Better Meetings

5 meeting minutes templates to improve your workflow

5 meeting minutes templates to improve your workflow-featured image

If you’ve ever been the assigned note-taker at a meeting, you’ll know that it’s not something to look forward to. 

Tired The Office GIF
Image Source: Giphy

But meeting minutes are a record of the topics and action items discussed in a meeting — in other words, they're essential for keeping everyone on track and accountable.

So, what can you do to make minutes better? You can use one of our meeting minutes templates to help you out at your next meeting (and use tools to make note-taking easier). 

Table of contents

  • What is the purpose of meeting minutes?

  • How are meeting minutes different from meeting notes? 

  • Minimalistic  meeting minutes template

  • Formal meeting minutes template

  • General meeting minutes template

  • Recurring executive meeting minutes template

  • One-on-one meeting minutes template

  • Tips for better meeting minutes

What is the purpose of meeting minutes?

The purpose of meeting minutes is to serve as an official record of the actions of meeting attendees. Whether it’s a formal board of directors’ meeting or an informal daily standup, meeting minutes make decisions and action items trackable and easy to follow up on.  

In the case of a board meeting, meeting minutes are a legal document that prove the board followed the relevant regulations and organizational bylaws.

Meeting minutes also offer these key benefits:

  • Provide structure: Everyone is busy, so keeping minutes of meetings helps everyone stick to the meeting agenda and makes meetings more efficient. 

  • Improve results and accountability: A big part of any productive meeting is assigning and keeping track of action items, allowing team members to take ownership of tasks.

  • Promote transparency: When there’s a same-for-everyone record of a meeting, all stakeholders can have clarity, and misunderstandings can be avoided.

How are meeting minutes different from meeting notes?

The main difference between meeting notes and meeting minutes is in the degree of formality. Meeting notes are informal, with the person in charge of note-taking capturing the goals, action items, and any other important moments in the meeting.

Meeting minutes, on the other hand, are more formalized and include a list of important notes, such as:

  • Meeting attendees 

  • List of people who are not in the meeting (absentees)

  • Date of meeting (with start and finish time)

  • Discussion topics 

  • Key points and decisions 

Notes and minutes can overlap, but minutes are especially useful for organizations that need formal processes.

1. Minimalistic meeting minutes template

Here’s a quick and simple template that’s great for a simple business or team meeting with only a few agenda items. It's perfect for informal meetings, or as a starting point if you’re using a minutes template for the first time. 

Minimalistic meeting minutes template

Download this simple meeting minutes template for free

To use this template, add your meeting agenda items at the top as bullet points. As the meeting goes on, you can add more bullet points under each agenda item to summarize the discussion. 

Near the end of your meeting, the facilitator can simply add the next steps attendees have agreed upon and assign action items to participants. Make sure to give each action item an owner (insert the team member’s name) and a due date.

2. Formal meeting minutes template

In addition to quick team meetings, where simple minutes and meeting agenda templates will suffice, some business meetings call for a high level of formality, such as a committee or board meeting

Because these meetings discuss high-level strategy, it’s very important to follow proper procedures, such as those outlined in Robert’s Rules of Order.

Formal meeting minutes template

Download a formal meeting minutes template for free

Meetings that follow Rules of Order begin with a call to order indicating the meeting has formally begun, followed by a roll call to note who’s present and who’s not. The roll call is important because formal meetings usually require a quorum – the minimum number of attendees needed for making decisions (you can use this board meeting minutes template to guide you through the whole process). 

After the roll call, previous meeting minutes are approved. At the end of the meeting, the board’s chair makes other announcements that require no discussion, and then it’s time for adjournment.

3. General meeting minutes template

The simplicity of this template is its greatest power as it’s versatile enough to work for pretty much any kind of virtual meeting (and in-person meetings, too). 

General meeting minutes template

Download this general meeting minutes template for free

A lot of best practices for holding meetings are baked into this template, which is based on a solid agenda. First, you’ll have to decide on a concise main goal of the meeting. Is it a status update meeting like a daily standup — or will more discussion and decision-making be required? After finalizing the goal, you’ll have to decide on the meeting agenda items and bring them over to the meeting minutes. 

Finally, the template reminds you to finish with action items and assign owners and dates. 

Tip: If you only want to use one template from this list, we recommend that you use this one and customize it according to your needs.

4. Recurring executive meeting minutes template

If you’re not prepared with a good system to hold and track recurring meetings, you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed. But we’ve got a template to help prevent that! This agenda sample can help you keep the minutes organized by topic, while also guiding you through each phase of the meeting.

Recurring executive meeting minutes template

Download this recurring meeting minutes template for free

A good meeting agenda and minutes template is the starting point of any productive exec meeting — and a good meeting tool helps make the meeting more focused and valuable. With Vowel, recurring meetings are grouped automatically to simplify team communication, and make it easy to pull up notes from a past meeting while in a current meeting.  

A screenshot of Vowel where users can view meetings from their dashboard

5. One-on-one meeting minutes template

One-on-one meetings require preparation if you want them to be productive, so don’t forget your one-on-one meeting minutes agenda template. 

One-on-one meeting minutes template

Download this one-on-one meeting template for free

Whether you’re meeting for a formal reason (e.g., performance review) or informal reason (e.g., a daily or weekly check-in) this template guides you through the process and helps you take simple yet effective meeting minutes. 

Once the meeting is over, the minutes you recorded will keep both participants accountable for the topics discussed and any action items assigned. 

Tips for better meeting minutes

Paying attention during a meeting and taking minutes at the same time can be overwhelming. Follow these tips to get better at capturing effective meeting minutes.

  • Make sure you have an agenda: Before the meeting starts, review your agenda. It’s the roadmap for the meeting and guides you in taking meeting minutes. With Vowel, you can easily add an agenda to your meeting invites (it even shows up in the calendar event!). Plus, you can choose from many agenda templates or create your own.

  • Take brief notes: Write the minutes during the meeting or just after the meeting when all the discussions are fresh in your mind. Instead of trying to transcribe in real time, use a tool with live transcription! Vowel adds a timestamp to all your recorded notes so you can revisit them later, in context with the rest of the meeting (and you don't have to worry about word-for-word note taking).

Agenda timers in Vowel
  • Understand the process: Make sure you understand the expectations your organization has for note-takers and what information should be included or excluded from the meeting minutes. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. 

  • Handle any missed details: It can be hard to hear things when more than one person is talking at the same time in a meeting. If you’ve missed anything, ask for clarification as soon as possible. Meeting minutes are a historic record, so it’s important to get them right. Vowel can help, with its automatic real-time transcription, which can be a back-up for info you missed.

Take great meeting minutes with a great meeting tool

Taking great meeting minutes requires attention and finesse. If your video meetings are powered by Vowel, several features streamline meeting minutes: with collaborative notes, more than one person can take notes and they're public to everyone in attendance, so it’s less likely something will be missed. Live transcription captures what’s said word for word, so you can easily go back for clarification. 

Bonus: Everyone who attends the meeting gets a recap with the transcript, recording, and notes (no need for the host to remember to share).

To see all this meeting goodness in action, try Vowel by signing up for free!