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How to Make Minutes of a Meeting

Pierre Touzeau
September 28, 2023

What are meeting minutes

Meeting minutes are written records of what happens during a meeting. They are a great tool to avoid running ineffective meetings, because they give the meeting a purpose, and keep everyone accountable.

Their goal is to pin down the main points, decisions, and actions of a meeting. This helps keep track of project management and make sure everyone is aligned on the next step. 

In short, good meeting minutes are accurate (capture the right info), brief (skip the fluff), clear (anyone reading should get it), and neutral (leave out opinions and biases).

Structure: Organize the minutes. A good format, often aligned with the meeting's agenda, helps readers navigate.

Who is responsible for taking minutes for a meeting?

The meeting room looking for someone to take minutes.

Someone's got to wear the hat of the minute-taker.

It’s not a difficult task. But it can be considered painful.

If you’re reading this, you might be looking to climb the corporate ladder (or just be seen as a great professional). Then, offering to take minutes of a meeting is a career hack.

This will allow you to:

  1. Be more focused during the meeting;
  2. Bring value to your colleagues;
  3. Become the most knowledgeable person on the project.

It’s a small cost to you (5 minutes of extra work per meeting), but this will come with a high reward in the long run.

In any case, you should definitely be the one taking the minutes if:

  • You’re the more junior person in the meeting;
  • You’re the project leader;
  • You’re in a meeting with a client;
  • It’s likely you won’t say anything in the meeting (better be active than passive).

5 reasons to make meeting minutes

Still not convinced you should be the one taking the minutes? 

Let me try to convince you this simple act can supercharge your professional game.

Reason 1: Clarity, not chaos. 

Ever left a meeting and thought, "What did we just agree on?" Minutes remove the guesswork. They avoid running useless meetings.

Reason 2: Keep the ball rolling. 

Projects stall when action items get fuzzy. With minutes, you have a concrete list of next steps. 

Reason 3: Boost your reputation 

Taking minutes and doing it well sets you apart. Colleagues will notice your dedication to detail and commitment.

Reason 4: Accountability

When tasks and decisions are in writing, there are no "I thought you were doing that!" moments. Minutes set clear expectations and reduce misunderstandings.

Reason 5: Protect and Serve

In the corporate world, having a paper trail can be gold. Meeting minutes provide a documented history, which can be invaluable during audits, disputes, or reviews.

7 steps to make great meeting minutes

Crafting top-notch meeting minutes isn't rocket science, but it does require a method. Let's break down the magic into seven steps.

Step 1: Define the Structure

Before the meeting even starts, know your game plan. Grab the agenda, familiarize yourself with the topics, and have your meeting-minute template ready.

Step 2: Record the meeting

Preview of Claap’s meeting recorder.

Lots of information may be fused during the meeting. To avoid losing track, you may want to record the meeting. Claap is our favorite tool for this, but we might not be 100% objective on this 🙃.

Bonus: Claap will provide you with automated meeting minutes (powered by AI).

Step 3: Capture Key Points

Meeting minutes aren’t a transcript. Avoid the urge to jot down every word. Listen actively, and focus on decisions made, actions agreed upon, and crucial discussions.

Step 4: Review & Clarify

Before wrapping up, take a minute to scan through your notes. Anything unclear? Now's the time to ask. A quick clarification can save hours of confusion later.

Step 5: Polish & Share

Post-meeting, take 2 to 5 minutes to refine your notes. Ensure they're clear, free of typos, and well-structured. Once perfected, share them promptly with attendees and relevant stakeholders.

Step 6: Archive Properly

Store your minutes systematically. Whether it's in your company’s private wiki, dedicated folder, cloud storage, or specific software like Claap’s, organized archiving ensures easy retrieval in the future.

Bonus: Claap helps you store your meeting recordings (and associated minutes) in Notion, Linear, or any other project management tool you may use. 

What to include when writing meeting minutes?

It's crucial to strike the balance: capturing the essence without overwhelming detail. Here are the 8 common sections I advise you to include.

1. Basic Details:

Kick off with the essentials – the meeting’s date, start and end times, and location (or platform, for virtual meetings).

2. Attendees List:

Jot down who was present, and highlight any notable absences. This provides context for readers and tracks participation.

3. Meeting's Purpose:

In a line or two, capture the primary objective. Why did everyone gather? This sets the stage.

4. Key Discussions:

For each agenda item, note the main points discussed. Skip the fluff, and zone in on the core.

5. Decisions Made:

Clearly record any conclusions, resolutions, or agreements. Who's responsible for what? What deadlines are set?

6. Action Items:

What next? Outline the actionable steps, assignees, and deadlines. This list is your game plan until the next meeting.

7. Notable Comments or Inputs:

While you're not capturing every word, some remarks or insights are too valuable to skip. If it's pivotal to understanding or offers a unique perspective, pen it down.

8. Any Follow-Ups Needed:

Are there outstanding items? Maybe more data is required, or a sub-committee needs to delve deeper. Highlight these to ensure they don’t slip through the cracks.

Claap’s go-to template for meeting minutes

Claap’s go-to meeting minutes templates preview.

Duplicate the ultimate template here.

Meeting minutes example

Meeting Minutes - Weekly Marketing Meeting

1. Meeting Details:

  • Date: 25/09/2023
  • Start Time: 10:00 AM
  • End Time: 11:15 AM
  • Location/Platform: Virtual – Google Meet
  • Recording software: Claap

2. Attendees List:


  • Jane Doe
  • John Smith
  • Lucy Allen
  • Martin Brown


  • Tom Rogers

3. Meeting's Purpose:

  • Objective: Discuss Q4 marketing strategies and budget allocations.

4. Key Discussions:

Marketing Campaigns for Holidays:

  • Focus on social media advertising.
  • Collaborate with influencers.

Budget Allocation:

  • 60% for digital marketing.
  • 20% for events and sponsorships.

5. Decisions Made:

Holiday Campaigns:

  • Conclusion/Resolution: Collaborate with 5 major influencers in our industry.
  • Responsibility: Jane Doe's team
  • Deadline: 05/10/2023

Budget Allocation:

  • Conclusion/Resolution: Dedicate an extra 10% of the budget to online retargeting ads.
  • Responsibility: Lucy Allen
  • Deadline: 30/09/2023

6. Action Items:

Contact Influencers:

  • Responsible: Jane Doe
  • Deadline: 28/09/2023

Reallocate Digital Ad Budget:

  • Responsible: Lucy Allen
  • Deadline: 30/09/2023

7. Notable Comments or Inputs:

  • Jane Doe: "We've seen a 35% ROI increase from influencer collaborations in Q3."
  • Martin Brown: "The feedback from the last event was overwhelmingly positive; we should consider more in-person events next quarter."

8. Any Follow-Ups Needed:

  • Survey on Past Events: Collect more detailed feedback on the events of Q3.
  • Additional Data Analysis: Deep dive into ROI numbers from different marketing channels.

How to customize your minutes based on meeting objectives

Tailoring your minute-taking approach to the meeting type ensures they're always on point, actionable, and accurately capturing the essence of the discussion. 

Here's a guide to tweaking your minute-taking style to fit the bill.

1. Weekly Team Meetings

Focus: Keeping the team synchronized.

Tips: Start with a review of the previous week's tasks and accomplishments. Highlight key updates, team wins, and areas of improvement. End with a clear outline for the coming week's priorities.

2. One-on-One Meetings

Focus: Personalized feedback and alignment.

Tips: Establish an open dialogue. Capture individual performance highlights, areas for growth, and mutually agreed-upon action points. It's also a space to document career development discussions and personal aspirations.

3. Brainstorming Sessions

Focus: Ideas and possibilities.

Tips: Be liberal in capturing suggestions, but categorize them for clarity – 'Promising Ideas', 'Requires Further Research', 'Quick Wins', and so on.

4. Strategic Planning

Focus: Big-picture goals and roadmaps.

Tips: Clearly define each strategic initiative. Capture timelines, milestones, and potential challenges. Responsibilities and follow-ups are crucial here.

5. Project Status Updates

Focus: Progress checks and alignment.

Tips: Lay out accomplishments since the last meeting. Then, outline next steps and any obstacles. A side-by-side comparison can be handy: 'Planned vs. Achieved'.

6. Troubleshooting & Problem-Solving

Focus: Pinpointing issues and finding solutions.

Tips: Begin with a clear statement of the problem. Follow with proposed solutions, weighing the pros and cons of each. Conclude with agreed-upon action steps.

7. Client Meetings

Focus: Alignment, updates, and trust-building.

Tips: Apart from the regular structure, emphasize feedback, concerns, and validation. Any commitments or promises made? Highlight them!

8. Training & Workshops

Focus: Skill acquisition and learning.

Tips: Document main learning points, resources shared, and participant feedback. If there are post-training tasks or practices, make sure they're clear.

9. Team-Building

Focus: Team dynamics and motivation.

Tips: While these meetings may be more relaxed, still capture key insights, sentiments, and any proposed initiatives to boost team spirit.

How to automate your meeting minutes with Claap

Spying Artificial Intelligence GIF by G'day it's Jono
Why handle notes manually when you can automate them with Claap?

Now that we’ve said that, we might have a solution for you: Claap allows you to generate meeting summaries automatically.

And then, you’re instantly able to access your AI summary and transcript.

Overview of Claap’s AI summary feature. Give it a try now.

Advanced tips for effective minute-taking

Here are pro-level strategies to improve your minute-taking game.

Master Active Listening

Active listening isn't just hearing words. It's about decoding the essence behind them. 

Here's how:

  • Engage Fully: Avoid distractions. If you're scribbling non-stop, you're not truly listening. Instead, jot down short cues and elaborate post-meeting.
  • Summarize Mentally: After each significant point, pause and mentally replay it. This will help you capture it accurately.
  • Ask for Clarification: Not sure about a point? Ask. It's better to clarify now than to misinterpret later.

Neutral Language: Staying Objective and Unbiased

A minute-taker is the meeting's historian, not a critic. 

Here's how to maintain a neutral tone:

  • Facts over Feelings: Document what was said, not how it made you feel. Steer clear of adjectives that carry emotional weight.
  • Avoid Direct Quotes: Unless it's critical to do so. Instead, summarize the essence in a neutral tone.
  • Steer Clear of Slang and Jargon: Ensure that anyone reading the minutes, even without context, can grasp the content.

Avoiding common mistakes in minute-taking

With these pointers in your toolkit, you'll sidestep the common traps in minute-taking:

  1. Make sure someone is actually taking minutes;
  2. Keep synthetic meeting minutes;
  3. Ensure objectivity;
  4. Avoid non-factual words: “think”, “sadly”, “fortunately”;
  5. Be clear about the meeting's next steps;
  6. Assign responsibility beside each action (owner);
  7. Set deadlines.

Use Claap to record your meetings and automate minute-taking

Claap is an all-in-one video workspace that allows you to:

  1. Record your meeting (or your screen);
  2. Generate meeting transcript (99+ languages);
  3. Generate AI meeting notes;
  4. Organize your videos in a dedicated video wiki.

Sign up today to try it in your next meeting.

Get Started for free

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