How to take effective meeting minutes

2PM Services’ People and Culture / Sales Coordinator, Georgie Holmes, shares her insights on how to take effective meeting minutes.

We’ve all been there; meetings can jump from A to G and back to C in the blink of an eye!

So, when it comes to minute taking, what are some things you can do to make your life easier?

Our top tips:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the attendees. Ideally, your attendees will be included on the meeting agenda, however if this is not the case there’s another little trick you can try… but we’ll get to that!
  2. If there is an agenda, read it in advance. You may think it’s a given, but you’d be surprised how many people show up to meetings without having familiarised themselves with the agenda first (particularly important if there’s going to be a lot of jargon!)
  3. Ensure your tool of choice (laptop / tablet) is fully charged and bring back up. The last thing you need halfway through an important meeting is for your battery to go flat. Prepare for the worst, by making sure it’s fully charged and carrying a back-up, such as your tablet, your chargers and/or a good old-fashioned pen and paper!
  4. Record the meeting. Recording the meeting on your phone or through a dictaphone device (keep spare batteries!) will give you peace of mind and the ability to check any details you may have missed after the meeting closes. Try not to become too reliant on your recordings, most of the detail should be captured during the meeting, and always advise the meeting participants before you press ‘record’. If the meeting is virtual, you can record directly through Zoom and Teams.
  5. Type up the minutes as soon as possible. Typing up your minutes while the meeting is still fresh in your mind will lead to more accurate results!
  6. Adjust your approach to suit your audience. Some people will want War and Peace, while some will want the Reader’s Digest version… If possible, chat to the Chair or your supervisors about their expectations prior to the meeting. However, when in doubt, more is more! It’s far easier to cull and consolidate your notes than to try to recall particular parts of the conversation.
  7. If you know you’ve missed something important, speak up. This may feel a little awkward in the middle of a significant conversation, however, if something is unclear to you, it’s far more efficient to politely ask an attendee to clarify their point rather than troubling them later. This also relies on the attendee to accurately recall what they said, in addition to the risk that they give you a statement which differs from the original, which could later be queried by other meeting participants.

What if there’s no agenda and you have no idea who to expect?

What if there’s no template for the minutes?

It’s easy to transfer minutes into a polished template after the fact (Office365 has plenty)! In the meantime, pick a platform that works for you but also try to make your life easy. If (like 2PM Services) your workplace uses Teams, why not use OneNote? Or try something new, like Workflowy (it’s free!)

Got a few minutes?

Hone your skills by checking out this typing tutorial and speed test.

Did you enjoy this article? We’d love to hear from you, send us some feedback below!