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Why you should use a meeting minutes template to keep track of decisions [+Template]

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Never lose track of key decisions from a meeting with a meeting minutes template

Meeting minutes are a log of what happened at a meeting. Unlike meeting agendas, meeting minutes focus on decisions made at the meeting.
Most of us have attended a meeting madly scribbling what we thought were meeting minutes only to find out later that we’ve missed important information of that the notes we took were never used. Do you often question what information you should record and what you should leave out? Minutes that capture the purpose of the meeting and its agreed outcomes are a record that can be referred back to and can be used for follow-up purposes. Effective meeting minutes are clear and to the point, but at the same time, they do not leave out important information.
Meeting minutes keep a record of what was done or talked about at a meeting, including any decision made or action taken. Typically, meeting minutes are recorded by a secretary or assistant, but it can be done by any appointed individual.
Meeting minutes serve as a record of what was discussed and decided in a meeting, what actions must be taken, who must take them and when. So, being of such great importance, what are meeting minutes? What exactly is included in meeting minutes? And why are these things important? There are a variety of and templates to help with keeping a record of what is discussed during a meeting.

What is a meeting minutes template?

A meeting minutes template helps with tracking the key decisions and action items that are discussed during a meeting. Meeting minutes are different from a meeting agenda because they are a record of who attended the meeting, what was discussed, and the requested action items. If people are unable to attend the meeting, the meeting minutes template serves as a record of key decisions made during the meeting.
A meeting minutes template is commonly used during board meetings, but this template can be used for any type of meeting. The template should give the meeting secretary or notetaker the ability to write meeting notes, enter the date and time of the meeting, names of meeting participants, items, and action items. For , check out instead.

How to use this meeting minutes template

This meeting minutes template is meant to be shared with everyone that is attending the meeting. Multiple people can write and edit the template during the meeting. After you copy this template, you can use this template for your next meeting.

Step 1: Create a new meeting

On the page, click the Create a New Meeting button to add a new entry to the table. After you've shared this template with meeting attendees, you can select them in the dropdown for "Attendees" and "Not in attendance." You can also set the meeting objective at this stage.

Step 2: Take notes

You can take open-ended notes on the page. Taking notes here will feel like writing in Google Docs in terms of formatting. Your company may already have a formal meeting minutes template which you can use on the notepad. Or you can copy the current template from the page. The current structure includes headings for the introduction, consent agenda, business agenda, and concluding materials.

Step 3: Paste notes into the meetings table

Upon meeting adjournment, you should copy and paste the notes you took in the back into the meeting you created on the page. Now all the key decisions are tracked in this table. If people have questions about decisions or action items, they can reference the minutes from a previous meeting.

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Use this template for your next board meeting and customize the template to include your meeting agenda, meeting notes, and more.

How to take good meeting minutes

It is important to use a good template to take good meeting minutes. If your organization doesn't have a template, you can use this template instead of taking informal meeting minutes in Microsoft Word of Google Docs. Look at previous meetings to get a sense of how the meeting secretary or notetaker structures the minutes of a meeting.
As people enter the room, that's a good time to start logging people who are attending the meeting. Once there is a quorum of people, you can start writing the meeting minutes. If something being discussed isn't clear, ask the meeting attendees for clarification on what is being discussed so you can take good meeting minutes for the official record.
It is important to take good meeting minutes because of the meeting is with a board of directors or an important business meeting, the minutes can serve as legal evidence. For regular company meetings, minutes can just be a good place to look for future reference when employees want to know what key decisions were made at the meeting.

How to structure meeting minutes

The way you structure your meeting minutes depends on the format your organization uses. Typically the structure will include:
Agenda items
Meeting date and time
Names of attendees (and those who couldn't attend)
The secretary or notetaker
Acceptance of the meeting minutes
Key decisions
Action items and next steps

Common FAQs about a meeting minutes template

How long should meeting minutes be?

The length and format is up to the organization you work at. With a board of directors, there is probably an official structure for the meeting minutes template and length of notes. Having said that, the meeting minutes shouldn't be a transcript of everything that is said during the meeting. Personal comments should also be omitted. The length will be determined by the template you use and your note-taking abilities.

Who should receive the meeting minutes?

Aside from the meeting attendees, anyone who ask for the meeting minutes should receive them if they have the right access levels. The structure of the organization and the groups an employee belongs to will dictate whether they should receive the meeting minutes. For official board meetings, it's important to decide who should have access to the meeting minutes before they are distributed widely.

How do I write meeting minutes?

To start, you should use a free meeting minutes template like this template. Take notes about all important decisions and actions items being discussed. Ask for clarification during the meeting if something is unclear. Follow the structure of this template or your organization's template so that it's easy to see the key decisions made at a previous meeting.
Once the meeting is over, request approval from the management team for the meeting minutes. If it's a regular team meeting, getting approval is probably not required.

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