How to Take Meeting Minutes Effectively

Do you struggle to take effective meeting minutes for your company, organization, or club? If yes, this article will provide valuable insights into taking effective meeting notes. Practical tips and information on taking effective notes will help improve your meetings and ensure they run smoothly.

how to take meeting minutes

Effective minutes are essential because these records allow stakeholders to review their actions and decisions. Furthermore, effective minutes record meeting attendees, topics discussed, conclusions, the outcome of votes, and any action plans decided.

This article discusses how to arrange and effectively take meeting minutes. In addition, finalizing meeting notes and transcribing them is also covered. 

Meeting Minutes Defined

Meeting minutes describe the topics discussed, including any outcomes and next steps. It includes a list of meeting participants, what was said, action items addressed, and decisions made. Its purpose is to keep track of critical issues. Omitting unnecessary details so those reviewing the meeting minutes can digest the vital details of the meeting and none of the insignificant things that occurred. 

Those interested in reviewing the minutes usually include stakeholders, shareholders, employees, and journalists.

In some circumstances, state laws, government regulations, and bylaws mandate particular government entities, businesses, and organizations to maintain meeting minutes for future reference and to publish them online for public consumption.

Using a meeting minutes template helps create consistency, especially for formal meetings

Meeting minutes may be formal or informal, creating an official record for internal and external investors to access. Some factors impacting the recording of minutes include the number of attendees, meeting location, and the time and date.

taking meeting minutes

The Importance of Transcribing Meeting Minutes

Audio and video recordings are one method to preserve and capture everything from a meeting agenda. However, when you need to share them with others, including shareholders, journalists, and other stakeholders, you’ll want to provide an easy-to-read written transcript.

All states allow companies to structure themselves under corporate umbrellas. C and S corporations are the most widely used.

While there are several advantages to forming C and S corporations, there are also several requirements. One legal requirement involves keeping a detailed record of all board meetings.

Most states require S corporation meeting minutes to contain the following:

  • Date, time, and place of meeting
  • A record of all attendees, along with notable absences
  • Agenda items and details of matters discussed, including the results of any votes taken
  • Meeting notes detailing any previous meeting minutes, and subsequent action items

For example, officers, directors, and shareholders comprise S corporations. By law, those parties and others may request copies of minutes taken at any meeting. While no federal laws regulate meeting minutes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can request a copy of any board meeting, especially during an audit.

Failure to record and keep corporate, non-profit, and government meeting minutes may result in serious legal consequences.

Many states also require non-profit organizations to maintain a record of all board meetings. Businesses of all sizes often need to record meeting minutes and notes from sales, marketing, or finance meetings for future reference. As you can imagine, recording and transcribing meetings remains vital to practically every organization, whether it’s a for-profit business, non-profit, academic, or government entity.

Creating Agenda Items

The meeting agenda should include all relevant information about what each person needs to know before attending and what they could need to address themselves during the meeting. The agenda consists of who will be present at the meeting, where the meeting will take place, when the meeting starts, and when even when some participants may need to leave.

A practical meeting agenda includes these components:

1) The date, time, and location.

2) List of Attendees.

3) The purpose.

4) Agenda items for each person attending. If you have a lot of things going on at once, try to break down the list into smaller sections that are easier to handle during meetings. This way, the leader makes everyone aware of the agenda order and their role in any significant decisions.

5) Motions and the outcome of any votes, including how participants voted and approved meeting minutes.

6) Discuss previous meeting minutes, strategic decisions, and details, including critical decisions. 

7) Details of future meetings and the availability and instructions of how to obtain the archived meeting minutes.

Effective Meeting Tips

When creating meeting minutes, remember that you are constructing an executive summary of what occurred at a meeting. Providing an attendance sheet helps track the names of attendees. An attendee list is critical for all meetings, including team huddles, general company gatherings, and committee meet-ups.

Begin with a clear statement about the following:

  • List of attendees
  • Attendee roles
  • Summarize each discussion point
  • Include any action items identified during the meeting. You will also want to provide additional information, such as dates or times where applicable, so that people who were not present can still follow along.

Consistency in taking meeting minutes makes reading them much more straightforward. Using the same format or template means more helpful meeting minutes and practical notes.

Recording Meeting Minutes Via Video and Audio Recordings

There are multiple ways to record meeting minutes. In previous decades, secretaries would take notes by hand. Today, reliable audio and video equipment and software are accessible and affordable. The trick is using the proper equipment to get the highest quality audio file.

Scheduling the meeting in a quiet, low-noise environment is preferable. There are often multiple attendees who often speak over one another, intentionally or unintentionally. An environment with good acoustics helps transcribers accurately capture each spoken word.

There are two methods of capturing meeting transcriptions; verbatim and non-verbatim. Verbatim transcription occurs when a transcriber records every word and sound. Not every meeting may require verbatim transcription. Those containing sensitive financial, legal, and personnel issues merit comprehensive transcription.

Creating High-Quality Files for Audio Transcriptions

For accurate transcriptions, meeting participants should have easy access to one or multiple high-quality microphones. Depending on the number of meeting attendees, retaining an audiovisual professional or company to capture audio through audio equipment or a video file produces the highest quality recordings.

Several recording devices and software programs can capture audio or video content. Even applications available on mobile phones can adequately record small meet-ups.

Online video websites, including Zoom, are popular methods for recording virtual meetings. It’s possible to record both audio and video through services like Zoom. However, Zoom (and others) don’t allow each participant to record audio on individual tracks, which may make transcribing Zoom files more challenging.

Zoom does offer a transcription feature. However, it’s only available in English and usually requires additional editing.

Transferring Meeting Minutes Files to a Transcription Service

After recording meeting minutes via an audio or video file format, transferring them is simple. Any reputable transcription service provides a secure, online transfer method.

Before transferring your meeting minutes file, contact a company management team member to discuss specifics. Several factors determine the cost of transcribing meeting minutes. For example, do you require verbatim transcription, how many speakers must be transcribed, the length of the file, and what turnaround times are some examples? Confirming these and other details is vital before transferring your file.

Transcribing Meeting Minutes

Manually capturing every word and who said what during a board meeting can be daunting. Fortunately, a transcription service such as Ditto Transcripts can make the job easier.

There are several advantages to having your minutes transcribed by a human transcriptionist familiar with your business or subject matter. 

Professionally transcribed meetings provide stakeholders with an easy-to-read, verbatim document featuring all speakers, a discussion of each agenda item, and the outcome of any decisions or votes. Informal meetings may only require non-verbatim transcription when capturing every word from each speaker isn’t necessary. 

There are several affordable methods that you can use to record your audio and or video of all the proceedings. Once your recorded file is ready, you can upload various file formats to our secure area.

To ensure the proper handling of your transcription, we suggest contacting us by phone or email. Communicate directly with a member of our management team so you make sure they understand your specific transcription requests, such as:

  • Turnaround Time
  • Relevant Details
  • And Formatting

Can I Use Artificial Intelligence to Transcribe The Minutes?

The use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) to transcribe audio and video files has increased over the past several years. Some AI software adequately transcribes clean audio files with few speakers in a quiet environment.

However, when meetings contain large crowds with multiple speakers or when they use industry-specific, complex acronyms, AI programs aren’t effective. Below is an example: 

“The EBITA associated with this subsidiary doesn’t match our tender offer for previous acquisitions, thus preventing our new DDOS software division from possibly being acquired by an ISP company. Besides, this particular division’s LAN doesn’t meet our IT specifications.”

Practically every AI program or non-U.S.-based transcriber would bungle the above sentence if spoken in a board meeting of a U.S. company.

Obtaining the best meeting minute transcriptions involve retaining a professional-quality, verbatim document transcribed by a U.S.-based human transcriber.

Will Sensitive Meeting Minute Files Remain Secure?

Yes. Ditto takes transcription security seriously and implements many features to ensure that meeting minutes’ files are safe and secure before, during, and after the transcription process. Our transcriptionists undergo a criminal background check before working on any client project. Ditto is also HIPAA and CJIS certified with years of experience transcribing sensitive medical, legal, law enforcement, business, and research projects.

Finalizing and Distributing Meeting Minutes

Once you receive the completed meeting transcription, you can circulate it to stakeholders or post it on a company or organization website. Some businesses and organizations write blog posts or articles summarizing the meeting transcription. Effective meeting notes of board meeting minutes, including relevant notes, can simplify the ability of non-attendees to know what was said and accomplished at the meeting.

Ditto Specializes In Business Transcription

All sizes and types of businesses rely on Ditto Transcripts for their transcription needs. We only use U.S.-based human transcriptionists who undergo a criminal background check before working on your vital audio and video files.

Ditto is HIPAA and CJIS-compliant, offers quick turnaround times, and custom transcription services. Contact us directly at (720) 287-3710 or email our management team at [email protected] 

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