Free Meeting Minutes Template and Top Tips to Effectively Record Your Meeting Minutes

Free Meeting Minutes Template and Top Tips to Effectively Record Your Meeting Minutes

Following a pre-planned meeting agenda can decrease meeting time by 80%.

Despite this, less than half (37%) of U.S. meetings follow a set agenda.

Why, when the time savings of doing so are substantial? When time = money, it doesn’t take a genius to visualize the knock-on effects this has to an organization’s bottom-line.

Using a Meeting Minutes Template will establish processes to clearly define and set the meeting agenda before the meeting has begun, saving you both time and money.

In addition, a Meeting Minutes Template offers legal protection, provides meeting structure, documents state ownership, drives action, serves as a reference point, helps avoid repetition, and offers a platform for open communication.

Sounds good right?

So good that the content creation team here at Process Street give you this comprehensive guide, so you can effectively record meeting minutes in your business and line of work. You are provided with our free Meeting Minutes Template, to be used in conjunction with 3 more top meeting process templates.

Click on the relevant subheader below to hop to that section. Alternatively, read all to discover our secrets for how you can become a pro meetings note taker 🤓.

Let’s get stuck in!

Meeting Minutes Template

To kick-off this article, I give you our Meeting Minutes Template. A high-powered checklist machine you can use for free to quickly, simply, and effectively record your business meeting notes.

At the end of this checklist, your business meeting notes are compiled to produce a meeting minutes report. Transfer this report as a Google Document – in the format you desire – and store your meeting notes in the cloud. With on-cloud storage, your meeting notes are secure, easily accessible, and in a format supportive of an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS). An EDMS provides ultimate control and transparency over your business meeting notes.

Click here to access our Meeting Minutes Template!

What meeting minutes are, how to take them, and why they’re important

Meeting minutes are notes recorded in a meeting. They provide transparency over what was discussed during a meeting, highlight key issues, motions proposed or voted on, and action items to be taken with due dates and assigned responsible personnel.

Fun fact: The term minutes, when referring to meeting notes, has nothing to do with timekeeping. Minutes is a term that has Latin routes. Many think it originated in the 16th century, meaning rough draft. But others argue it came later, in the 18th century, derived from minuta which means small notes.

How to record meeting minutes

Meeting-minutes-process1

It is recommended to record the following 3 things when minute taking:

  • Decisions made,
  • A description of what was accomplished,
  • Future actions that need to be taken.

There are 5 main steps involved in recording meeting minutes, as detailed by CFI:

  1. Pre-planning
  2. Record-taking
  3. Writing or transcribing the minutes
  4. Sharing the meeting minutes
  5. Filing or storage of minutes for future reference

Our Meeting Minutes Template presented above has been designed based on these 5 steps, guaranteeing the user – in this case you 👋 – covers all bases.

Meeting minutes: Why recording meeting notes is important

Documenting your meeting minutes takes both time and effort and is therefore not a task employees often jump to with excitement. Never-the-less, an absence of enthusiasm shouldn’t deter from the process. Recording meeting minutes brings many benefits, from offering legal protection to driving action.

Below are the top 9 benefits that come from taking meeting minutes:

  • Meeting minutes offer legal protection: Minutes are evidence for how a decision has been reached and by whom, providing a form of state ownership. This evidence comes in handy if a lawsuit is filed or an audit is required.
  • Meeting minutes provide structure: There is no standardized format for meeting minutes, however, certain information is required – such as the minute-taker’s name, the organization’s name, the meeting time, who was called to order, and who attended. On following our Meeting Minutes Template, all essential meeting minute elements will be included in your notes.
  • Meeting minutes act as a measuring stick: Meeting notes record meeting decisions, making them useful to consult when measuring progress. They also provide information for who is accountable for what.
  • Meeting minutes state ownership: Minute meetings document who voted for what decision and who is responsible for which action item.
  • Meeting minutes help save time and money: Despite initial investments, in the long-run, meeting minutes will save you time. Having a written record of what has been discussed means responsibilities are known throughout a team/organization and key information about how and when to perform tasks is readily accessible.
  • Meeting minutes drive action: Good meeting notes help drive a plan of action for management and employees. Action items are mapped out across timelines, with the personnel responsible assigned.
  • Meeting minutes serve as a reference point: Meeting notes provide an objective reminder of what was discussed and decided on during the meeting.
  • Meeting minutes help avoid repetition: With a visible record of what has been discussed during a meeting, information can be disseminated, and the chances of repeating meeting agendas in subsequent meetings is substantially diminished.
  • Meeting minutes offer open communication for those not present in the meeting: Having meeting minutes open for reference means absentees from previous meetings can read the minutes for an update on what was discussed.

When it comes to taking meeting minutes, the hard part is making your meeting notes useful to obtain the above benefits. This is where Process Street and our Meeting Minutes Template comes to save the day 🦸.

How to take effective meeting minutes (using Process Street)

You’ve heard it before, but I will say it again, Process Street is superpowered checklists.

With Process Street you can create a checklist for any business operation. From the creation of standardized processes, to the documnentation and storage of process information, and the provision of on-cloud solutions that are securely accessible to all relevant employees.

So how can you use Process Street to record your meeting minutes?

Well, with Process Street you can,

  1. Standardize the the process to record your meeting minutes for consistency,
  2. Document and store your meeting notes in the cloud,
  3. Provide meeting notes that are securly accessible to all relevant employees, from anywhere.

Our Meeting Minutes Template is an interactive, dynamic process that will guide anyone, regardless of their experience and knowledge, through each step in the documentation of a meeting minutes record – from pre-planning to documenting and sharing the final meeting write-up.

Our Meeting Minutes Template includes features such as:

  • Conditional logic used to create truly dynamic checklists with if-this-then-that logic,
  • Stop tasks to ensure task order,
  • Dynamic due dates so no deadline is missed,
  • Approvals to streamline the decision-making process giving the go-ahead or rejection on important items.

It is with these features that our Meeting Minutes Template surpasses most in terms of usability and application. You can also edit and adapt this template to make it more suited to your needs.

For more information on how to do this, watch the below video: Basics of Creating and Editing Templates.

To produce useful minutes, you want to produce successful notes in the form of a final meeting minutes document. Therefore, a minute takers job extends both before and after the meeting being held.

For understanding, I have broken down the process of recording meeting minutes into 5 steps:

  • Step 1: Pre-planning,
  • Step 2: Recording meeting notes at the meeting,
  • Step 3: Minutes are transcribed,
  • Step 4: Meeting minutes are approved, distributed and shared,
  • Step 5: Minute meetings are filed and stored.

Our Meeting Minutes Template has been created using these 5 steps for structural guidance.

Writing meeting minutes, step #1: Pre-planning

Pre-planning

Meeting agendas are discussed during the pre-planning phase. For instance, this could be an update for year-end planning processes, announcements of new hires, or revealing innovative marketing campaigns. Meeting agendas are listed in order of discussion.

It is during the pre-planning phase where the expected number of attendees is clarified, in addition to the meeting’s location, date, and time. Other information recorded during the pre-planning phase includes documents attendees should reference, a reading list, and information on what the attendees need to bring.

Writing meeting minutes, step #2: Recording meeting notes at the meeting

Meeting notes

Writing meeting minutes isn’t a simple case of transcribing what has been said down on paper. Meeting minutes have structure, with certain information being essential for inclusion.

Essential information includes the meeting’s time and date, names of participants unable to attend, and alterations made as the meeting progresses. What can be considered the most important step, however, is the documentation of important action items.

Action items are discrete tasks that must be accomplished, assigned to a single individual or a group of individuals. During the meeting, the assignment of important action items drives the execution of needed procedures/tasks.

For example, at Process Street we have monthly sprint planning meetings. During these meetings, articles are assigned, along with their given due dates, to individuals within our content creation team. In this instance, each article assigned can be referred to as an action item, driving the execution of regular, quality content for Process Street’s blog.

Writing meeting minutes, step #3: The minutes writing process

Final meeting report

Once the meeting is over, meeting notes are pulled together into a comprehensible document. With Process Street’s Meeting Minutes Template, meeting information is automatically summarized into a single final report, detailing vital information in one place as shown in the image above.

Use this final report, along with the 5 tips given below, to write up your meeting minutes into an official meeting minutes report.

  • Tip #1: Write the minutes as soon as possible while everything is fresh in your mind.
  • Tip #2: Review the outline of your meeting minutes, adding additional notes and clarification points if necessary.
  • Tip #3: Ensure you are including sufficient detail. For each action item, it is recommended to provide a description, as well as the rationale behind a given decision. If there was a lot of discussion for and against a given action item, make sure the major arguments are noted.
  • Tip #4: Edit to ensure brevity and clarity so the minutes are easy to read.
  • Tip #5: In terms of format, be objective, write with the same tense throughout and summarize other documents you reference or indicate where these documents can be found.

Writing meeting minutes, step #4: Meeting minutes are approved, distributed and shared

Meeting approval

Before sharing your meeting minutes report, obtain approval from the appropriate personnel. Your written up meeting minutes report will not be an official record of the meeting unless approved.

Writing meeting minutes, step #5: Filing or storage of minutes for future reference

Filing and storage

Using our Meeting Minutes Template supports online sharing, storage, and the management of your documents electronically.

Electronic Document Management Systems are shown to surpass more traditional Document Management Systems in terms of efficiency and effectiveness of creating, storing, managing, organizing, retrieving, and protecting documentation. Using our Meeting Minutes Template is therefore a win-win situation, giving you a quick and easy approach of documenting your meeting minutes – with the added benefit of saving a few trees 🌳.

How to take meeting minutes, top tips and tricks

I know you’re itching to get started, but before you jump and use our Meeting Minutes Template, bear in mind the below tips and tricks as given by The Hub:

  1. Know how to identify what you should be making notes on: During the meeting, you shouldn’t constantly be making notes. Our Meeting Minutes Template will help you here, as it has been designed to focus your attention on meeting aspects that matter. Make sure you do your research to understand the meeting topic.
  2. Know when it is best to focus on listening: When you’re confident about what elements of the meeting to include in your notes, you can focus your attention accordingly – although your concentration is needed throughout the entire meeting.
  3. Take the time for advanced meeting preparation: It is likely, as the note-taker, you are responsible for preparing the agenda, outlining the meeting to be discussed. Underpreparation will be reflected in your notes. Luckily, our Meeting Minutes Template will help you organize and plan your meetings.
  4. Use templates: Using templates – such as our Meeting Minutes Template 😉 – will guarantee essential information is included in your meeting notes, in addition to providing professional consistency.
  5. Meet and discuss the meeting in advance: The meeting organizer and manager – known as the chairperson – will be your first point of contact for any queries or clarifications you may have. Be proactive and arrange a meeting in advance.
  6. Talk to attendees before the meeting: It is unlikely you already have comprehensive knowledge of the topics to be discussed in the meeting. Talking to attendees beforehand will give you valuable insight aiding your understanding and helping you formulate probing questions.
  7. Be prepared: Advanced preparation is needed for you to stay organized. Instances such as pens running out of ink, or laptop batteries dying can cause unnecessary disruption.
  8. Sit next to the chairperson: You want to hear what is being said during the meeting.
  9. Type up your notes into a final document: Typed up minutes will jog your memory. Using our Meeting Minutes Template allows you to type up your meeting minutes.
  10. Write objectively: The minutes must be neutral. That is, written minutes must provide an unbiased view of what has been discussed during the meeting.

Use Process Street to perfect your meeting processes

Did you know that having a process can reduce meeting time by 80%!

With this in mind, in addition to our Meeting Minutes Template, you are provided with free access to our top template resources, giving you carefully crafted structured processes for your meetings.

Use these templates in conjunction with our to deliver top-notch business meetings.

Daily Standup Meeting

Run this Daily Standup Meeting checklist every business day to check in with your team’s progress. A stand-up meeting, or scrum, is a short check-in meeting that happens in the morning of each working day.

The purpose of a daily standup meeting is to find out the results of the previous day’s work, to get each team member to plan their day and to give everyone the chance to get help with anything a team member is stuck on.

Click here to access our Daily Standup Meeting!

Ray Dalio’s Meeting Process

Ray Dalio is the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates.

In this Ray Dalio’s Meeting Process, we turn Dalio’s tips on running a successful meeting into an actionable template.

Click here to access Ray Dalio’s Meeting Process!

Virtual Meeting Checklist

As a remote team, we at Process Street love our Virtual Meeting Checklist, so we thought we would share it with you. Run this checklist to lead a virtual meeting of any kind, for efficient, and effective remote meetings.

Click here to access our Virtual Meeting Checklist!

Effectively record your meeting minutes today with Process Street

Meeting minutes are vital records providing transparency over meeting discussions and decisions made. By using Process Street‘s Meeting Minutes Template, you will be guided through the recommended process for recording your meeting notes. This is a free template, that can be used by anyone regardless of note-taking experience.

Use our Meeting Minutes Template along with our other top 3 meeting template resources, all designed to help you perfect your meeting processes.

How do you record your meeting minutes? Do you follow the recommended approach given in this article? Please comment below as we would love to hear from you. Who knows, you may even get featured in an upcoming article!

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Jane Courtnell

Hi there, I am a Junior Content Writer at Process Street. I graduated in Biology, specializing in Environmental Science at Imperial College London. During my degree, I developed an enthusiasm for writing to communicate environmental issues. I continued my studies at Imperial College's Business School, and with this, my writing progressed looking at sustainability in a business sense. When I am not writing I enjoy being in the mountains, running and rock climbing.


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