Have you been asked to take meeting minutes? But, you are not sure about – how to write meeting minutes? What details should be captured during writing minutes of the meeting? What structure to be followed? Whom to send? You might have many more similar questions but don’t worry, this article will answer all your queries.
Before we start, let’s get our basics clear first;
- What are the meeting minutes?
- The purpose of meeting minutes
- How to write meeting minutes?
- Sample Meeting Minutes for your reference
- DOs and DON’Ts for writing meeting minutes
- Pro Tips for Writing the Meeting Minutes
What are the meeting minutes?
In simple words, the MOM (i.e. Minutes of Meeting) or Meeting Minutes is the written record of everything that’s happened during a meeting. These meetings could be in-person or over a conference call or via any other virtual methods. Whether you are having one-to-one meetings or large participants, it is very important to capture the meeting minutes.
Being a business analyst, you will be organizing many meetings and accountable for keeping track of those meetings. It is a part of the documentation processes. Therefore, it is vital for a business analyst to meeting minutes’ structure, dos, and don’ts and important tips to efficiently note the meeting minutes. However, it is not limited to business analysts but every professional who is organizing the meeting should know these things in advance.
The purpose of meeting minutes
1. Inform/Update the absent attendees
There are often situations where you will have several people absent from your meeting. It could be due to calendar conflict, vacation, or absence due to any reason. We cannot let them unaware of the meeting outcome. Therefore, meeting minutes helps to update the meeting outcome to people who couldn’t join the meeting. In this way, they will have the option to share their view on the agenda that could be very helpful.
It is very helpful to keep the people align on the topic especially if they are from different departments or located different geographically.
2. Keep track of the communication
Keeping track of the communication as important as the documentation in any project. Meeting minutes helps in keeping track of;
- What was decided during the meeting?
- What was the conclusion?
- When it was conducted?
- Who took the decision on which activity? any many more.
This will help you when you want to go back and refer to it. It is also helpful when there is any kind of conflict that arises at any point in time. In a nutshell, it protects you in critical situations.
3. To Drive Action
Why do we schedule a meeting? To speed up the work or to remove any bottleneck right?
The beauty of the meeting minutes is that; it involves everyone whether they attend the meeting or not. Since we write key issues to resolve and ownership of the individual tasks are being assigned, it helps in keep the same pace and finish the topic. At the end of the meeting, you will have an accountable person for each task with a deadline (in many cases)
There is no meaning of having meetings if nobody is keeping track of it and follow up on the pending issues.
How to write meeting minutes?
Every organization uses a different approach to note down the meeting minutes. Some organizations have a standard template in word or excel whereas some manage MOM in email only. It doesn’t matter which format you are using to capture the minutes of the meeting but the content and purpose of the meeting minutes are remain the same.
So, what does it include? Let’s find it out.
Always start with a greeting and thanking them for attending the meeting.
- Date, Time, and location of the meeting.
- Name of the attendees and absent participants
- Title/ Purpose of the meeting
- Meeting Agenda
- Meeting outcome (decision made on each agenda item.)
- Actionable items with the accountable person and deadline
- Follow up meeting date and time.
- Documents to be included in the meeting minutes
In the end, thank them again and ask if you missed any point or if someone has any further questions for you.
If you follow these steps while drafting your meeting minutes, you will have an awesome meeting minutes ready to be sent.
Sample Meeting Minutes for your reference
A MOM should be written as following;
Date: 10/02/2020 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM | Oasis Meeting Room
Attendees: <List of Attendees>
Absent: <List of people who couldn’t join the meeting>
Meeting Subject: <Title of the meeting> (e.g. Integration between Claims and Policy)
Agenda: <List down all the topics that need to discuss during the meeting and require a decision from the participants.> use bullet points with numbers.
Outcome: <mention the outcome of the meeting, what was the decision on each agenda item. Is there any point to cancel? any activity to be performed? etc.>
Actionable Items: Use the table structure to list down the key activities, accountable, and deadline. It should be like below;
|Get the API ready for the claims||Mr. John Smith||16/02/2020|
If you need any confirmation from any of the attendees, you can highlight in bold in this section on the MOM.
Follow up meeting on: <Follow up meeting Date and Time> Location can be marked as To Be Decided (that you will share while scheduling the follow-up meeting.
Attached Documents: <Mention the attached documents if any>
Your email should start with a pleasant greeting and finish smartly with a call to action line. i.e
Start – “Dear All, Thank you for attending this constructive meeting and sharing your valuable inputs and feedback”
End – “Let me know if I missed any point in this email.” or “Let me know if you need any clarification from my side on any discussed point”
I hope you get the idea what I am trying to explain here.
Do you need to send the same level of detail in MOM after every meeting?
Well, it depends on the organization to organization. I don’t prefer sending the same format after every meeting. If you are having a quick meeting on some “not so serious” topic with other teams then you can simply write the discussed item, outcome, next plan, and actionable details in the email and share.
However, if you are having meetings with department heads, senior managers, directors, etc. then you should follow the standard practice while sending the MOM.
DOs and DON’Ts for writing meeting minutes
- Always include the date, time and location of the meeting
- Mention all attendees and absent participants
- Highlight agreed feedback on each Agenda items
- Mentioned what is discussed without adding your opinion
- Mention, what was discussed? and what was decided during the meeting?
- Send out the meeting minutes as soon as possible once the meeting is over
- Always proofread your meeting minutes before clicking send button
- Get is reviewed with your manager and if required, manage the approval on MOM content before sending the same.
- Include personal comments or judgments
- Be shy about asking clarification on points which are not clear for you
- Include each and everything discussed during the meeting that is out of the topic and make the MOM a transcript of the conversation happened.
- Record conversation as it might be uncomfortable to many participants
- Delay in sending meeting minutes
- Forget to include attachments that were referred and discussed during the meeting
Pro Tips for Writing the Meeting Minutes
Now, you know the meeting minutes structure and what to be included in it. You are also familiar with the DOs and DON’Ts for writing efficient minutes of meeting however, you will find the following tips very handy.
- Write while you are discussing the subject directly on the laptop/computer.
- Write and finalize MOM as soon as the meeting is over
- Send the meeting minutes at your earliest – most probably on the same day.
- Stick to your agenda and make sure to discuss every agenda points and get the final decision or action to be done.
- Following your company’s standard MOM template to format the minutes of the meeting.
- Keep an eye on attendees and carefully write their names in MOM content i.e. present as well as absent.
- Don’t hesitate to ask if something is not clear to you
- Use bullet points or tabular format for structuring meeting minutes because it is easy to understand and follow.
- Highlight if you are looking for any sort of confirmation from any of the attendees on any topic.
- List down actionable items one by one followed by the owner of that activity and deadline by which that to be achieved.
- No need to write the whole discussion but write the key decisions on any topic right away.
- Always carry a notepad and a pen if you don’t have access to a laptop or computer in the meeting.
- If possible, try to write the discussed and final conclusion in from of the audience so that, they could correct right away if you misunderstood anything. This is often done during virtual meetings and I prefer doing it.
- Go through the meeting agenda before joining the meeting
- If you need any confirmation on any point from anyone, ask for the same during the meeting itself. It will speed up the whole process.
- Send the apology email if you cannot send the MOM email right after the meeting or on the same day.
These were the top pro tips that I wanted to share with you. I am sure you are already doing many of these things while drafting and sharing meeting minutes.
- 10 Interesting Ways To Say No To Stakeholders – Business Analyst Guide
- Effectively Answering “Tell Me Something About Yourself”
- Writing An Irresistible LinkedIn Professional Summary And Headline For Business Analysts
Meeting minutes are very important because it describes the discussed items and the decisions made during the meeting. It is very helpful for someone who missed to join the meeting but still know what was concluded in the meeting.
Writing a good quality meeting minutes shouldn’t be difficult as long as you know what to include in the email and how to capture the bullet points during the meeting.
Now, you know about the meeting minutes, its importance, DOs and DON’Ts for writing MOM and some pro tips that are must to know.
You should be able to draft meeting minutes now without any issue. I hope you enjoyed reading this article and it helped you in drafting your MOM email. Please share if you liked it and subscribe to the BABeginners mailing list to get the latest post directly to your inbox.