Meeting minutes are the written or recorded documentation that is used to inform attendees and non-attendees of the happenings during the meeting. The meeting minutes are generally taken or recorded during a meeting so that participants have a record of what happened during the meeting.
Minutes usually include:
- the names of the participants,
- the agenda items covered,
- decisions made by the participants,
- the follow-up actions committed to by participants,
- due dates for the completion of commitments , and
- any other events or discussions worth documenting for future review or history.
Exemplary meeting minutes focus on decisions made during the meeting and commitments made by the participants. The commitments are accompanied by due dates and any other detail necessary for shared understanding by meeting participants.
Effective meeting minutes for the typical business meeting do not need to record every discussion. They also do not need to, and shouldn't, state who said what. (Recognize that this rule is different for other types of meetings in such situations as legal action, court hearings, and so forth. These minutes do require an exact record of the conversation and statements.) But, your typical workplace meeting does not.
Ideally, meeting minutes are disseminated to meeting paricipants within 24 hours of the meeting. The minutes serve as a reminder of the commitments made during the meeting. They help participants transfer their meeting commitments to their calendars and to do lists.
You'll want to review your prior meeting's minutes at the start of the next meeting so that people can check them for correctness and next steps.
Meeting minutes are an effective contributor to successful meetings when minutes are appropriately written and distributed in a timely manner.