Career Advice

How to Take Meeting Minutes – Everything You Need to Know

If you’re assigned as the minute taker in the next meeting, you might start to panic. “I’ve never taken meeting minutes before and have no idea how to write one!”

No worries. I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about how to take meeting minutes. I’ll even provide a template and sample to show you what it should look like. 

So are you ready? Let’s dive in!

Read More: How To Articulate Better In Writing: 10 Tips To Put Your Thoughts Into Words

What Exactly Are Meeting Minutes?

Before you can write effective meeting minutes, you first need to know what exactly it is. This way, you’ll have an idea of what to jot down. Or at least you’ll know the purpose of minute-taking. 

At its core, meeting minutes are an official written record of what was discussed during the meeting. It should have all the important details, including assigned projects, deadlines, project requirements, workplace decisions, etc…

The reason? Here is how the Indeed editorial team puts it:

“They help employees who attended the meeting remember what they discussed during the meeting and notify employees who couldn’t attend of what the meeting was about so they don’t miss any important information.”

Tatiana Morand, the Director of Client Marketing at How To SaaS, adds this:

“It’s to keep track of what was decided during the meeting so that you can revisit it and use it to inform future decisions.”

What Should You Include When You Write Meeting Minutes?

Now that you know the purpose of the minutes of meetings, you already have an idea of what should be included. But there are a few other details that you need to take note of, too. I’m talking location, date, and time, as well as meeting participants and meeting duration. 

To make sure nothing slips through the cracks, here are the key points to board meeting notes:

  • Type of meeting
  • Meeting agenda
  • Attendees’ full names
  • Meeting date and time (start and end)
  • Projects assigned and their deadlines
  • Decisions made
  • Corrections to previous meeting minutes
  • Passed or failed proposals or suggestions
  • Next meeting details (if any)

How to Take Meeting Minutes

OK, let’s get to the gist of it. As you already know, meeting minutes don’t mean you have to record every single topic of discussion during the meeting – minute by minute. No, it’s simply a summarized version of the important details. 

With that in mind, here are 9 steps on how to take meeting minutes:

  1. Get the meeting details 
  2. Prepare a meeting minutes template beforehand 
  3. Take notes during the meeting
  4. Ask for clarification if necessary
  5. Record the meeting 
  6. Collect copies of any reports or presentations
  7. Create a final draft
  8. Let the Chair review and approve the minutes
  9. Deliver the meeting minutes

1. Get the meeting details

When you’re given the task to take minutes, you should ask the Chair for the meeting details. This includes the location, date, time, agenda, who’s going to attend, which of the attendees are guests or speakers, documents that will be used for the meeting, past meeting minutes to see how it’s structured, and so on. 

If you want to be super specific, it’s a good idea to ask the Chair what they expect to be included in the minutes. This will remove a lot of the guesswork. 

While you’re at it, why not also ask what your role in the meeting is – is it just recording meeting minutes or actually participating? 

2. Prepare a meeting minutes template beforehand

To avoid scrambling rapidly on your laptop or notepad, it’s good practice to have a minutes template on the ready. This way, you can simply fill up a section of the template whenever needed. 

So prior to the meeting, start getting to work. Use all the details you gathered about the meeting and create a professional minutes of meeting format. You can even fill in a few blanks with the information you know about, such as meeting attendees, the time, date, and location, etc… 

Here is an example of a template with the ready-known details:

  • Meeting name:

Quarterly Team Meeting – Q1 2024

  • Type of meeting:

Regular quarterly team meeting for discussing progress, updates, and planning for the first quarter of 2024.

  • Meeting purpose 

Review the progress of ongoing projects, discuss the quarterly financial report, strategize for an upcoming marketing campaign, address new business initiatives, assign action items, and plan the next steps for the team in Q1 2024.

  • Meeting date and time

Date: March 25, 2024

Time: 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

  • Attendees
  • Absentees (if any)
  • Decisions
  • Action items 
  • Key points
  • Questions
  • Next steps 

I’m going to give you a full template and sample below. 

3. Takes notes during the meeting 

Remember, you’re not a transcriber. Your job is to listen intently and jot down all the important details in each agenda item. Here’s an example: 

Meeting agenda

  • Review of previous meeting minutes

Mention any changes or corrections made to the minutes of the previous meeting. Confirm if the minutes were approved or if there are pending approvals.

  • Presentation of quarterly financial report

Provide a summary of key financial metrics and performance indicators for the quarter. Highlight any significant trends, challenges, or achievements in the financial report.

  • Discussion of upcoming marketing campaign

Outline the objectives, strategies, and tactics of the upcoming marketing campaign. Include the target audience, channels to be used, budget considerations, and expected outcomes.

You get the point. 

Along with the important details, it’s also good to mention the names of who proposed what, who was against and for a suggestion, who presented this report and that presentation, etc… 

To avoid overloading your notes, keep your points concise but clear – enough to understand when you go over them after the meeting. No need to worry about grammar or typos just yet. Your focus now is to get the most important information. 

4. Ask for clarification if necessary 

Let’s say everyone moves on to the next agenda item without making an obvious conclusion. If this happens, then you need to butt in. 

Don’t be afraid to ask them what’s the final decision or whether they’ll discuss it in the next meeting. Whatever answer they give you, put it down in your notes as well. 

You should ask for clarification if you’re confused about something, too. It’s better to ask about it right away than try to figure it out on your own when the meeting is finished. There’s nothing wrong with asking

5. Record the meeting

This isn’t a necessary step. However, if it’s your first time to take minutes, you might not be able to keep up with everything. So why not record the whole thing so that you can listen back to it when reviewing?

Since you’re no longer pressured, you’ll be able to approach it with a clear mind. You can then remove information that’s irrelevant and include important details that you missed out on. You can even reorganize your notes completely. 

If you decide to record the meeting, you can use your smartphone, recording device, iPad, or any other recorder. Another thing. It’s required to let everyone know that they are being recorded. 

6. Collect copies of any reports or presentations

As the meeting comes to a close, ask the Chair or the presenter for a copy of the reports and presentations given (if any). You’ll want to attach these to your meeting minutes. This way, you don’t have to summarize it there. 

The Indeed editorial team tells us another reason why this is important:

“This can help them remember what the topic of discussion was and help the people who couldn’t attend view the information they missed.”

It’ll also help when it’s time to create the final meeting minutes draft. 

7. Create a final draft 

Get this: you need to complete your meeting minutes as soon as possible. Better yet, have the official record by the next day. 

To create the final draft of your meeting minutes, you first need to review your notes. If you recorded the whole thing, you can listen back to the sections that were a bit confusing. 

What if you need a bit more info? Don’t be afraid to go to the person with the information and ask them. If that’s not possible, you can email them right after the meeting. 

From there, expand your notes into explanatory paragraphs in 1 to 3 sentences. You should focus on the most important things that happened during a meeting – discussion points, decisions, action items, agenda items, deadlines, next steps, etc… 

Here are a few other things to consider:

  • Your sentences should be clear and direct.
  • Make sure there are no grammar mistakes, typos, different tenses, etc…
  • Don’t add direct quotes from people. 
  • Avoid personal observations from yourself and others. 
  • Don’t summarize other documents. You can simply refer to these documents and where to find them or attach the reports and presentations you gathered. 

8. Let the Chair review and approve the minutes

At this point, you’re probably super nervous about whether you did the meeting minutes right or not. Don’t worry. Before it becomes an official record, it needs to be approved by the Chair. 

If they have any corrections, make sure you fix it immediately. If it’s good already, then it will be approved. However, it’s important to note that the meeting minutes may take as long as the next meeting for it to be approved. So again, don’t stress about it too much. 

9. Deliver the meeting minutes

Now it’s time to give the meeting minutes to everyone present and absent. Usually, this is done by email. Some Chairs or board committees prefer other sharing document methods, though. The best way to know is to ask your supervisor or Chair where they want the minutes to be sent. 

Meeting Minutes Template and Sample 

To give you an idea of what effective minutes look like, here is a template that’s filled in as a sample to refer back to. 

  • Meeting name:

Quarterly Team Meeting – Q1 2024

  • Type of meeting:

Regular quarterly team meeting for discussing progress, updates, and planning for the first quarter of 2024.

  • Meeting purpose 

Review the progress of ongoing projects, discuss the quarterly financial report, strategize for an upcoming marketing campaign, address new business initiatives, assign action items, and plan the next steps for the team in Q1 2024.

  • Meeting date and time

Date: March 25, 2024

Time: 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

  • Attendees
  1. John Doe
  2. Jane Smith
  3. Michael Johnson
  4. Sarah Brown
  5. David Wilson
  6. Emily Davis
  • Agenda
  1. Welcome and Introductions 
  2. Review of Previous Meeting Minutes – Corrections were made regarding [specific details]. The corrected minutes were approved unanimously.
  3. Presentation of Quarterly Financial Report – [Presenter’s Name] presented the financial report for the first quarter of 2024. Key highlights included [summary of financial performance, such as revenue, expenses, profits, etc.]. The report was discussed, and questions were addressed by the finance team.
  4. Discussion of Upcoming Marketing Campaign – The marketing team led by [Marketing Lead’s Name] presented plans for the upcoming marketing campaign. Strategies discussed included [overview of campaign objectives, target audience, channels, budget, etc.]. The team provided feedback and suggestions for refinement, and additional budget allocation was approved for specific marketing initiatives.
  5. Project Updates and Status Reports – Project leads provided updates on ongoing projects. Progress, challenges, and milestones were discussed for each project. Action items were assigned to address identified issues, and deadlines were set for completion.
  6. New Business and Announcements – New business initiatives and announcements were discussed, including [details of new projects, partnerships, or organizational updates]. Team members were encouraged to share ideas and feedback during this segment.
  7. Next Steps and Action Items – Action items were assigned as follows:
    • [Name] to complete [specific task] by [deadline].
    • [Name] to follow up on [specific issue] and report back by [deadline].
    • [Name] to coordinate with [team/department] regarding [specific action].
    • [Name] to schedule follow-up meetings for project reviews.
  8. Closing Remarks and Adjournment – meeting end time

Final Words

Meeting minutes serve as a formal record of important discussions, decisions, and actions that happened during the meeting. This is why it’s crucial to come up with accurate minutes. 

If you’re in charge of taking the minutes, you might have no idea how it’s done. But with this complete guide on how to take meeting minutes, you’ll have an idea of the main points, as well as what to include when writing meeting minutes.

If you just pay attention, do effective note-taking, and clarify, you’ll be able to create helpful meeting minutes for everyone to refer back to. 

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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