A calendar that’s packed with meetings and meeting rooms that are home to long drawn out arguments. Sound familiar? According to a survey by Inc, executives consider more than 67% of meetings a failure. A meeting minutes template can effectively eliminate unproductive meetings.
A classic meeting minute template can be used for any business meeting, irrespective of the purpose of the meeting, whether it is to discuss growth strategies, retain customers or to build partner relationships. If you are leading a meeting for the first time and are unsure of where to start, this template can help you add structure and streamline the meeting process across your organization. This meeting minutes template is simple to use and can be customized according to your meeting type.
Problems that arise when there is no Meeting Agenda Template
Meetings that go beyond the stipulated time, meetings that result in no decisions being made and meetings that are a terrible waste of time. Every meeting attendee has experienced at least one of these problems. The first step to conducting effective meetings begins with identifying the problem, finding solutions that work and implementing them. The common problems that result in unproductive meetings are:
- Commitments made but forgotten. Agreed upon action items are forgotten as you move from one meeting to the next.
- Lost notes. Precious minutes are lost trying to find the notes that you recorded on your notepad ora word processor.
- Meeting outcomes are forgotten. It’s hard to remember what happened during last week’s meeting.
- Stakeholders not updated about meeting decisions. The stakeholders who will be affected by the meeting’s outcomes are unaware of what was discussed. A minutes template can ensure that everyone is in sync.
- Important decisions are not recorded. Without a template, it’s not clear what should be recorded and what shouldn’t be recorded. Thus a crucial decision may be missed.
- Blurry action items. There is no clarity on action items. Everyone remembers something different. Sometimes owners and due date aren’t assigned. If two people are assigned for a task, then each assumes that the other will take care of it.
Benefits of the Classic Meeting Minutes Template
- Attendees are better prepared. A meeting agenda sent out in advance can help shorten meeting time and discussions are less likely to get derailed.
- A clear written record. No ambiguities, no confusion. Everyone walks away from the meeting knowing what they need to do next.
- Get attendees approval. A minutes template helps you send out meeting minutes to all attendees’ so that everyone is on the same page.
- Improved accountability. Written action items drive owners to action and makes them accountable.
- Everyone’s input is valued. Encourage input from every attendee and add them to your notes. Through this exercise, attendees will stop considering meetings as a waste of time.
Components of the Classic Meeting Minutes Template
The classic meeting minutes template has the following essential ingredients for a productive meeting:
- The Goals section where you can specify individual agenda items
- Review of minutes from the last meeting
- Spillover discussion from last meeting
- Status review of action items assigned from the last meeting
- Meeting Notes
- Action items
Robert’s Rules of Order Defines How to Use the Classic Meeting Minutes Template
Standard Robert’s Rules outlines a series of steps to be followed during a meeting. These steps can help in implementing the classic meeting minutes template.
- Start with a ‘Call to Order’. Use an invocation to signal the start of the meeting.
- Define the meeting goal. Define what you intend to accomplish in the meeting. Ensure that the meeting invites and the agenda contain the meeting goal.
- Review minutes. Assign someone to review the minutes of the previous meeting. If there any discussion topics from the last meeting, address those first. Also, check on the status of action items assigned in the previous meeting.
- Reports. Next call upon attendees who will report about specific activities or projects in line with the meeting objective.
- Discussion of new business. Start addressing the present meeting’s agenda items. While recording notes, it may seem easier to record everything, but there are only four key items that need to be recorded.
- What is discussed
- What is decided
- What is accomplished
- What are the next steps/actions
For debates, ensure that all viewpoints are recorded using an anchor chart. You should also mention how teams arrive at a specific decision. While recording discussions, be sure to record by whom the decision was made. Was it the result of a vote, a consensus or an expert’s opinion?
- Action items: Before the meeting ends, clearly define the action items. Ensure that they are specific so that expectations are unambiguous. Assign a Directly Responsible Individual for each action item. Here is some more information that you must record:
- When is action item considered to be finished?
- What resources are required?
- What are the start and end dates for the action item?
- When and how frequent will follow-up be initiated?.