An action minutes example is an official representation of the actions people commit to taking during a company's board of directors meeting or a government's leadership meeting. Generally speaking, a meeting's minutes summarize the key issues discussed.

Minutes will generally be in bullet point form and will note any decisions made or conclusions stated during the meeting. This document provides an official record of the organization's decision-making process. A meeting's minutes are commonly referred to months later to look at the factors that went into making a particular decision.

If a meeting's members take minutes, they need to be developed effectively. Because they are often the only official record of activity within a business or government department, they become very important documents. If the person capturing the minutes is doing so by hand, it can be helpful to do use a preprinted, lined form. This way that individual can write information in the appropriate places. If he or she is working on a computer, they can create a digital form to help keep the minutes organized.

When capturing minutes, make sure to get all the essential information without writing down every word and detail. This should include:

  • Every decision made.
  • Action items.
  • Assignments.

A template can help you stick to the outline and make sure all the important points are covered.

Different Types of Minutes

There are three forms of standard minutes:

  • Action minutes
  • Discussion minutes
  • Verbatim minutes

Action minutes are also called decision-only minutes. They include only the decisions made and none of the discussions that went into making them. In other words, they capture only the conclusion of discussions and the actions that need to be taken. Action minutes provide a broad overview of the decisions made in a meeting. They are often required at:

  • Board meetings
  • Hearing meetings
  • Council meetings

Discussion minutes, or anecdotal minutes, record the gist of the discussion that went into making the final decision on an issue. If you've taken verbatim minutes, it means you have written a word-for-word transcript of what was said in meetings and by whom.

Practical Minute-Taking Tips

Having to take minutes during a meeting might sound like a daunting task, but if you follow these simple guidelines, it can be a relatively smooth process:

  • Plan the agenda.
  • Create an outline for the minutes based on the agenda.
  • Make a note of each attendee's name as he or she arrives.
  • Also note who is not present.

It is important to edit your notes for clarity soon after the meeting, while the content is still fresh in your mind. Make your minutes effective by:

  • Using an objective tone in your writing.
  • Keeping the minutes brief, while making sure you note all the essential information, including motions and actions.
  • Providing a summary of any important comments, making sure to avoid inflammatory or personal remarks.
  • Remembering that the aim is to provide a professional record of the meeting.

Minutes should not simply repeat what was said at the previous meeting or be a long and complicated repetition of every word said.

Most organizations have a corporate or “meeting” secretary who is responsible for planning meeting logistics, drafting the minutes, and distributing meeting-related documents. Once the secretary has finished drafting the minutes, the meeting chair will usually need to sign off on them before they are distributed.

The minutes' header should always include the following information:

  • The date of the meeting.
  • Where the meeting was held.
  • Who was present and excused.
  • Who presided over the meeting.
  • Who was the recording secretary.

Lastly, if meetings are taking place across more than one location via video conference, each delegate's attendance is usually listed according to location.

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