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3 Things to Remember When Writing Meeting Minutes

Write useful minutes with just a little preparation and focus. Follow these tips to organize and prioritize what people said so that you can turn in a concise and clear account of every meeting.

Have an Agenda

A prepared outline helps everyone stay focused and on point. Review the agenda ahead of time so that you can tailor your notes to the meeting’s main purpose. If you aren’t in charge of making the agenda yourself, be sure that you receive a copy in advance. Check the agenda for a list of those attending so that you can record attendance quickly, making writing meeting minutes much less stressful.

Write Concise Notes

Don’t bother writing down every word spoken. Lengthy minutes take longer to review. Unless you possess the skills of a courtroom stenographer, you are likely to fall behind and miss important points. Instead, focus on the meeting’s resolutions, action plans and assigned roles for individuals. Narrowing the scope helps you accurately record the big picture and key details.

Your company should select a template for writing meeting minutes so notes are consistent and easy to organize, even if the note taker changes. The template should include fields such as the attendance, the date and the time.

Make a Recording

The most useful minutes don’t transcribe every word spoken, but they do make judicious use of small details, such as exact deadlines and the names of clients. Make a recording so that you can verify or add details after the meeting. If you don’t know everyone in the room, it helps to jot down visual notes of the seating arrangement and the order people speak in so that you can later identify who you hear on the recording.

Type up your notes while the meeting is fresh in your memory, and attendees can clarify what they said. While transcribing, feel free to alter the chronological order of the minutes if the conversation wandered away from the agenda, especially if it improves the flow of ideas and makes the minutes easier to follow.

Meeting minutes are meant to be easily referenced, so focus on organized and concise notes. If your company needs a full-length transcription instead, consider recording the meeting and hiring an online transcription service or freelancer. For more information on how transcription services can streamline your company’s records, go to or follow @TranscribeCom on Twitter.