5 Tips on writing clear and concise meeting minutes

Do you find yourself struggling to keep up with meeting minutes? Are they often cluttered and filled with confusing jargon? If you’re like most business professionals, you know that writing clear and concise meeting minutes is essential for effective communication. Minutes are a summary of what was discussed and decided during a meeting, so they need to be accurate and easy to follow.

In today’s business world, it’s essential to be able to communicate effectively and succinctly. And that’s especially true when it comes to meeting minutes. In this post, we’ll walk you through five frequently asked questions about writing clear and concise minutes. You will learn how to take meeting minutes using industry best practices. 

What tense should meeting minutes be written in?

One of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to minute-taking is ‘what tense should the minutes be written in?’. The answer is simple, minutes are always written in the past tense. 

This is because you are writing about something that has actually happened in the past (the meeting). The past tense rule is only broken when there are resolutions from governing bodies. These resolutions are written in the present tense because they refer to future events.

Minutes should be kept concise and specific throughout as they will be passed from meeting to meeting. They should all be written in a consistent format, writing style and tone. If possible, it is preferable that they are written by the same person each time. Minutes should be written in neutral, plain third-party language, and whenever possible, write in the active voice.

What is a memorandum or minutes of the meeting?

A memorandum (memo),  is a written message that is typically found and used in a professional setting. These messages are usually brief and are designed to be easily and quickly understood. During a meeting, a memorandum is used to keep a record of what was held at the meeting. Memos are a formal compilation of notes about who was present and absent at the meeting, what the agenda was and what was finally discussed and agreed upon. 

Additionally to memos, there is a record held of the minutes spent during each task and discussion. Minutes are incredibly useful documents when it comes to referring back to see what actions were taken. The actions of a meeting are always recorded chronologically, thus making the minutes of a meeting a detailed journal of what took place. 

What are apologies in the minutes of a meeting?

Apologies are usually found at the start of the minutes document. Apologies are from participants who were unable to attend the meeting. It is always good practice to start with apologies so you are able to recognise who isn’t in the meeting. This also gives the opportunity to introduce their deputy if they have sent someone to attend in their place. 

Why must minutes be distributed promptly after a meeting?

Promptly distributing the minutes after a meeting allows ample time for the document to be reviewed before the following meeting. Ideally, aim to distribute your minutes out within 3-5 days of the meeting taking place. Thus improving the whole process and making it more efficient for the business. 

Meeting minutes are reminders for the next meeting. The team can go over the previous meeting minutes to remind every participant of what happened. They can also introduce what topics they discussed, and the decisions they made.

Why is it important to take accurate minutes of a meeting?

It is important for accurate minutes to be taken during a meeting as they help to prevent disagreements and misunderstandings. Written minutes provide attendees with a record of what occurred at the meeting, which they can refer to if questions arise later. This is especially important in businesses or organisations, where accurate minutes can help to avoid legal disputes. 

Administrative assistants play a vital role in taking accurate minutes, and it is important that they provide clear information that attendees can easily understand. When taking minutes, it is often helpful to use abbreviations or acronyms to save time. 

However, it is important to make sure that these are explained in the minutes so that everyone knows what they mean. Taking accurate minutes is a skilled task that requires attention to detail and the ability to summarise complex information quickly. However, it is an important task that can help to prevent misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

An easier way to manage your meeting minutes. 

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a simpler solution for managing your business minute-taking tasks, you can use our effective minute taking solutions. Perhaps you don’t have the time to train minute takers. Or don’t wish to distract any of your meeting participants. But you’d like to ensure you keep an easy to read record of the meeting.

Our linguists are able to keep effective meeting minutes. This will ensure everything is covered correctly, and you don’t need to worry about missing any important detail. If you’re looking to save time, and not have to worry about managing your important notes, contact one of our project managers today

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