices to write meeting minutes like an experienced professional.

Be Concise

You've to choose words wisely. Just write what's important and needs to be conveyed.

Keep your words and phrases as simple and concise as possible. The document should look like a summary.

Using bullets, abbreviations, acronyms, short forms, and short phrases is recommended to convey the message quickly.

Record the Meeting

Record the audio or video of the meeting. It is essential if you don't want to forget any important point.

After the meeting, you can go through the video. Use Lark Minutes to create a quick transcript and search important keywords in the search bar.

Recording is preferred for the accuracy of meeting minutes, but make sure to get permission from the participants before recording them.

Edit Brutally

After writing the meeting minutes, you need brutal editing. Cut unnecessary words and get rid of the fluff.

Look for the mistakes, such as typos and grammatical errors. Minute takers often misspell the names of participants; make sure to check them.

Request a participant to go through the meeting minutes before you send it for approval.

Write Instantly

Write the meeting minutes once the meeting ends. You have a fresh memory of everything that happened.

Without wasting time, write meeting minutes after the meeting and get the approval as soon as possible.

Summarise Action Items and Decisions 

State the action items clearly in the meeting minutes, along with the assignee, deadline, and other details. 

Summarize them to give a quick idea to the reader. Create a bullet list or make a table if there are many action items and variables to be tracked.

The decisions made in a meeting are the most important takeaways. List them in the meeting minutes clearly and concisely with facts and figures.

Readers are likely to pay more attention to this part of the document. It must be written with meticulous attention to ensure accuracy.

Share Carefully

Meeting minutes are confidential documents, which means you should share them carefully. 

Give reading access to participants and absentees only. Do not share a direct link to the document. Instead, use their email addresses to control the access.

Secondly, share the minutes as early as possible, ideally within 24 to 48 hours.

Top 5 Meeting Minutes Templates

Here are our top five meeting minutes templates for different meetings. You can use these templates on the Lark desktop app or browser. Use these templates and make minute-taking easier.

1) Mind Map Meeting Minutes Template

This magical template converts your meeting minutes into a mind map that anyone can understand at a glance. Enter the details and click the button to convert it into a mind map. It summarizes everything in a flowchart or line diagram.

Key Elements:

  • Date

  • Time

  • Place

  • Attendees

  • Readings before meeting

  • Topics

  • Speakers

  • Actions

2) Standard Meeting Minutes Template

It's an all-purpose meeting minutes template for board meetings, executive meetings, and large organizations.

Key Elements:

  • Date

  • Participants

  • Required readings

  • Agenda

  • Discussion

  • Conclusion

  • Action items

3) Weekly Meeting Minutes Template

For weekly team meetings, departmental meetings, work progress meetings, and updates, this template is perfect. It keeps track of current and future goals.

Key Elements:

  • Date

  • Members

  • Objectives

  • Member progress

  • Conclusion

4) Meeting Minutes Template with Voting Poll

If your organization needs to decide something through voting, use this meeting minutes template. Share the file with members so that they can vote anonymously. It makes your task a lot easier and maintains the confidentiality of votes.

Key Elements:

  • Topic

  • Date

  • Place

  • Participants

  • Discussion

  • Voting poll

  • Post-meeting tasks

5) Brainstorming Meeting Minutes Template

There could be many ideas in a brainstorming meeting, so noting them would be strenuous. Use this meeting template and note the ideas of all participants without any hassle.

The template can automatically convert all ideas into a mind map. It also includes a voting poll that gives instant results.

Key Elements:

  • Time

  • Host

  • Note-taker

  • Participants

  • Objectives

  • Ideation

  • Discussion

  • Results

  • Voting and summary

  • To-do list

FAQs

What is the purpose of meeting minutes?

The purpose of meeting minutes is to create a formal record of what happened at the meeting. It summarizes the meeting for participants/absentees and can be used as a legal document in courts.

Are meeting notes called minutes?

Meeting notes are different from meeting minutes. These are taken during the meeting to remember what happened and help create meeting minutes.

Is it correct to say meeting minutes?

Yes, it is correct to say meeting minutes. However, the word "minutes" does not refer to time. It is derived from the Latin phrase "minuta scriptura," which means rough notes. It means Minutes of Meeting (MoM) or Notes of Meeting.

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