Documenting your meeting is a crucial step for a successful and effective video conference call. If you’ve been chosen as the sacred scribe of your meeting, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of writing and sharing meeting minutes effectively, intuitively and easily with your colleagues. But don’t stress — here is everything you need to know about meeting minutes and a few tips and tricks on how to capture the most important parts of a meeting.
What are meeting minutes?
Meeting minutes are the tangible records taken in a meeting that are used to inform attendees and nonattendees of what was discussed during the meeting and define the required next steps to keep the conversation or project on track. Meeting minutes allow people who didn’t attend the meeting to get caught up on what was discussed. This condensed document also suggests what topics to revisit and inform future decisions in follow-up meetings.
4 reasons to take meeting minutes
Not only are meeting minutes used to benchmark key topics discussed in meetings, they are also used as records so that anyone not on the call or in the meeting room can catch up on what was discussed, minus the bias and small talk. Here are a few good reasons why meeting minutes enhance the way you meet:
Capture the overall purpose of meeting
People don’t meet for fun. There’s always an underlying purpose of a meeting being called. Good meeting minutes not only tell people why the meeting was held in the first place, they also jog memories of tasks that need to be done.
Record votes on decisions being made
By writing down big decisions made during the meeting, you put you and your colleagues a step ahead for any follow-up meetings. Capture motions or votes made in the meeting room to clarify for attendees and nonattendees when, why and how these decisions were made.
Plan the next steps for future meetings
A meeting is never just one meeting — there are always follow-up syncs and tasks people need to do. By recording what needs to be done before the next meeting happens, colleagues can easily keep track of what they need to do to prepare for the next call.
Track action items
Logging what items are actionable throughout your meeting makes it easy for attendees to know what they need to do when the meeting ends, without diverting attention from what is currently being discussed.
How to write effective meeting minutes in 6 steps
By setting and sending a meeting agenda to your colleagues beforehand, you can help guide the conversation and cut out any tangents that might arise. You can use your meeting minutes to set up the meeting structure as well for easy note-taking and topic changes. This also allows you to create an agenda in a format that works for the meeting.
2. Structure your minutes document
Some key things to include in your meeting minutes are the time and date of the meeting, names of the participants on the conference call, decisions made, new topics brought up and the next meeting time and date. If some people were unable to join, write their names down too to make sure they are still in the loop.
3. Keep your notes clear
It’s easy to fall behind while taking notes in a meeting — conversations are fast-paced, and it can be hard to keep up. Make a mental note before the meeting starts to be objective and avoid any judgment or bias. You can even go back after the meeting and edit your minutes so they make sense, fix your tenses to be consistent and attach any extra documents or information that may have been referenced.
4. Get approval (if needed)
If you’re new to taking meeting minutes, get them approved by a superior if needed. It’s always nice to have a second set of eyes look over something you’ve put together.
5. Share the minutes
Once you’ve edited your minutes, share them with your colleagues. If your company has an overarching folder for minute-keeping, upload them for easy access. If meeting attendees request physical copies, provide those and keep duplicates for yourself — these documents are something to be proud of!
6. Keep minutes available for future review
Make sure you bring your minutes to the next follow-up meeting so you can kick off your meeting with a recap. This way, you can check if tasks have been accomplished, and you can use these minutes to guide how your meeting will progress.
Meeting minutes template
Effective meetings are the product of good leadership, a collaborative team, minimum small talk and excellent note-taking. Make the most of your meeting minutes with this basic minute-taking template. Copy the template below and use it for your next meeting!
A [meeting type] meeting of [team or organization name] was held on [date] at [location]. It began at [time] and was called by [meeting leader, person who called the meeting], with [scribe name] as scribe.
[List of team members in attendance]
[List of guests in attendance]
[List of team members who did not attend]
[Topic/Presentation name] was presented by [presenter/speaker].
Task: Called by [name] for [task doer name] to [complete task] by [date]
Helpful tools for recording meeting minutes
With a video collaboration tool like Lifesize, we can provide you a template for your meeting minutes, plus a little extra. Optimize your meetings with easy note-taking and record-keeping with these Lifesize features and solutions.
Lifesize Record and Share
Lifesize Record and Share enables users to securely record their video conference calls from any of their devices or meeting room systems. Capture shared content and presentations with a single click and start creating your company’s personal video channel within your video conferencing solution. That way you can send a full recording along with your meeting minutes.
Lifesize Share Wireless Screen Sharing
Lifesize Share is a wireless screen sharing and room automation solution that allows meeting presenters to wirelessly share their presentation in the meeting room while also having the ability to access note-taking tools or reference materials on their own private screen. With this solution, you can simultaneously share your presentation and take notes in a separate window — from one device.
Integrations with Microsoft, Google and Slack
At Lifesize, we’re all about ease of use. Seamlessly integrate your Lifesize solution with tools like Microsoft, Google and Slack to support and enhance your daily meeting workflow. Schedule meetings, send documents and start group chats with your colleagues, all from one solution.
Writing meeting minutes doesn’t have to be hard. With a dynamic, recording-capable video conferencing solution, you have a tool that has your back. Whether you’re documenting a company-wide conference call or just syncing up with your ongoing project team, make the most of your time by meeting smarter, being organized and keeping great meeting minutes. Be sure to subscribe to the blog for more times on meeting productivity.
Meeting Minutes FAQs
What tense should meeting minutes be in?
You should always write your meeting minutes in past tense. These could be considered a recap to what happened on the call and therefore will be read by colleagues after the meeting happens. Make sure to go back after the meeting and correct your tenses to avoid confusion.
Who should take meeting minutes?
Having someone who will be attending all meetings, will not be presenting on the call and can take notes swiftly and understands the topic being discussed would be ideal.
How long should meeting minutes be?
The length of your meeting minutes depends on how long your meeting is and how many topics you and your team plan on covering. Keep your sentences short and objective — no need to get creative!