Business meetings are a time and place for businessmen to make important decisions, hold serious discussions and brainstorm solutions to problems. As such, it is important to take minutes, or notes, of what is done during a meeting so that the information is documented. Many companies design meeting minutes templates that allow minutes-takers to easily input the information into a standardised form that automatically organises the information. The easiest way to take minutes on a template during a meeting is to bring a laptop into the meeting and have the electronic template ready to go.
Review the template. Familiarise yourself with the template's skeleton, meaning the parts of the template that tell you where certain information goes. As the minutes-taker, you will have to input the information quickly, so it is wise to know which data goes where so you can keep up with the business discussion.
Open the template on your laptop and get it ready for the meeting. Under the template section for the meeting's title, type in the name of the meeting. The template will also prompt you to include the date of the meeting, and to write in the names of people who are attending. You might also want to include a list of members who are absent, so that you remember to give them a copy of the meeting minutes after they are finalised.
Obtain a copy of the meeting agenda. You can fill in agenda items onto the minutes template to get a head start. The agenda outlines all of the key points that will be discussed during the meeting. In the minutes template, make a new section for each agenda item that is listed. For instance, if the agenda contains key points such as "Office Safety" and "Computer Security," create separate sections on the template for each issue.
Record the actions that are performed during the meeting. For instance, if the safety manager passes out a report on safety incidents, you will document in the template that members received and reviewed a safety incident report. The template will have a category for you to input the responsible party, so for this example you would write in that the responsible party was the safety manager.
Write down business decisions that are made and who agreed or disagreed with them. You want to have a clear record of how decisions were reached for liability purposes.
Stick to the facts. Only document information and action as it occurred, and leave out flowery, narrative language. You can use bullet points inside of your minutes templates to keep things clear and concise.
Use the follow-up section of the template to record who needs to do what. Always include the date by which a person is required to complete a follow-up task.
Add on to the minutes template if you need more room. If you are taking minutes freehand with paper and a writing instrument, be prepared with multiple copies of the minutes template so that you can move from one page to the next as you take down notes.
Do not mistake the minutes template as a transcript template. You do not need to record every comment that a person at the meeting makes.