4 awesome tips on how to write meeting minutes

Written by Belle Beth Cooper on June 26, 2012

Do you take too many notes during meetings and find them difficult to action afterwards? Or maybe you forget to take notes and miss important points? Try these four tips on how to write meeting minutes.

how to write meeting minutes

Image credit: Brady Withers

Use shorthand

Make your meeting minutes as simple as possible so you can spend more time listening and engaging in the meeting. Use symbols and abbreviations to save yourself time. Using initials to represent people will save you from writing their names over and over. You could also try different coloured pens to categorize speakers or topics.

Being prepared before your meeting begins will help you to make quicker notes as well. If you are running the meeting, create an agenda so you can see which topics need to be addressed. If you are a participant, ask for a copy of the agenda in advance. This lets you get a head-start on your notes and know what to expect during the meeting.

Use a meeting minutes template

Using a template is another handy way to save time. You can use an online meeting tool to set up a web-based template or create a basic form and print hard copies ahead of time.

Ensure that your template includes all the basic information: the date and time of your meeting, names of attendees and the reason for the meeting. Add notes as you go including the topics discussed, decisions made, questions answered and any important points you may need to reference later.

Any questions or tasks that need to be followed-up on should be included as well. Take some time to mark these clearly before leaving the room, so you can quickly delegate or action them afterwards.

Use visual notes

Visual notes are easy to follow and understand, and can be quicker to take. Using white space, colours, borders, arrows and symbols, you can create a visual map of your meeting. This method highlights only the most important points, avoiding long lists of useless text. It also happens to be a lot more fun.

Mike Rohde’s sketchnotes blog is a great place to see examples of visual notetaking methods. He also has some helpful pictures on Flickr that explain the basics of his process and how to get started.

Follow-up

Quick follow-up will make your meeting minutes more useful. Review your notes before leaving the room to highlight everything you need to action: calls to make, emails to send, appointments or deadlines to add to your calendar and tasks to complete.

If you are responsible for sending copies to other team members, ensure this is done as soon as possible, while the meeting is still fresh in their minds. Make any tasks, questions and deadlines clear for others to see and include only relevant information.

What do you find makes your meeting minutes more useful? Leave us a comment with your tips below.

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About the Author

Belle Beth Cooper

Belle has spent the past four years as a freelance writer and social media consultant. She has written for The Next Web, Desktop Magazine and Social Media Examiner. Belle now spends her days wielding a pencil as Attendly's Head of Content.

One Comment

  1. June 27, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    You may want to try MeetingKing for your minutes and task follow through. I am the founder of MeetingKing (http://meetingking.com/) and our product does exactly what is suggested in the article.

    *It helps you create an agenda, it even adds tasks from the previous meeting(s)to the agenda
    *During the meeting you write short bullets and save them as a note, decision or task
    *To structure your meeting you can load a standard template or create your own
    *In the minutes you Notes, Decisions and Tasks have different colors
    *At the end of the meeting you can email the minutes with one click
    *Tasks are automatically emailed to the owner
    *Personal task list will remind you of what you need to do and what others need to do.

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