How to Write More Effective Meeting Minutes

By Paroon Chadha February 25, 2021 May 11th, 2021 Blog Post

Opinions expressed in AGB blogs are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the institutions that employ them or of AGB.

As the meeting comes to a quiet pause for the business affairs committee—a conversation suddenly restarts on an earlier topic about the efficacy of online courses. Some people understand the critical need and offer full support, others question their value long term, and a third group wonders why this debate is even on the agenda since it was covered in the prior session.

For thousands of people tasked with accurately capturing meeting minutes, making sense of this highly relevant and timely discussion in a clear, concise manner becomes a key focal point of whether the meeting leads to effective next steps.

How detailed are your minutes? How do you reflect the decisions and next steps? Do you point out that the online course system was actually implemented a decade ago and do you mention the good or bad metrics therein?

When people first start taking minutes, they are often thrust into the situation with little formal training or support. A single person cannot be in all places at all times, so a level of quality and a consistent framework will be a stronger bridge from one conversation to another.

The first rule of meeting minutes is they must be accurate. The second rule is they ought to be concise. From there, there’s a lot you can do to make your minutes more effective while keeping your workload manageable.

So how can you write more effective meeting minutes?

Cover the First Rule Noted above: Effective Meeting Minutes are Concise and Accurate

They plainly relate what happened, why, how, and by whom. Without passion or prompt, they detail what was discussed, who made what motion, the reasons decisions were reached, and what action items will be completed in pursuit of those decisions.

Strike a Balance Between Brevity and Detail

Be selective. You don’t need paragraphs summarizing every person’s opportunity to speak. Effective minutes are the result of focused, active listening. Rather than typing furiously, listen carefully to the topics being discussed and document the significant points of the discussion.

Arrive with an Agenda Outline or a Minutes Template Ready to Go

You’ll want to arrive at your meeting with an outline of the agenda, with space below each point of discussion for your notes and observations. After recording attendance, follow the agenda outline and impartially record the main thrust of the deliberation. Be sure to document any decisions such as motions, seconds, informal agreements, and formal decisions.  There is no prescribed “right” style or structure—the minutes should reflect the needs, culture, and purpose of your meeting.

Use a Meeting Minutes Solution to Help Your Meeting Run More Smoothly

The most effective minutes are captured live, right in the same software used to make the meeting agenda. Board management software often contains this essential capability—one that makes taking minutes, tracking attendance, and recording decisions effortless and distraction free. This is built into our AGB OnBoard platform.

Use AGB OnBoard’s Free Meeting Minutes Template

Download our free Higher Education Meeting Minutes Template Here.

Higher Ed Meeting Minutes Template

Don’t Delay in Finalizing Your Minutes

Minutes are often something that we tend to put off for another day. But if you arrive with the main skeletal outline ready to go or, ideally, use our board management software to take minutes, you should be finished and ready to distribute your minutes shortly after your meeting adjourns. Not only does it help to build minutes when they’re fresh in your mind, it helps to send to attendees while it’s still fresh in theirs.

Helping Public Institutions Adhere to Open-Record Laws

Public institutions can even leverage their board management platform to instantly publish their meeting details online — creating a single URL to share with the public that contains a complete record of past and future meetings.

There’s a great deal of responsibility when taking minutes but it doesn’t need to be pushed off to another day. With a little practice, taking minutes will become second nature. Remember, you’re responsible for this first and final draft of history.

And there’s only one comprehensive meeting management solution designed for higher education. AGB OnBoard is a complete virtual meeting solution that comes with a comprehensive meeting minutes builder.

Try AGB OnBoard’s Meeting Minutes Builder on a Complimentary Basis — reach out to us here or give us a call at (765) 535-1882 and we’ll get you set up with a free trial of AGB OnBoard.

Paroon Chadha is the cofounder and chief executive officer of AGB OnBoard and its parent company, Passageways.


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