How to Document Meeting Minutes

by Jessica Oman; Updated September 26, 2017
Documenting meeting minutes requires close attention to detail.

Documenting meeting minutes properly requires a great deal of organization and attention to detail. Because meeting minutes often become legal documents, it is important to summarize discussions accurately. Make a backup copy and store it in a secure location, and distribute extra copies to relevant parties. With practice, it becomes much easier to document meeting minutes accurately and concisely.

Items you will need

  • Laptop computer
  • Word processing software
  • Meeting agenda
  • Copy of Robert's Rules of Order

Documenting meeting minutes

Step 1

Arrive early, to get your laptop set up and ready to go. Note the date, time, location and list of attendees. Record as much of the meeting discussion as is possible for your typing speed. Don't worry about spelling or grammatical errors. If you miss an important step, such as the passing of a motion or action item, it's okay to ask the meeting attendees to clarify the wording. Save the document occasionally to prevent any loss of data.

Step 2

Edit your meeting minutes as soon as possible after the meeting, when your memory of the discussion is still fresh. Correct any spelling or grammar mistakes and ensure formatting is consistent throughout the document. Insert a "draft" watermark to notify readers that the minutes have not yet been approved and made official. Save the file using a file name that is easy to identify and differentiate later, such as "StrataCouncilMinutesDecember5".

Step 3

Send the minutes to the meeting chair or another person designated to review the discussion. Edit the minutes again, based on feedback you receive. When editing, be careful to maintain the integrity of the minutes. Do not add any discussion that did not occur, or remove any discussion that did occur. Save the file again.

Step 4

Keep the "Draft" watermark in the document until the minutes receive formal approval. This usually occurs at subsequent meetings of the same committee.

Step 5

Once the committee approves the minutes, remove the "Draft" watermark and save the file again. Distribute the approved minutes to the committee members if necessary.

Tips

  • Have a copy of Robert's Rules of Order (or whatever guide your committee uses) to use as a reference during the meeting. This can help you record meeting proceedings correctly.

    Some people still prefer to document meeting minutes using shorthand first, then type the notes later. This method can work just as well as taking minutes using a laptop. It depends on your personal preference.

    For very important meetings, consider using a tape recorder to make an audio recording of the proceedings.

About the Author

I am a professional writer, editor and business consultant with a background in public education. I hold undergraduate degrees in English and Education, as well as an MBA degree. I launched my own business in July 2010 and now apply my valuable business and marketing knowledge to writing and editing business plans for start-up businesses.

Photo Credits