The Art of Writing Minutes

Writing Up Clear Minutes

  1. Start immediately after the meeting to understand and remember what you wrote
  2. What you wrote should translate directly into complete minutes
  3. Summary items should stand out from the rest of the minutes
  4. Even if you have little time, at least write up the summary

What Do The Minutes Contain?

  1. Time, date and place of meeting
  2. List of people who attended the meeting
  3. List of people who gave their regrets
  4. List of people who were absent and did not give their regrets
  5. Approval of the previous meeting's minutes, and any matters arising from those minutes
  6. For each item in the agenda, a record of the principal points discussed and decisions taken
  7. Time, date and place of the next meeting
  8. Name of person taking the minutes


  • Distribute the agenda before the meeting so that members have a chance to prepare for the meeting.
  • Prepare an outline (for the minutes) based on the agenda ahead of time and leave plenty of white space for notes.
  • To be sure about who said what, make a map of the seating arrangement, and make sure to ask for introductions of unfamiliar people.
  • Include an item "Other Business" at the end of the agenda as a place to include last minute items.
  • Keep the minutes short and to the point.
  • Where a member of the group is asked to perform a task, record an "Action" point; this makes it easy to read through the minutes at the next meeting and "tick off" the action points.
  • Write the minutes as the meeting happens or immediately after the meeting.

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