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How to Write Minutes

Updated on July 5, 2009

I am responsible for writing the minutes of our weekly teleconferences with our boss in the United States, as well as those with a certain service provider of our company. Actually, this job is the first one that requires me to do this task. I was quite apprehensive initially when my immediate supervisor said it would be part of my job to write the minutes from then on. Good thing she provided me with a template to work on.

Although not considered a specialized form of writing, writing good minutes requires certain skills that are honed over time after being exposed to it a bit. While I don’t claim to be expert at writing minutes, I could say that I have gained enough experience to be able to compose a good minute report as I have come to identify certain qualities that make up such a report.

There are four most important things to remember when writing minutes. These include the following:

1) Completeness

Your minutes must cover every pertinent discussion during the meeting. Although you need not record every word spoken, you need to capture all the relevant topics discussed, issues and questions raised, as well as resolutions or plans of actions which have been agreed upon and laid down.

2) Conciseness

While it is vital that you record everything that has been discussed during the meeting, it is also equally important to make your minutes as brief as possible. You must be able to capture all the important issues discussed in a brief, organized and comprehensive manner. This skill can be acquired after writing several minutes.

3) Accuracy

It is very important that your minutes reflect accurate information. Always make sure that what you put into your report is correct and valid. If you’re not sure as to the accuracy or validity of a certain issue, do not hesitate to ask those who. During my first few weeks with the company, there were terms and issues I simply had no idea about. So I sought clarification before writing the minutes. Remember that the minutes serve as a record of the meeting so that everyone involved – whether present or absent during the meeting – will have a good grasp of all the important issues that have been discussed.

4) The Structure of the Minutes

The form and structure of your minutes should also be considered carefully. I was fortunate enough to be provided with a template to work on when writing the minutes of our teleconferences. If you are allowed to make your own template, then you can be a little creative in formatting the structure of your minutes. In doing so, you need to bear in mind that minutes must be brief yet organized, comprehensive and accurate.

It would be best to use a columnar structure wherein you have separate columns for topics, issues raised, resolutions and plans of action, as well as for names of the person/s responsible for such actions.

Naturally, a good minute report must also reflect all the key elements such as the date and time, venue, attendees and facilitator, as well as the duration of the meeting. The schedule of the next meeting must also be recorded.

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    • profile image

      lydia 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for all this because am trying to write one and its difficult for me to report all that happen.

    • profile image

      huberal 

      6 years ago

      This is great advice -- is there a template that you can share? That would be really helpful as I am a newbie at minute-taking and trying to do the best job possible!

    • dianacharles profile image

      dianacharles 

      7 years ago from India

      Very nice tips there. This is one thing we teach kids in school.

    • Melody Lagrimas profile imageAUTHOR

      Melody Lagrimas 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you too, for dropping by, blaise25.

    • blaise25 profile image

      Fehl Dungo 

      8 years ago from close to you...

      nice info and tips ;p

      you presented it well like presenting minutes.. ;p

      thanks and more power!

    • Melody Lagrimas profile imageAUTHOR

      Melody Lagrimas 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Richard, thanks for your comment. You may want to use a recorder to record the meeting so your concentration will not be diverted to cathcing up and taking notes. But the use of a recorder must be agreed upon by everyone in the meeting.

    • Richard Ring profile image

      Richard Ring 

      9 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      This is a good guideline and I will try to keep it in mind. The problem I have with minutes is that I can't seem to focus on the discussion and capture what is being written. I get too caught up with the discussion and forget to write something down or if I'm focusing on writing I will not be able to keep up and usually I miss something.

      Do you have any advice on how to write quickly enough to capture all the discussion points in the meeting? If I write too messy I never look back at the minutes. (Unless I have to send an electronic copy afterwards).

    • Melody Lagrimas profile imageAUTHOR

      Melody Lagrimas 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      R Burow, thanks for that comment. However, this is not actually my original idea as it is only an answer to a HubPages question of which I decided to make a hub.

      Neil, thank you too. Will be checking out your hubs as well.

      Peggy, yes, it is. My present job is with a pharma company (clinical research).

      Franciaonline, yes, that's my experience exactly. hank you very much for dropping by.

    • franciaonline profile image

      franciaonline 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Melody,

      This hub you just shared will be a good reminder for people who suddenly find themselves writing minutes of meetings/ conferences/ causes.

      I have been writing minutes of board meetings myself and I can say that the points you shared here are very significant. People can use this hub as their reference.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Is this still related to your nursing job? If so, it must be interesting!

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 

      9 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Fantastic topic - well done --- thanks!

    • R Burow profile image

      R Burow 

      9 years ago from Florida, United States

      Melody, Your hubs are always so original. Who would have thought to write on the subject of 'minutes'. You have a gift for thinking 'outside the box'.Very nice.

    • Melody Lagrimas profile imageAUTHOR

      Melody Lagrimas 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Yes, you're right, Ethel. That is especially true if you're new on the job and are still getting the hang of it, so to speak.

      Kiran8, glad you could drop by. Thanks for your comment.

    • kiran8 profile image

      kiran8 

      9 years ago from Mangalore, India

      Helpful article , thanks a lot :)

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I had to write minutes in a previous job and found them tricky. It is hard picking out the relevant points. Good advice here.

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