How to Take Meeting Minutes: Templates & Examples

Keep track of all your meeting decisions and outcomes.

meeting minutes

Writing meeting minutes may seem like a trivial and unimportant task, something you would assign to an intern – or even wouldn't do at all. Meetings themselves are often seen as a waste of time and documenting them even more so.

Yet neglecting this task is a mistake that can be costly in terms of both time and resources. If you have a good reason to have a meeting, meeting minutes can be a highly effective tool to keep everyone on the same page.

Let's dive deeper into what meeting minutes actually are, how to write them, and look at a few meeting minutes templates and examples.

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What are meeting minutes?

Meeting minutes, also called meeting notes, are the written record of everything that happened during a meeting. They are not the same as the meeting agenda, which is prepared in advance and refers to the list of activities that participants are hoping to accomplish during their meeting.

They are not a minute-by-minute record and instead focus on the outcomes of the meeting. Minutes usually capture information such as:

Meeting minutes example in Nuclino

Meeting minutes example in Nuclino

Why are they called “minutes”, anyway? Contrary to the popular belief, notes taken at a meeting aren't called “minutes” because the note-taker records the notes along with the time. In fact, “meeting minutes” have nothing to do with time at all.

The word has actually originated from the Latin “minuta scriptura“, meaning “small notes“. Thus, taking meeting minutes essentially means condensing the meeting down to the most important points. According to some sources, it was first used in that sense in the early 18th century.

What is the purpose of meeting minutes?

In some unique instances, taking meeting minutes may be required by law, for example during disciplinary meetings with employees or legal disputes. However, in most cases, whether to take notes is entirely up to you.

Here's why taking meeting minutes is worth the effort.

How to take meeting minutes effectively

Keep the minutes easily accessible. In the past, minutes would be shared with the participants as an email attachment. Some companies still disseminate meeting notes the same way. However, this approach has many downsides. The meeting notes are hard to organize and can easily get lost in your inbox. Getting input from participants and revising the record requires multiple email loops. There is no easy way to follow up on assigned tasks.

Today, most companies have better tools at their disposal. Internal wiki tools, such as Nuclino allow companies to organize and collaborate on their minutes much more efficiently:

Meeting minutes example agenda

Prepare the meeting agenda in advance. Often neglected, a meeting agenda is one of the best ways to ensure you stay focused and prevent unproductive meetings. It sets the pace of the meeting and acts as a time management tool. It will also serve you as an outline when you write the minutes.

Record attendance. Include a list of participants, both present and absent, and share the minutes with them after the meeting. If you are using a tool like Nuclino, you can simply @-mention the attendees, sending them an in-app notification and sharing the document with them.

Follow a clear structure. Using your meeting agenda as an outline, separate your notes into clear categories, for example, discussion items, decisions made, and tasks and next steps. Create a meeting minutes template and follow it consistently.

Meeting minutes comments in Nuclino

Ask the participants to review. Make sure that your minutes are complete and accurate by asking other participants to go over them. In Nuclino, they can easily share their input by leaving a comment.

Share with all relevant stakeholders. After the meeting, share the minutes with anyone who might find them relevant (even if they didn't participate). Make sure that everyone who has been assigned a task is aware of their next steps and the deadlines by which they need to complete them.

Meeting minutes templates & examples

Depending on the meeting, the minutes may look very different. They can be very long and formal, or very short and simple. Here are a few meeting minutes templates and examples for different occasions.

Executive meeting minutes

Executive meetings typically focus on strategy planning and KPI reviews, and their minutes tend to be longer and more formal. Here's an example:

Executive meeting minutes template

Executive meeting minutes template in Nuclino

Weekly status update

It's important to note that, as more and more companies embrace remote work, many meetings are now conducted asynchronously. It's becoming especially common for status update meetings where the aim is to share information rather than to have a roundtable-style discussion.

In this case, having minutes becomes even more critical, in essence replacing the actual physical meeting. Weekly status updates and sprint retrospective meetings are common examples.

Retrospective meeting minutes template

Retrospective meeting minutes template in Nuclino

At the end of the day, it's up to you to find the format that works best for you and your team. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to meeting minutes, but we hope that you use these examples as inspiration for your own notes.

Sign up for a free Nuclino account, and keep all your meeting minutes easily accessible and organized in one place.

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