Writing an Effective Meeting Minutes and Agenda

Meetings are essential to the smooth operation of any organization. You can achieve your organization’s objectives by holding productive meetings to review successes and discuss progress.

An effective meeting depends on a clear agenda and minutes. Without an agenda that helps guide the discussion, a meeting will be unfocused and disorganized. The meeting minutes provide a clear path to follow in future sessions.

The meeting minutes agenda sample below will come in handy if you want to quickly and effectively create an agenda and meeting minutes.

Minutes and agendas keep everyone on track during meetings. The agenda lays out points to be discussed in the meeting while the minutes document summarizes the points discussed at the meeting.

This article will discuss the importance of minutes and meeting agendas and how to create them. You can modify any of the the meeting minutes agenda sample to suit your needs.

What Is a Meeting Minute?

A meeting minute is a document that records the decisions and actions made during a meeting. It is a recap of all that transpired during the meeting, including the topics discussed and any decisions made.

People use minutes in all areas of an organization, like boards of directors and general meetings. Meeting minutes do not record every statement of a meeting. They merely capture the core of the discussion, ensuring that all crucial details get recorded for future reference.

Why Is It Vital to Keep Meeting Minutes?

One cannot overemphasize the importance of meeting minutes. They are significant for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Minutes will help ensure that actions taken during the meeting are accurately recorded, adequately documented, and followed up. 
  • With the aid of the minutes, those who were not present can catch up on what happened.
  •  Meeting minutes summarize what was discussed and decided during the meeting. 
  • They help keep everyone on track and ensure actions are taken based on decisions made in previous meetings. 
  • Minutes can also serve as reference material for later discussions or projects related to the meeting agenda items.

What Is a Meeting Agenda?

person writing bucket list on book
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Meeting agendas are a list of issues to be discussed during the meeting. A good meeting agenda specifies the time allocated for each item.

Typically created by the person leading the meeting, this document ensures that the meeting covers all essential points. Meeting agendas can also help to improve communication, efficiency, and a good working environment inside a room.

Importance of Meeting Agenda

There are many benefits to having a meeting agenda. Below are a few:

  • When everyone knows what to expect, it helps keep the meeting on track. 
  • An agenda allows the meeting leader to control the flow of the discussion. If something else needs to be added to the agenda, the leader can choose whether it should be discussed now or later.
  • It may seem like a lot of work to create an agenda, but the benefits are worth it.

Minutes Vs. Agenda: What’s the Difference?

The purpose of meeting agendas and minutes is to facilitate coordination and efficient recording of meeting activities.

But what’s the difference between the two?

  • Minutes are a record. They record what happened during the meeting. The agenda is a list of items to be discussed at the meeting.
  • Minutes are a summary of the meeting, while agendas are lists of items that will be discussed or decided on at a meeting.
  • An agenda guides the meeting, while the minutes summarizes what happened.
  • Minutes are written in summary, while the agenda has more detail.
  • Minutes also include the date and time of the next meeting, which agendas only sometimes include.

Who Is Responsible for Creating Meeting Minutes and Agenda?

Who Creates the Agenda?

Typically, this role falls on the person organizing the meeting. However, the board or department president usually works with the board secretary to create the meeting agenda.

Anyone can handle this responsibility within the organization’s structure. It all depends on the company’s rules or practices.

Who Takes the Minutes?

The secretary or someone else designated is usually responsible for taking minutes in a meeting.

How to Write the Minutes of a Meeting

The following steps can help you write effective minutes: 

1. Start by Writing the Date, Time, and Meeting Venue at the Top of the Document

Before you write the minutes, note the meeting’s date, time, and location. This way, it is easier to keep accurate records while filing the minutes for record purposes. 

2. Create Attendance List

Make a list of who was in attendance (including any guests). Use attendance lists to get the names of all those in attendance. Also include absentees.

3. Note the Objective of the Meeting

Give some details about the reason for the meeting. These details will be helpful to those absent.

4. Have Your Outline Ready

Outline discussion points before the meeting starts. A practical method is to use the meeting agenda to create note-taking outlines.

5. Summarize the Discussions

Next, summarize the discussion points under each agenda item. Be concise and accurate – avoid including your own opinions or comments. 

Note any suggestions, including who made them and the proposed implementation method.

Finally, list any action items that resulted from the meeting – these should include specific details about who is responsible for completing them.

6. Date and Venue of Next Meeting

For a future meeting, it is essential to note down the date, time, and location.

Sample of Meeting Minutes Agenda Sample

Meeting Minute Sample

The meeting began at 9 a.m. and concluded at 10:30 a.m. 

  • Ms. Melody Griffins reviewed the agenda for today’s meeting.
  • Item-1A: Review of current project status – Ms. Griffins provided an overview of the project, noting that it is currently on schedule for completion by the end of next week.
  • Item-1B: Discussion of potential changes to the scope and timeline of the project. A unanimous agreement was reached over whether to certify any changes, so this item will require further discussion outside of today’s meeting. 
  • Item-2A: Marketing team presentations on the upcoming campaign – Everyone in attendance agreed they are thrilled to see it begin rolling out next month. 
  • Item-2B: Feedback session following presentation – Some attendees raised questions about how specific aspects would play out in practice. They agreed to find a resolution before the launch date arrives 
  • Item-3A Approval of previous minutes – Attendees approved the minutes as written.
  • Item 4: Finances update
  • Item 5: Other business. 

How to Create a Meeting Agenda

Here are a few simple steps to create an agenda for a meeting.

Decide on the Objectives of the Meeting

This will help guide the process of creating an effective agenda. The overall objective may also have sub-objectives where necessary.

Draft a List of Topics for Discussion

The order of this list should be by priority. This will help keep you organized. Other members can also contribute to creating this list. If there are items that don’t fit neatly into any one category, add them at the end as “General Discussion.” Also, ensure you assign time slots for each topic.

Assign Sections to Members

For each topic, decide who should lead the discussion and identify specific goals or deliverables for that conversation. This information can serve as talking points or action items during the meeting.

Send Out Copies to Attendees

Finalize your agenda and send it out to attendees before the meeting date. Doing this will give everyone plenty of time to prepare and allow for any necessary follow-up after the gathering.

Sample Agenda for a Meeting

Agenda for Meeting 

Location: Board Room 

Date: January 1, 2019

Time: 10 a.m.

1. Call to order (By secretary) (5 minutes) 

2. Introductions (to be Coordinated by the chairman): Participants, Agenda Topic, Purpose of Meeting (5 minutes) 

3. Discussion – Supporting Details and Input from Attendees (30 minutes)

4. Actions and Follow-Ups (coordinated by Project lead) – Next Steps for Each Member of the Group post-meeting (15 minutes) 

5. Closing Comments or Questions? (5 Minutes Total)* 

Conclusion

Agendas and minutes are crucial for keeping track of a meeting’s progress, and ensuring all pertinent subjects are covered. While agendas suggest the discussion’s path, minutes offer a record of the points discussed at the meeting.

The meeting minutes agenda sample above captures all necessary information in a concise and structured way. You can use any samples above or generate your minutes and agenda using the Hey INK tool!

Writing an Effective Meeting Minutes and Agenda

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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