Stellar meeting minutes are a sign of a professional and well-run company. Minutes are crucial to a firm and can act as a form of legal protection for enterprises. Auditors, the courts, and the taxman all take them as direct representations of the actions of a board or leadership. If it is not in the minutes, then it did not happen!
These notes also give structure, drive action, and act as an accountability tool for employees. It is not much of a stretch, however, to say that the last thing any staff wants to do at a meeting is to become the designated minute taker. Indeed, many secretaries, trained in the art of it, often struggle with minute-taking before they eventually get the hang of it.
The task of taking minutes is also weighed down by certain tenure, gender, and experience stereotypes. Corporations that do not have a secretary free for minute taking in meetings, often have to delegate the charge to an employee.
An organization that ignores the prevalent stigma attached to the minute-taking process could unknowingly assign the task to female-only employees. Besides gender stereotypes, minute taking is often viewed as a chore for the least skilled or the most junior employee in the meeting.
There are companies, however, that eliminate these unsavory associations with minute taking by forming a minute writing template for their forums.
Expert minute writing tips for the aspiring leader
Employers today prize accuracy in minute taking more than ever before. Business meetings that involve discussions directly affecting the careers of workers or involving millions of dollars’ worth of decisions require effective minute takers.
The tips below can help you master the art of minute writing while enjoying it, and boosting your value in the ranks of your organization. Master them and become the most coveted player in the team.
1. Pre-meeting preparation
Do you know that over 60% to 70% of your tasks as a minute writer should be accomplished before the meeting’s kick-off? All work done during prep stages sets the mood and the foundation of success in the meeting room.
The best minute writers spend hours in advance preparing for a meeting. They will approach the CEO or board chair and together set the meeting’s agenda and templates.
2. Choosing the right technology
Novel technology is drastically streamlining official notetaking, freeing up secretaries to pursue other responsibilities. Utilizing technology can help you capture data more accurately and faster than manual notetaking can. At the very least, most minute takers type in minutes onto their laptops, eliminating the need for shorthand notes.
You can also take advantage of video or audio recordings as your back up plan. The traditional notebook method can be satisfactory but highly insecure. Paper documents can easily vanish in between your home and the office.
Reinforce your loose-leaf and notebook minutes with advanced tools. Report all visual or audio tools utilized in meetings beforehand and seek permission. Additionally, you can take advantage of minute taking software that has features such as easy writing solutions and recording functionality.
These tools also have collaboration features and easily integrate with different devices.
An artificial intelligence-powered meeting assistant like AIRA is a one-man minute taking army. It dials into your meetings, takes notes, and classifies the minutes taken in the right format.
The minute writer should arrive earlier than everyone else on the D-day for setup and equipment function check. Have enough extension cords, batteries, and any other required accessories. Test the sound levels of equipment and ensure that the lighting is just right.
3. Review past minutes and set the agenda
A meeting agenda outlines the topics to be discussed. Additionally, it has the topic’s supporting documents, names of attendees, and recalls the deliberations made in the last meeting. For this reason, a good minute taker should perform a background study before the meeting. You should also study the characteristics of the past minutes made, the amount of detail involved, and the phraseology, to guide you on the best approach.
Without an agenda, the meeting can quickly lose its focus, incorporating discussions that waste time. Unfortunately, data shows that 63% of all meetings have been held in the absence of an agenda. It is not surprising, therefore, that 47% of all workers feel that meetings are the most time-wasting activity in the workplace.
The problem here is not the meetings, but that the meeting is ill-prepared and ran. By setting an agenda in collaboration with the chairperson, project manager, or CEO, everyone gets on the same page eliminating the cycle of pointless meetings.
4. Minute writing tips
While pre-planning will take care of a large bulk of your minute taking work, the task fulfilled during the meeting is the most critical. Some of the most important rules of minute taking revolve around the elimination of destructive elements.
Some best practices that you can hone include eliminating content that, if reviewed later, will not matter at all. The ability to summarize is also of utmost importance. Avoid word for word re-writing of dialogues, and ignore content such as emotions, or arguments that steer conversations away from the agenda.
Alternatively, use meeting templates to enhance focus and to speed up your minute writing tasks. There are varieties of minute templates out there, each designed to suit a different type of meeting. For informal meetings, use templates that work well for one on one meetings, brainstorming sessions, or team huddle meetings.
Formal meetings templates, on the other hand, are perfect for the board, AGMs, safety, issue resolution, or quarterly meetings. Meeting templates have assigned spaces for content such as:
- Time and date
- Action items
Samples of meeting minute templates that will speed up your minute writing process
Hendrix Informal Meeting Template 4
If you love to color-code your notes, then this template will work perfectly for that brainstorming session. It has a bit of a formal feel to it, thanks to its table-based design. Your meeting’s notes will look very organized. Its visual appeal, nevertheless, keeps the notes free and airy, which is perfect for the visual professional.
Evernote meeting minutes templates
List and note makers love Evernote. You can take all sorts of notes from this formidable application. Its templates library is rich in both meeting minutes and agenda templates. The software, therefore, has your back in both the pre-meeting and meeting stages of the process. You can access various meeting templates from Evernote Support.
Simply click view, log into Evernote and your template of choice will pop into your note. To get started, delete the template’s instructions. Evernote’s Meeting Agenda (Standard) template has both action and agenda spots organized in a simple, but clean table format.
This informal meeting template provides checkboxes for all items that have been deliberated to completion. You can use the Meeting Agenda template in small or medium-sized informal meetings such as weekly or team updates meetings. The beauty of Evernote templates is that they can be shared directly with all meeting attendees who have the app on their devices.
Google Docs meeting minutes templates
Google Docs is a fantastic and free alternative for Microsoft Word. Its zero-dollar price tag is not the only reason why businesses adore it. One good advantage of Google Docs is that all its files are Word compatible, though they may lack a few word processing features. Google Docs has meeting minute templates that you can access from your Google Docs account.
Log in, launch a new document, then use the ‘More’ arrow to access hidden tab options. Scroll to the Work tab and choose a meeting note template of choice. Your Google Doc template will be cloud-hosted keeping your notes secure.
The app’s Annual Board Meeting template is perfect for formal meetings though it has a casual look to it. It has multiple sections for action items, next meeting details, notes, attendees and agenda.
Adobe Spark meeting minute templates
Adobe Spark meeting templates are perfect for the creative industry’s informal meetings, whose notes need to be taken online. The free templates have a text summary and have spots for branded themes and elements.
You can also add video, hyperlinks, photos, and calls to action to these creative templates. The Spark Page meeting template is perfect for your kickball team or community service club meeting and can be sent to all attendees in seconds.
Access these templates from the Adobe Spark page then use the application’s intuitive user interface to customize them.
Office 365 meeting minutes templates
Microsoft Word has over the years been the go-to source of business templates. The platform has a variety of Meeting Minutes saved under its templates section. You can access different formal and informal minutes templates to suit any forum or conference.
You can alternatively access more templates from the Microsoft Office site. Download or edit the Meeting notes template on the site. This is perfect for formal meetings and has slots to jolt down the meeting’s date, attendees, announcements, discussions, and round table deliberations.
The benefits of an AI-powered meeting assistant
Jotting down notes during a meeting can be a strong leadership trait. Still, it is an undeniable inconvenience since your concentration will at one time or the other be drawn away from the meeting. Formal meetings do require the full attention of everyone on board.
Fortunately, AI-powered virtual assistants can eliminate the need to physically write down notes. These fantastic meeting administrators record conversations, allowing you to watch live transcriptions of the on-goings. With the AI-powered bot, you can edit the transcripts where necessary, flagging action items, important decisions, and notes.
AIRA is hands down the best virtual meeting assistant you will meet. The tool integrates perfectly with both Office 365 and GoogleMail. AIRA will alleviate the common issues associated with minute taking by automatically detecting the details of your meetings from your calendar and dialing herself in to take notes.
Your virtual meeting assistant is designed to identify the meeting’s action items, create summaries, and make a meeting’s keyword analysis. AIRA will not only save you from the difficult job of typing in notes but will also automatically send the finished meeting notes to all participants via email or WhatsApp.
Since she is cloud-based, you do not have to worry about backup copies or print outs as security. All the notes taken by AIRA are stored in a well-maintained cloud server. AIRA will also send you the analytics of your meetings for actionable insights and progress reporting.
We are now living in an age where virtual meetings are taking over from the traditional meeting format. Meetings are essential to businesses, and technology is evolving to accommodate them. The need for virtual meeting assistants is, therefore, bound to grow as more meetings take place in the cloud.
AI-powered minute takers will eliminate the need to have an extra hand in a meeting whose main purpose is to jot down proceedings. They will also unfetter the person in charge of writing minutes from notes taking, and allow them to pay more attention to their peers.