Taking meeting minutes is a common practice in many organizations. It's how the organization keeps track of what happened during the meeting and how decisions were made.
But what exactly should be written in meeting minutes can be confusing if you don't have an example.
In this article, we'll give you examples of meeting minutes so that you can see how to write meeting minutes for your own organization's meetings.
Meeting Minutes Examples In This Article:
Before we jump into the examples of meeting minutes, here are some of the best practices to look out for:
Keep the meeting minutes short and sweet. A full hour of discussion should result in around half a page or even less, depending on how much information you need to include.
Include who was present at the meeting as well as their role (if relevant).
Note decisions that were made. If something is decided upon, always state what decision was made so that future actions can be assigned and held accountable.
Keep track of votes. If there was a disagreement or debate, make sure to note how the final decision came about (i.e., who voted for which option).
Reiterate any action items that need to get done at the end of the meeting so people know what they're responsible.
As you can see, meeting minutes are pretty straightforward to write.
As long as you get all of the necessary information down in a clear and concise way it should be fine.
Here are some examples of how to write meeting minutes for your own meetings. At the bottom of each meeting minutes sample is a link to download the meeting minutes template for free as a Word Doc, Google Doc, or to use it in Fellow (free meeting management software).
The meeting started at 11:00 am and was attended by John Smith, Jane Doe, and Robert Brown. The meeting minutes were kept by James Taylor.
After an overview of how the project is going so far and what we hope to accomplish in the next week, we discussed how best to divide up our tasks for this upcoming week. For the first day, we decided to work on task A and B.
We also reached a consensus that we would finish up our discussion about how best to handle issue C at next week's meeting instead of trying to solve it now.
Taking meeting minutes without any agenda or formatting is not ideal, but it does have advantages over not taking meeting minutes at all. So if that’s the way you’ve done it until now, it’s a good start. You’ve been keeping notes that can serve, somewhat, as a record. And they can serve to jog someone’s memory.
The good news is it’s easy to take this style of meeting minutes to the next level, to give yourself more power, better reputation, and to help your team accomplish even more.
Taking it to the next level is easier than not
In fact, switching to a style of meeting minutes which depends on an agenda and some basic formatting is easier and less stressful than a no-agenda, no-formatting style.
The reason is that a bit of organization makes anything easier, and that includes especially a task such as taking meeting minutes.
Low-hanging fruit is in the opportunity costs
Before we look at an easy way to better organize meeting minutes, let’s take a clear look at the disadvantages of taking meeting minutes without any agenda or formatting. Sometimes if a method has seemed to work fine, and to satisfy stakeholders, it’s helpful to look directly at the disadvantages.
Looking at the opportunities you’re missing with a super simple approach to note taking can be highly motivating. You’ll find a lot of low-hanging fruit that can improve your standing and your team’s performance.
They look unprofessional. A plain text form of meeting minutes is very informal – and not necessarily in a good way, because a basic agenda and simple formatting is so easy these days, with so many free apps available, and so many excellent free templates available.
They’re hard to read. Formatting, fonts, design and templates exist for a very good business reason. They make information easier to read and absorb. When meeting minutes are left unformatted, they’re harder to read. Everything is one big mass of text, even if it’s broken up into short paragraphs and sentences.
They might be hard to access. Unformatted meeting minutes without an agenda are usually lacking in other best practices for meeting minutes. For example, easy cloud access. Can the right people access meeting minutes at any time, securely, from any device?
They might be too easy to access for the wrong people. Again, unformatted meeting minutes often get short shrift in access management, resulting in blunt-instrument access controls. Are they in simple Google Docs set to “Anyone with the Link Can Access”? It happens far too often. And it’s not professional or secure.
The notes are unfocused. The chain of causation is clear. Meetings without agendas are unfocused. That means the person trying to take notes doesn’t know what to focus on, and the conversation veers into multiple directions anyway. So the notes are going to be unfocused.
They’ll reflect the ongoing lack of focus in meetings. And they are a link in the chain – they are part of the cause of that lack of focus.
Which means they are also the cure to the lack of focus. Formatted meeting minutes, based on a professionally formatted agenda template, can introduce a high degree of order into a business meeting, and especially over a series of meetings. You can bring a significant amount of focus into regular meetings just by regularly creating a formatted agenda.
When taking notes without an agenda, you don’t know what to focus on
You or whoever is running the meeting can’t stick to time schedules (because there aren’t any)
It’s easier to format than to keep using unformatted meeting notes
The good news is that it’s so easy to take these first two “best practice” steps:
But how? Right?
The next section spells out exactly how you can get started. It’ll make your note taking better, your meetings more productive, and your standing rise.
To take the next step up, you need just one thing.
You need a professionally formatted agenda template. (You can take notes right inside your agenda template.)
Scroll down to see some examples of professionally formatted, free meeting agendas, which you can download and use right now.
While you’re moving up from a no-format agenda, you may as well choose an agenda template designed specifically for the kind of meeting you’ll be taking notes for.
Just scroll down to find the most commonly needed templates.
Not finding one that fits your needs? Try our 80+ collection of professional agenda meeting templates.
If you’re in a hurry, or have a minimalistic need, this Simple Meeting Minutes template is for you. It frontlines the Goal of the meeting, segues into the Agenda Items, and closes with a Next Steps section.
This meeting minutes template is perfect for true Simple Meetings because it focuses everyone on the Goal of the meeting, which is what simple meetings are for, after all. In a simple meeting, no one is concerned with Roberts’ Rules of Order, a quorum, recording votes according to accepted parliamentary procedure.
The Simple Meeting participants are there to quickly discuss a specific issue, solve a specific problem, answer a specific question, and reach a specific business goal.
That means this Simple Meeting Template is great for what it’s good for, but could be limited when it comes to other kinds of meetings.
When you see that your needs are better served by a more detailed design, keep scrolling to see other popular examples of meeting minutes, each with a free template – or use the search or filter functions at our directory of Free Meeting Agenda Templates.
This board meeting template includes all the basic components of a board meeting, so that the person or persons taking notes can have a clear focus.
It starts with a Call to Order, includes Attendance of voting members and others, Approval of the previous meeting minutes, Reports, Motions, Announcements, and Adjournment.
Prepare to take minutes for a board meeting
Board meetings are among the highest level of meetings at which you could be responsible for taking notes. It’s important to do your homework in order to prepare.
Because weekly (or even monthly) Executive Team Meetings relentlessly come around on the calendar, taking meeting minutes for them can quickly overwhelm a person who doesn’t yet have a good system in place..
A good system for an Executive Weekly Meeting includes built-in ways of:
Fellow offers an end-to-end easy system for managing all these functions.
But any such system starts with an agenda template professionally designed for an Executive Weekly Meeting. Check out the free, instantly-available template below. It doubles as the template for taking meeting minutes.
Sprints that reach goals require effective sprint planning, which requires effective sprint meetings. Done well, a sprint planning meeting not only kicks off a new sprint, but also provides:
A Sprint Planning Meeting Agenda will help to avoid unanticipated obstacles and make sure everyone knows who’s accountable for what and who is authorized to make decisions on any given issue that may arise.
The professional agenda / meeting minutes example for a sprint planning meeting below starts with the Goal, so that everyone knows what the purpose of the meeting is. Collaborate with other stakeholders to determine the Goal.
Then refine your Backlog as you create the agenda. The Backlog is a complete list of what the product requires and in what chronological order. Presenting the Backlog is part of mapping the progress in the project so far.
This template has you moving naturally then from where the project is to what Epic Deliverables are next.
From there the meeting will move to refining the Scope of the Work, to make sure everyone is on the same page about what “done” means in this sprint.
The Key Risks and Concerns section anticipates possible roadblocks that may arise, and how to deal with them, and who might help deal with them.
The Notes and Takeaways section, and the Actions section, confirm what has been decided, and who is responsible for owning any given part of the process.
Followup specifies exactly how task owners will be held accountable, and how stakeholders can help and be kept up to speed.
One-on-One Meetings can take many forms, from General One-on-Ones, to a Monthly Coaching Call, to Mentoring Meetings, One-on-One Manager Weekly Meetings, and many more.
(To see a full slate of professional One-on-One Meeting templates, select the the “One-on-One” filter at Hugo’s repository of 80+ Free, Professional Meeting Templates.)
But the one thing that One-on-One meetings require, and is often overlooked, is an agenda. The need for a One-on-One Meeting Agenda can be overlooked because a one-on-one meeting may seem simple, because it’s just between two people.
But the reality is, a meeting between two people, or among 2,000 people in an all-hands-on-deck meeting, requires direction.
A One-on-One meeting requires an agenda. And it requires meeting minutes, so that each participant can know the focus of the meeting, what was decided, and directions going forward.
The worst thing about meetings – any meetings, even one-on-one meetings – is their poor management. Poor management of a meeting wastes people’s time and saps their energy. And people naturally dislike that.
On the other hand, well-managed meetings multiply an individual’s accomplishments as part of a team, and thus are the opposite of wasting time. Individuals naturally thrive based on such meetings.
One-on-One meetings are no exception. When you attend a One-on-One Meeting, you have the more opportunity than in any other meeting to affect the outcome. It can be goal-oriented, directed, documented, and energizing.
All you need is the right, professionally designed template.
For General One-on-One Meetings, this agenda is useful. (For several more specific kinds of One-on-One meeting agenda templates, click the filter “One-on-One” at our repository of 80+ and growing meeting templates.)
These examples of meeting minutes all come from our free agenda template library—only they've been filled in with more information.
In fact, all of the meeting agenda templates in our library can be used for meeting minutes. After all, meeting minutes are essentially the agenda of a meeting, just filled in with summaries of what happened in that part of the meeting.
Find these templates and many more in our large gallery of templates, including executive meetings, board meetings, sales meetings, customer calls, team meetings, and staff meetings.
Templates for all sorts of meeting minutes: simple, basic, formal, and informal. (Download as Google Doc, Word Doc, or use in Hugo)
Comprehensive guide to taking meeting minutes. 5 free Word and Google Doc templates. Tips, tricks, and answers to all of your MoM questions.