Project meetings get a bad rap. In reality, as long as they’re done properly, they’re not a waste of time. Our free meeting minutes template for Word helps you capture the agenda and action items to streamline meetings and make them the productive project tool they were always intended to be.
What Are Meeting Minutes?
Meeting minutes are a recording of the pertinent notes from the meeting. It is not, however, a recording of every word spoken, rather it acts as a way to boil down the meeting to its essentials.
That means you capture the highlights of what was said. This usually follows the meeting agenda that was created beforehand to outline what’ll be discussed in the meeting. As those discussions open up, a secretary will jot down the essential items that come up over the course of the meeting.
These critical notes can be key issues that are discussed, proposed motions that were voted on and any action items that derive from the meeting. The agenda keeps the meeting focused on what it needs to accomplish while the meeting minutes are an accurate record of the important issues that came up over the course of that meeting.
Why Use a Meeting Minutes Template?
Just as an agenda follows a format, so do meeting minutes. Using a meeting minutes template lays out the necessary information in a clean and easy-to-use format. The template includes sections designed for the secretary to jot down the information they need to record.
Using a meeting minutes template saves time and creates consistency in your project documentation and the meeting minutes template is always the same and ready to use. When filed, it creates a regularity to your reporting that makes it easier to digest.
The last thing you want to do when recording meeting minutes is waste time focusing on formatting. The who, what, where, why and how are mapped out for you which allows the secretary to be part of the meeting. They can write down the important items without any fuss or bother.
How to Use Our Meeting Minutes Template
Once the agenda has been created and circulated, you can begin to use our free meeting minutes template for Word. The top part of the template is reserved for top-line data such as the name of the project, the reason for the meeting, where it’s being held and other helpful data. When it ends, you can add the duration of the meeting in hours or from start time to end time.
Beneath that section is a list of attendees. You can expand the meeting minutes template if the space provided isn’t adequate. Each line is dedicated to a participant, including their name and contact information, such as email, phone or however they prefer to be reached.
Next is a section dedicated to the agenda. The agenda is an outline of what will be discussed or the meaning of the meeting. Capturing that information is crucial to knowing what was discussed. Each line is dedicated to one agenda item and next to it is the person who owns that agenda item.
Following is a section for takeaways. This is where the secretary captures the action items that came up over the course of the meeting. These might include tasks that have to be delivered by the next meeting, proposals that need to be researched in order to bring them to the next meeting or other action items. Each line lists the takeaway and who owns it.
Finally, there’s a short section at the end where the details for the next meeting are itemized. There you can add the next meeting date, where it’s going to be held and the purpose of the meeting. This is a great way to disseminate the meeting notes and have attendees add the new meeting date to their calendars.
Once you have action items, it’s a good idea to put them into collaborative software where the whole team can work together on executing tasks. ProjectManager has an intuitive list view that makes collaboration easy. Plus, there’s a real-time dashboard for tracking progress so everyone can stay on top of their work. Try ProjectManager for free today.
Meeting Minutes Tips
Creating minutes for a meeting typically involves a five-step process. Let’s briefly outline those five steps in order for you to get the most out of our free meeting minutes template for Word.
- Planning before the meeting is key to its success. The minute taker should work with whoever is leading the meeting to determine the participants and agenda. This helps fill in the top part of your template and leads to a more productive meeting.
- Next is recordkeeping. This takes place in the meeting as it’s happening. Before the meeting, a secretary or minute taker must be chosen. They are responsible for capturing the pertinent information during the meeting.
- Minute takers often use a notepad or write freehand. If so, they need to transcribe their notes onto the temple in order for them to be shared. Of course, with our free minute meeting template for Word, you can skip this step by using your computer to take notes.
- The meeting minutes is not solely for those who attended the meeting. It might need to be distributed throughout the company. More likely, you’ll have to make sure the participants get the meeting minutes. Either way, distribution needs to be considered.
- Finally, the finished meeting minutes should be filed away to create a paper trail. It also acts as historical data to be referenced when working on a similar project in the future.
Who Should Use This Meeting Minutes Template?
Ideally, the free meeting minutes template can be used by everyone who is directly impacted by the meeting. However, that doesn’t mean you want everyone’s fingerprints on the template as this can lead to confusion and even multiple versions floating around.
To avoid having incorrect or out-of-date information, the meeting minutes should be owned by the minute-taker or secretary. They will work with whoever is leading the meeting, of course, and even with those who are in attendance, but only one person should be responsible for updating the template.
Other than that, the free meeting minutes template for Word is a great tool that can be shared among departments to streamline project meetings and create consistent documentation across the organization. This helps break down silos and fosters better collaboration across business channels.
ProjectManager Helps Make Meetings Successful
The meeting minutes template is important, but if you don’t have the right tools to take those action items and deliver on them, it’s wasted time. ProjectManager is project management software that connects teams and streamlines processes to help you work more efficiently. Our collaborative platform means everyone is working together regardless of where they are or in what department. Multiple project views let you work how you want.
Visualize Workflow With Kanban Boards
See how action items are being executed on kanban boards. You can set up the tasks as cards under the to-do column and your team can manage their backlog and collaboratively plan sprints. As they move the card from column to column, you get transparency into the process and can reallocate resources to clear potential roadblocks and keep teams productive.
Report on Progress and Performance
The point of a meeting is to improve communication and work more innovatively and productively. But without a way to measure performance, there’s no way to know if you’re meeting your established benchmarks. Since everyone’s work is connected to our software, you can generate reports on tasks, time, workload, variance and more. Each report can be customized to see the data in which you’re interested. Then they can easily be shared in a variety of formats with executives or at the next meeting.
You can even use our tool instead of the meeting minutes template. Our multiple project views mean you can create an agenda on the list view, add minutes during the meeting and assign those tasks to your team. It all can be done on our collaborative platform, which allows you to share files, comment and tag others to bring them into the conversation. If meetings are at best a communication tool to boost efficiency, then our tool super-sizes that.
Other Templates to Complement Your meeting minutes Template
If you’re not ready to upgrade, we’ve got you covered with dozens of free project management templates for Word and Excel that can help you through every phase of your project. Here are a few that can help with meetings and their aftermath.
Action items are things that come up in the meeting that need to be done before the next meeting. While they’re collected in a meeting minutes template, this free action items template for Excel is a more robust version with tracking. It details the action item, lists the assignee, the priority of the work, directions for executing the task, a space to add any issues that might arise and its status.
Having a list of things that have to get done is similar to the action items you take from a meeting. Our free to-do list template for Excel helps you manage that work more efficiently. You can list the tasks that you need to complete before the next meeting and schedule them with start and end dates to make sure you meet that deadline. There’s even a percent complete column to track your progress.
Maybe the action items that come from a meeting are more involved and require better planning than an action item or to-do list template can provide. That’s where our free action plan template for Excel comes in. It offers you a framework in order to think about how you’re going to accomplish your goals. The free template helps get that work done more efficiently and makes sure that nothing is left out.
ProjectManager is award-winning software, but our site is a project management hub. Besides all the free templates you can download, there’s a library of Alexandria of content you can access for free. From blogs to guides, white pagers and tutorial videos, there’s something for everyone, be they novice or pro. Here are a few cherry-picked pieces that relate to the topic, but be sure to browse more deeply. There’s so much to explore.
- 25 Fun Icebreaker Games for Meetings
- How to Run a Planning Meeting (Checklist Included)
- 6 Steps to Meeting Planning
Get Started With ProjectManager for Free
ProjectManager’s online software connects your team, departments and even outside partners to help improve collaboration. Get real-time data to make more insightful decisions and a suite of project tools that allow you to work how you want. There’s a single source of truth so everyone is always working on the most current data. Join teams in organizations as varied as NASA, Siemens and Nestle who are using our tools to deliver success. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.