Effective meeting minutes should include the time and date of the meeting, an outline of the issues discussed during the meeting, and a summary of any follow-up items assigned during the meeting. The minutes should be transcribed after the meeting and distributed to both attendees and absentees of the meeting.
Minutes may be recorded through note-taking or with a recording device, provided consent for the recording is given by all in attendance. Outlining the minutes in a coherent, well-organized way is crucial. Using bullet points or headings with subheadings are both effective, concise ways that key issues discussed during the meeting may be covered.
Minute-taking in a corporate environment is usually delegated to administrative assistants or clerical staff. However, nonprofit organizations and hobbyist organizations may also hold meetings and require that minutes be taken. Minutes should not be a verbatim transcript of the meeting; minutes should outline the agenda of the meeting and the important discussions that took place so that people who did not attend the meeting can get a sense of what was covered.
Taking minutes has a history dating back through the centuries to when notes of council meetings would be taken, shaved down and signed off on by all those in attendance. Brief notes were taken and copied by hand, then given out to meeting attendees and others who might benefit from a summary of what the meeting included.