How to Take Effective Meeting Minutes

how to take effective meeting minutes

The board meeting secretary has many responsibilities, one of which is to create and take minutes of meetings.  To do this, they create notes during the meeting and later use additional material to form a finished document. It needs to be distributed to all participants and archived. But in order for the minutes to be quality, you, as a secretary, need additional training. In this article, we will look at how to take effective meeting minutes. Improve your skills and knowledge for a more effective meeting of directors.

What are the meeting minutes?

The minutes of a board meeting is not meant to be a record of every word or action that occurred at the meeting. In it, the secretary records the key points of the discussions and actions of the attendees. In simple terms, meeting minutes can be divided into three parts: notes of what was ultimately decided, notes of what was done, and actions to be taken in the future. 

But minutes are not just about what happens at the meeting. The secretary needs to do proper preparation both before the meeting and to take action afterward. Before the meeting, find out what the meeting will be about and circulate agendas to the rest of the attendees at least three days before the meeting.

Recommendations for taking meeting minutes

  • Take notes intelligently

The note-taker should not have to be unbending to take notes throughout the meeting. If you think of something worth taking notes on, take a couple of seconds to organize your thoughts and then listen to what the participants have to say and get the most important things out of it. To help you, you can review minutes from previous meetings and use them as an example.

  • Prepare thoroughly for the meeting

If you prepare poorly for a meeting and don’t fully understand the topic, it will be harder for you to join the conversation. Since the secretary is also often involved in drafting the agenda, which should include the topic and purpose of the meeting, poor preparation will also affect that document and the overall productivity of the meeting.

  • Use templates

Using a new document every time to create minutes is a waste of time, whereas you can save your time and effort by using templates. You can use these examples to better guide you on what information is best for you and how to present it, how to take notes, and what things to listen for.

  • Discuss an upcoming meeting with the chairperson

One of the chair’s responsibilities is to organize and conduct a smooth meeting process. For the secretary, the chairman is the best helper, because you can safely go to him for explanations of any issues. Arrange a meeting with the chairman and ask him all the necessary questions, agree on the format of the minutes and the contents of the agenda, ask him for a list of participants, and so on.

  • Communicate with board members before the meeting itself

The fact that the secretary does not understand the topic of the meeting as deeply as the participants are fine, but you should have a basic understanding of the topic. To get a better grasp of this you can contact the board members in advance.

  • Take a seat next to the chairman.

Seems like a small thing, but it plays a pretty big role. The chairman is the person you work with most closely within the team, and it also gives you a better overview of the other members and the chance to hear them better.