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Meeting Minutes Templates That Don't Suck

If you've been tasked with the job of taking meeting minutes for yet another zoom call, and you're tired of starting from ground zero, it's about time you used a meeting minutes template that will help you automate the process.

The effectiveness and effectivity of meetings is a hot topic at the moment and so is the need to cut down on all types of virtual gatherings in an effort to combat zoom burnout. Not everything has to be turned into a meeting, but whether we like it or not, meetings are essential and we should continue to hold them every once in a while when necessary. We should aim for them to be better structured, shorter or with breaks in between, and more engaging.

To help you out with the planning, execution, and subsequent online meetings let's dive into how to master your meeting minutes with ease, in less time, and make them even more effective.

  1. What are meeting minutes?
  2. Help! What to include in your written discussions
  3. Write effective minutes with these free meeting minutes templates
  4. Simplify the process of taking minutes for your meetings 👇

What are Meeting Minutes?

Essentially, meeting minutes are a recall of what takes place in a meeting. They differ from a meeting agenda in the following ways: they register attendees, include the overall goal and/or objective of the meeting, the decisions made, and follow-up action items given to the team.

Even though they are called meeting minutes, they're not a minute-by-minute record, quite the contrary. The minutes are a sum-up of the meeting and used to keep a record of everything that was discussed, so the information can be shared later on, especially with those that couldn’t make it. On top of that, the habit of taking meeting minutes, provides you will a tool you can use to later reference and evaluate your actions against the goals set within the discussions of your meetings.

Preparing a Meeting Agenda

Some might not even realize this but a lot comes to play before the actual meeting takes place. To ensure a meeting starts on the right foot and touches all necessary points it’s important to coordinate with the person in charge of the meeting and take some time to write an outline of the future meeting and its agenda. This will help the meeting owner organise the main points and goals of the meeting, and attendees will get an overview of everything to be discussed so the team can prepare themselves. With discussion tools, meeting attendees have the opportunity to pipe into a discussion prior to the meeting and leave comments. We'll get into discussions more a bit later, and how you can even eliminate the need for a meeting altogether, by simply running an asynchronous discussion.

How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes

With all the information gathered in the meeting planning, it’s time to start writing the meeting minutes during the meeting. For this specific part of the procedure, you can choose to either create meeting minutes yourself or go with the simplest route and browse one of the online templates.

Not sure what to include when writing meeting minutes?

While there might be more or less extensive meeting minute templates, the basic points that the document has to include are:

  • Name of the meeting and where and when it’s taking place. When online, mention the platform.
  • Date and time of the meeting.
  • List of participants.
  • Purpose of the meeting.
  • Agenda. For each item discussed, include a brief explanation of the final decision, how to proceed, and the division of the tasks.
  • Follow-up meeting. If needed, add the time and place of the next meeting.
  • Attached documents that should be included in the report.

Free Meeting Minutes Templates

Templates are a wonderful thing! Time-saving and highly customizable, there are meeting minute templates for every kind of meeting; from regular catch-ups, board meetings and team get-togethers to close the week or month.

If you've ever gone looking for meeting minutes templates, you've likely came across Microsoft Office's library of free meeting templates, Evernote's templates for meeting minutes, or Adobe Spark with their collection of meeting templates. All of these may have been great resources....10 years ago, but we're living and working in a different time now, which means if you want to keep up, you'll need to get with the times.

While existing template solutions are great for getting started, they have two major downsides: collaboration and storage. On one side, Microsoft, Evernote, Adobe and similar platforms don’t facilitate real-time collaboration as they are usually written on desktop apps and not cloud-based ones. On the other side, meeting minutes generally shared in PDF format via email, have a high probability of getting lost in your inbox or computer storage. Luckily, there's improved solutions to make the task of writing meeting minutes easier, and we dare say, enjoyable! 👇

Meeting Minutes Meet Async Collaboration

In 2021's hybrid working world, taking meeting minutes demands more collaboration and cooperation, something traditional systems for note-taking often lack.

Async collaboration tools allow you to create your own meeting minutes template, or choose from one of the pre-set options within the discussions feature. Discussions allow teammates to jump in on a collaborative document – much like Google Docs, where you can hold written 1 to 1 async meetings, brainstorm together or kick-off a project.

Meeting minutes are crucial for any meeting, whether they are held offline or online. With a written record of everything that has been talked about and discussed before, during and after, crucial learnings can be realized and clearer actions are taken. We hope this article has helped you discover a new online meeting hack so that from now on, meetings don't just lend themselves to long and sometimes ineffective get-togethers but instead become highly engaging and productive gatherings.