Taking minutes of a meeting is one of those tasks that very few people bother with. But a protocol template can ensure that you master this task with ease. If you want to take minutes efficiently, you should prepare for them efficiently instead of just taking notes on a blank sheet during the meeting. With the help of a predefined minutes template, you can make the creation of the minutes more efficient and faster. Below you will find many important hints and tips on how to create a protocol template yourself and what to look for in a protocol when documenting it.
Protocol as a transcript to document important results and decisions
A protocol is a document in which is defined in which order resp. at which points in time certain tasks are to be completed. The protocol has a documentation function and serves to record important aspects and processes in writing. Aspects recorded in the minutes can thus be understood even by people who were not present at a meeting or when the minutes (transcript) were taken. Minutes are used in legal processes, internal corporate communications, project management, or technical specifications and procedures.
A protocol is used wherever work is done with regular processes. Or for processes where disruptions or deviations are to be expected. Results of a meeting, an event or a discussion are summarized compactly in the minutes. According to this, the minutes are essentially used for organizing, planning and optimizing processes.
Minutes can be written in different ways. There is, for example, an hourly log, a results log or a progress log. The transcript should be based on the goals of the company and serve its purpose. Depending on the form of the protocol, the structure of the record is kept slightly different. It is important to follow the correct format for each protocol and to capture the most important data.
A log is used to document a process as accurately as necessary, but also as compactly as possible. So that a Minutes is complete, all essential information must be included.
Where to use minutes?
A protocol can be used on the following occasions:
- Meeting or discussion in a company
- Organizes and documents workflows
- meeting or session at an association.
The minutes serve as an overview and should provide a quick review of discussed agenda items for all persons involved. The minutes must be taken at a meeting, a meeting, a meeting or a discussion. Associations and companies may even be obliged to keep minutes of important meetings. How to write a perfect protocol, you will learn here.
Types and forms of minutes
Minutes can be differentiated according to the time of preparation, the content and the form of the recording
Time of the preparation
The point in time when minutes are written can vary depending on the requirements.
- Advance protocol: A protocol that is created in advance in order to regulate future work starts. It is a concept that defines subsequent processes.
- Now log: In this case, an actual event is recorded and documented.
- Memory protocol: In this case, a process is only documented afterwards. The recording is made from memory.
Form of the record
The transcript can also be differentiated according to how the protocol is prepared. Minutes can be z.B. not only be recorded in writing, but also by video or audio recording. In the technical environment one speaks also of sog. Log files, if processes are recorded automatically. When writing a protocol, it can also be written in longhand or shorthand.
Depending on the form of the protocol, one should sch follow the rules. The structure can vary depending on the form,
The Memory protocol
The Memory protocolIn the case of the memory protocol, aspects discussed are recorded on paper from one’s own memory or on the basis of key points from the transcript. The memory protocol becomes z.B. is used for interviews or discussions. Decisions or results are thereby recorded in short form. The minutes are therefore usually relatively short and are not bound by any specific formal requirements or rules.
The Minutes of results
The Result protocolThe result protocol documents contents and results of a meeting of persons on. Unlike the progress log, individual speeches and discussion contributions are not recorded in detail; only core aspects are recorded in the log by the minute-taker. A summary of each contribution during the meeting is made. With a result protocol it is worthwhile to keep certain formal guidelines. A protocol template for this can be created, for example, with Word or another text program.
The Minutes of the meeting
The Progress protocolIn the case of the progress report, the content of a meeting is reproduced. The contributions to the discussion are written in the minutes in indirect speech. In contrast to a verbatim protocol, the content is only summarized by the minute-taker in a meaningful way, so that decisions can be understood by the reader at a later time. The template for the minutes can also be created using word processing programs such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs or Apple Pages.
The Minutes of words
In this form of recording, what is said is reproduced as accurately as possible. The preparation of a word protocol requires a special skill and speed. The person taking the minutes should write down every single word. In this case, an audio recording should be used as an aid to additionally document the content. The creation of a verbatim transcript is nowadays also often done by computer stenographers. With the help of a stenography keyboard or voice recognition software, each spoken word is recorded in real time. Based on the recording, the fair copy can then be further refined and completed. For important meetings, a verbatim record should be made, even if this process takes a lot of time.
The Hourly minutes
Lesson minutes are mainly used in schools. One speaks here also gladly of a lesson protocol. Minutes serve to document important findings from the lesson. They serve as an aid when repeating the learning material or if a student has missed a lesson. The teaching protocol is usually a mixture of a progress and results protocol. The focus is on the results worked out in the lesson. In this case, one should follow the rules for the preparation of minutes of results. At the same time, however, the course of the meeting (cf. progress protocol) is documented.
The perfect minutes template for your next meeting – this is what you should know
A clear meeting minutes template ensures that other participants in the meeting can later better understand what the key points were. In addition, it is also important to inform other colleagues who were not part of the meeting. A good set of minutes helps to ensure that even people who could not be present at the actual meeting can quickly get an overview of what was discussed.
How a protocol template or a transcript could look like, we tell you below.
Who writes the minutes?
The minutes are taken by a secretary or recording secretary. For companies, a person can be determined before the meeting who is to write the minutes. There is also the possibility to make the minutes with a technical recording device.
Who will take the minutes should be defined prior to the meeting. A template can help the minute taker to capture the minutes of the meeting more quickly.
Requirements for a protocol
In the case of minutes, one should observe the following requirements:
- correctness of the content
- Significance of the recorded proceedings or events
- Authenticity of authorship
- Validity of the minutes
Since a protocol is also used for the preservation of evidence, the correctness and completeness of the protocol is of particular importance. This is referred to as positive evidential value. Evidential value proves that the recorded events or results took place exactly as they were recorded.
The entire evidential value of the minutes stands or falls with their authenticity. The validity of the minutes is usually ensured by the signature or other identification of the person taking the minutes.
First of all, every protocol template should be given the following points to accurately define the framework in which the meeting or session takes place. A complete transcript is necessary in order to be able to trace important points at a later date.
- Topic of the meeting, discussion or meeting
- Date and time
- All participants who were invited to the meeting and who are taking part
- Management of the meeting
- Minute taker
- Actual participants present
Record agenda items
After these important points have been recorded, the next step is to deal with the individual agenda items. These are called TOP 1, TOP 2, etc. Abbreviated in the minutes. In order to have sufficient space for all important notes on the respective TOP, it can be quite useful if a separate sheet is used for each agenda item. In this case, however, the sheets should be numbered in such a way that they can be assigned to the respective meeting minutes without any problems. For each agenda item, it is again important to make the following notes and to summarize the most important findings succinctly:
- Result of the discussion
- Dates / Deadline
Once the individual agenda items have been recorded, the minute template usually concludes as follows:
- Signature(s) of the person taking the minutes and leader of the meeting
- Possible attachments
Many minute takers go out of their way not to fill in the minute template right away. In fact, it may be useful to use an additional scratch sheet. Because space in the actual minutes template is limited and really only the most important findings should be recorded. Especially in the "Discussion" field, the notes can otherwise quickly get out of hand and become confusing. However, this is not the purpose of a protocol.
Of course, this sample protocol template can also be adapted to your own company. You may prefer to fill out the protocol template on your PC. Thus, there is no need for an additional scratch paper, as you can correct your entries later without any hassle. In addition, the finished minutes can then be conveniently sent by e-mail, making it child’s play for all parties involved to view them. The above-mentioned minutes template can be conveniently set up in Excel, for example, together with all the points mentioned above. This template can then also be distributed to all employees, so that the role of the person taking the minutes can be taken over again and again by another person in the team.
Tips for using a meeting minutes template
If you fill out the minutes template on your laptop or tablet during a meeting, you’re likely to keep a large variety of notes, some of which you can cross out later. It is important that you do not take too much time with the evaluation of your notes. After all, the memory of the meeting fades more and more with the passage of time, so you would do well to start working on the final minutes immediately after the meeting.
This also saves time, as you do not have to think about what was actually said in the meeting in a cumbersome and tedious way. In addition, the creation of the finished log can also be a very time-sensitive matter, as there may be a deadline by which you must submit the log to a certain person in the company. There may be other people who depend on your finished minutes, so it’s best to get them out as soon as possible.
Adapt your minutes template and have the minutes approved
As already mentioned, the example just given for a protocol template can be adapted quite well. Especially when it comes to the different agenda items, you will probably want to add or omit sub-items. This depends, among other things, on whether it is a pure results protocol or a so-called progress protocol. In the case of a progress report, individual aspects of the discussion should also be recorded. This is not the case with a pure results protocol, so that you can safely delete the subitem "Discussion".
Optionally, you can also add a field where you note any ambiguities. Sometimes these ambiguities are recorded on a separate sheet of paper. It is important that you, as the person taking the minutes, ask the following questions during the meeting. Don’t include items in the final minutes that you are not 100 percent sure about. After all, decisions may have to be made in the company based on your protocol and the protocol should be easily understandable for all non-present people as well.
Therefore, at the end of the meeting, it is particularly important that you read individual points of the minutes aloud again. This means mainly resolutions and possible deadlines. This way, any objections or discrepancies can be clarified right away, before problems can arise later on. This also saves work and time. In addition, you can ensure that all participants are pulling in the same direction.
Create a log file in Word
Tip: You don’t have to go to the trouble of creating minutes yourself using Word or Excel. The Word program already has some predefined protocol templates that you can use.
Of course you can adapt and modify these documents to your own needs. To access these protocol templates in Word, you need to do the following:
- Open the Word program
- Navigate to "File" and then to "New from template…"
- In the window that now opens you can already see many document templates that can be used for writing documents
- Search for Protocol in the search slot
- The window will then show you some protocol templates that you can use to write your protocol
In addition to Microsoft Word, there are of course other text programs that have predefined protocol templates. There are several programs available for Windows or for Macs. You can also create such templates using Excel, which is also part of Microsoft Office. You can also create similar templates with Google Docs as you can with Microsoft Office, which you can use in a meeting or in project management, for example. In this way, discussions and meetings can be logged and saved on virtually any computer or laptop.
The documents are mostly meeting minutes, which contain all important data. You can, of course, print out the template and then write in the data by hand. Or you type the minutes directly on the PC or. The participants can then print out the finished document from their laptops.
I hope you found the information on how to create a protocol template helpful. If you have any questions or if individual topics have not been fully discussed, please feel free to contact me.
Minutes in practice
Minutes are used in everyday life for very different processes. We should not only think of written minutes, which are written by people, but also of technical minutes.
An example of automated, evidence-proof logging is the flight recorder in airplanes, which can be used to reconstruct the course of events in the event of an accident.
In the case of a computer, data is also recorded. This is done in the context of a log file (log file), where certain events are stored. For example, the program execution can be recorded and logged according to certain rules.