This article contains information on the updated examples and types of minute of meeting
Years ago, as an undergraduate, I belonged to an Organization. On a particular occasion we had projects to carryout and specific roles where assigned to each member of the group, of which every member was cool with. On one of our regular meetings, a member suggested we started contributing a stipulated amount for the projects. Everyone bought the idea and we started the contribution as agreed upon.
Months into the exercise, the group member who brought up the idea of contribution bluntly refused to pay, with the excuse that the group leader was extorting morning from us. This person was so irresponsible to the extent of denying ever supporting the idea of contribution.
This was the person who sold the idea of contributing money to the group and the same person bluntly denied ever making such suggestions due to his inability to pay. The issue caused a serious issue in the group but do you know how the case was settled? It was through minutes of meeting.
The minute of meeting for the particular meeting for which he brought the idea of contributing for the projects was revisited and fortunately, it captured all what was done on that day. The minutes of meeting read thus, “Mr. A suggested that the group members started contributing for the annual project. This idea was accepted by all and the sum of #500 monthly contributions was agreed by everyone present”. With that, the issue was automatically resolved and out of shame, Mr. A cleared his debts. That is, the power and importance of minute of meeting.
Thus, minutes of meeting can be defined as the written record of everything that happened during a meeting. They’re used to inform people who didn’t attend the meeting about what happened as well as to keep track of what was decided during a meeting so that it can be revisited and used to inform future decisions.
On the other hand, it can also be defined as an official written statement of the motions and resolutions made in a meeting. It is a brief but complete record of all discussions held among the members of the meeting.
This article is basically meant to provide information on the types of minute of meeting as well as samples of minute of meeting. Before moving on to that, let me walk you through what a minute of meeting is expected to contain and tips on how to write one.
What should be included in meeting minutes?
Minutes of meeting contain similar information but sometimes there can be discrepancies depending on the rules and policies guiding the Organization. Therefore, before you start taking notes, it’s important to understand the type of information and content you need to record at the meeting, but generally, meeting minutes usually include the following:
- Name of the organization
- Date and time of the meeting
- Names of the meeting participants
- Names of those who were unable to attend.
- Acceptance or corrections/amendments to previous meeting minutes
- Decisions made about each agenda item, for example:
- Actions taken or agreed to be taken
- Voting outcomes, if necessary, details regarding who made motions; who seconded and approved
- Motions taken or rejected
- Date, time and location of next meeting.
Tips on Writing Minute of Meeting
As easy as writing minute of meeting is, there are still many who struggle to write one. Below are simple tips that can help you.
- Plan The Agenda: An agenda helps in preparing for a meeting by providing a list of items and a clear set of topics, objectives, and time frames that are needed to be discussed in the meeting of the day.
- Create an Outline: The first tip to help you in writing minutes of meeting is to create an outline. Having an outline makes it easy for you to simply jot down notes, decisions and other subject matters under each item. If you are taking notes by hand, consider including space below each item on your outline for your hand-written notes.
- Check-off Attendees as They Enter the Room: If you know the meeting attendees, you can check them off as they arrive, if not have attendees introduce themselves at the start of the meeting or circulate an attendance list they can check-off themselves. Record decisions or notes on action items in your outline as soon as they occur to be sure they are recorded accurately.
- Ask For Clarification: Also, endeavor to ask for clarification where necessary. For instance there are cases where there a subject matter will not be decided on and another subject is brought up. In a situation where the group moves on to another subject matter without making a decision or a conclusion on a previous subject, ask for clarification of the decision or next steps involved.
- Don’t Stress Yourself Trying To Capture Everything: Normally, the minute of a meeting is not meant to capture everything that was done in a meeting. You can’t keep up if you try to write down the discussion word for word. Thus, write only the necessary things such as the decisions, action steps, etc.
- Record: If you are concerned about being able to keep up with note taking which may lead to your missing vital points, consider recording the meeting on your smart phone or any recording device. Inorder not to have your actions being misunderstood by group members, ensure to let them know you are placing them on record and also let them know why. Remember the recording is not the minute of meeting but only a guide. On that note, try as much as possible to write the minutes soon after the meeting while everything is fresh in your mind.
Do Meeting Minutes Have To Be Approved?
In some organizations, the minute of meeting must be reviewed and approved by the Chair person. So, depending on your organization, minutes may also be formally approved at the beginning of the next meeting after a thorough review.
Moving straight to the main idea of this article, there are different types of Minute of meeting.
TYPES OF MINUTE OF MEETING
There are three standard types of minutes of meetings. They are: action, discussion, and verbatim.
1. ACTION MINUTES
The most popular type of minutes of meetings is Action minutes. This type of minute which is otherwise known as decision only minutes includes only the decisions reached and the actions to be taken, not including the discussion involved in making the decisions. The action minutes provide an executive overview of decisions within a meeting. Action minutes are often required in meetings such as board, councils or hearing meetings.
It has an informal style and can be written as bullet points as they are only circulated internally. Often the minute taker also takes part in the meeting in discussions. These minutes are simple, can be written down faster and are accurate.
2. VERBATIM MINUTES
This is a a word for word record of all discussions and decisions. Verbatim minutes are record of every single word said at a meeting. They are often long and can be difficult to skim for a particular piece of information. With the exception of courtroom proceedings and Congress, a verbatim record of a meeting is rarely necessary.
Verbatim minutes are often very lengthy. Capturing verbatim minutes is difficult for the note taker and recording the conversation with a microphone could be very helpful for proof-reading minutes. As opposed to action and discussion minutes, verbatim minutes focus on individuals comments and not the general agreement.
3. DISCUSSION MINUTES
Discussion minutes or anecdotal minutes are records of agreement of the discussions that lead to the decisions and actions required. Discussion minutes are recommended in most cases. The minutes taker should include significant points made by the group and avoid recording personal comments. Discussion minutes are similar to the action minutes except that these include the discussions involved in making the decisions.
If you are running committee meetings, staff meetings or the likes, discussion minute is the best option. So the minutes will be in the form of paragraphs, neatly in sections and by order of discussions.
In this type of minute, it is very rare to see people addressed by their names as actions and discussions will be taken by a board and hence will be mentioned as board or committee in the minutes. The minutes will be taken by the secretary who will most likely not take part in the discussion and hence will be free to record the minutes accurately.
Irrespective of the type of minute, all minutes should be concise and accurate, and in order to accomplish this, the notes have to be written accurately in the right order and style. Make note writing as simple as possible by doing some advanced preparations as before the meeting as earlier stated.
Minutes should also help anyone who was not able to attend the meeting to understand clearly what took place at the meeting, without the need for another meeting for clarification on the same discussions.
In conclusion, a minute of meeting is a very important document. As a result of this, the role of a note taker shouldn’t just be assigned to anybody. This responsibility should be assigned to a person with a basic knowledge of minute writing.
However, while writing, the writers tone is very important, as this conveys a message that shows emotion towards the subject from the writer and this can have an effect on the reader. The appropriate tones used, depend on who the audience are and also depends on the information written.
Being that Minutes are professional documents which are not only viewed by internal people, but can be viewed by anyone outside of the organisation even if it was an internal meeting at times when legal matters are involved, it is very important to be mindful of the to w used. So it is important to write them down in a professional manner using a formal tone and language.
Also make sure that the document has short and clear sentences that stick to the point and use simple words that are easy to understand. Minutes should be written in the past tense as they are about a meeting or discussion that took place in the past. So always use a mix of active and passive voice sentences while writing down the minutes.
It is best to write the minutes as a third person. Use phrases like, the chair stated that, the committee decided that, it was decided, etc. In cases where points were put across by a specific person or where agreement was made by an individual, it is important to specify that person and what they said, as it will help for future references.
Spoken words in a meeting should not be written exactly in the minutes, but they have to be transformed into a different language that is acceptable for professional documents. If slangs were used by the members in the meeting, do not include them in the minutes, but replace them with appropriate words.
Similarly, when arguments or disagreements occur in meetings, do not write them down as arguments, instead use alternative phrases like various “opinions were expressed”, etc. This does not specify the person who was in disagreement, but tells the reader that there was a discussion because of disagreement.
The next point to note is to check for spelling, grammar and punctuation. Do not rely solely on spell and grammar check on your document editor if you’re going digital. It is best to manually read the minutes after you have drafted them and also get another person to read and feedback.
Lastly, the use of meeting software is becoming more popular. So, if you are struggling with how to write minutes, the use of meeting software like MeetingBooster simplifies this process, improving consistency, accountability and overall effectiveness.