What makes good meeting minutes?

Taking good meeting minutes contributes greatly in making a meeting effective. It is an important source of information about what transpired during the meeting, especially for those who were not able to attend. Aside from the fact that for many associations, they are legally required to keep minutes of the management committee or board, there are three basic reasons why keeping meeting minutes is important:

  • Memories are unreliable and therefore, written records that includes action items and decisions made are useful references.
  • They drive action. Meeting minutes can be used as reminders for tasks and action items that needs to be accomplished.
  • They serve as metrics. Meeting minutes records goals, strategies and deadlines for such, which makes it a good tool when measuring progress.

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What are good meeting minutes?

The following are characteristics of good meeting minutes:

1. Records attendance

Good meeting minutes indicates those who were invited before the meeting and those who actually attended.

2. Decisions, actions and owners

It is important to take note of the decisions and action items that were agreed upon during the meeting including their assignees. It is helpful to use a table for this part of the report.

3. Report and relevant files

If there were reports and other files presented during the meeting ensure that copies of these are included in the minutes.

4. Use a structured format

The structure that you use in writing the minutes of the meeting is as important as the information written in it. It is better to start your report with logistical facts that includes the meeting time, date, venue and attendees. Then use the agenda as the outline of your report. State the action items, files and assignees under each agenda item.

5. Distribute the minutes

Ideally, minutes should be sent within 24 hours after the meeting.

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