Meeting minutes – unpopular? This document, considered tedious, is nevertheless a key governance tools which considerably improves the effectiveness of structured meeting minutes. Some tips to writing meeting minutes that will be read.
Let’s get straight to the point
Meeting minutes are neither an exercise in style nor the word-for-word description of what happened during the assembly or meeting. Like a journalist, you stick to the facts and create a summary of the statements from your note-taking. Just report on what has been proposed, decided or accomplished, as well as who is responsible for future actions.
To be relevant, your minutes must avoid:
- frills. Avoid adverbs and adjectives: your tone must be neutral and your document objective.
- quotations, or the detailed report of exchanges between the participants. Summarize the essence of the discussion and the arguments made.
Aim for consistency and clarity
To make reading of your minutes more fluid, structure them using a template, which ensures you don’t omit anything and saves time. Don’t forget the chronology of events, which must be scrupulously respected. Also, consider caring for your formatting, to draw attention to important points, by using bold fonts, text boxes or indents. As for your editorial style, even if it has to be neutral, refrain from monotonous or repetitive writing that will quickly tire your readers. Make yourself a bank of verbs that lend themselves well to the circumstances and from which you can draw to refine your document (e.g., declare, express, decide, illustrate, etc.). Finally, don’t use abbreviations: they can be misunderstood and be lost over time.
Be prepared and responsive
Your structured meeting minutes will be much more interesting if you understand your subject. Give yourself time to review all the documentation before the meeting. By adequately identifying the issues, your note-taking will be effective, your effort to summarize simplified and your writing faithful to the subject! And to retain this acuity, try if possible to write your meeting minutes right after the meeting. With everything still fresh in your mind, your content will be easier to transcribe and organize, and your readers more able to identify any errors. Keep in mind, however, that any major correction can only be validated with the approval of the minutes at the next meeting.