Writing minutes – the right way!

From the point of view of many employees, it is a chore, Writing minutes to have to. Many hope at every meeting that it will not hit them. The minutes are not a mere job creation measure, but have their own purpose. In the protocol, the current status is recorded, next steps are outlined and responsibilities are named. However, the usefulness of the minutes depends on how well they are written. Here you can find out what information should not be missing from a protocol and how it is structured in terms of content. We also have a sample template for you to use for the next meeting.

A woman writes minutes in a meeting

Minutes: What is meant by it and what variants are there?

According to the Duden dictionary, a protocol is a

"verbatim or Minutes of a meeting limited to the essential points, Negotiation, an interrogation o. a.".

Protocols are used in various areas, for example by the police or at court hearings. This article is about meeting minutes, which record the most important topics and agreements of a meeting in the team, with customers or business partners.

In this context, a distinction is made between two main forms: the result log and the progress log. The differences lie in the content and focus of the minutes. A Result protocol is limited to summarizing the most important results of a meeting. Next steps can also be listed in it. How these results came about is secondary to the results protocol. This is at the Progress log different; here the course of the conversation is also recorded. A minutes of proceedings shows how certain decisions were made.

What are the advantages of writing a protocol?

When it comes to who takes the minutes of a meeting, many employees hope it doesn’t hit them. Finally, you have to listen carefully, take notes and type the protocol into the PC afterwards. In addition, many employees do not understand the meaning of Meeting minutes Do not see.

In fact, in many companies the minutes are not used in a way that would exploit their full potential. Often it is a task that has to be done pro forma – but that hardly makes a difference because nobody reads through the minutes.

With this approach, a protocol offers few benefits. How the protocol is handled is crucial. In principle, minutes of meetings can offer many advantages. On the one hand they serve as clearly summarize of what was discussed at a meeting. Each participant can use the minutes to recall what was discussed and decided in a short period of time. Without a protocol, this would be much more difficult.

Minutes record results and responsibilities

Protocols can also help, To prevent misunderstandings. How often do employees and supervisors talk past each other?. Some employees do not even know that they are responsible for a certain task or that they are supposed to have done something by a certain deadline. This can also be recorded in the minutes – and no one can say that they did not know who was responsible for what.

A protocol is also useful to to prepare for the next meeting. Especially if some time has passed since then, participants often do not remember exactly what was discussed. This means that time is lost in many meetings because everyone has to be brought up to date first. However, if there is a protocol of the last meeting, the participants can find out in advance what was decided last, and follow up directly on it at the next meeting.

Writing a protocol correctly: This is how it works

The boss has assigned you to write a protocol. What is the best way to proceed now? First you should clarify, what kind of protocol is required. Should it be a result protocol or a progress protocol? And how detailed should the transcript be?? This will determine how much and what you need to take notes on at the meeting.

Before the meeting, you should think about inform what the status is. You should be so in the know on all topics that you can correctly classify everything that is said about them. On the other hand, if you are poorly informed, you may not know what is really important at the meeting. Inform in the apron also about the names of the participants, if you do not know these anyway or name plates are used. Otherwise, you won’t be able to note who said what.

Listen in the meeting attentively and be sure to write directly with. This is usually best done with a laptop – many type faster than they handwrite. In addition, with digital minutes, it is easier to add things later to previous topics that the conversation comes back to. To write faster, you can Using shortcuts. This applies to longer words as well as frequently used short words such as "the", "the" or "and". If you type "d" and "u" respectively in these cases, you are guaranteed to know later what was meant.

Only record what is really important

Writing everything down in a meeting can be exhausting. However, it is crucial that you filter out what is really important, instead of just stubbornly writing everything down. This is especially true if a record of results is required. Be neutral and do not include your own opinions, directly or indirectly. Minutes are always a factual transcript.

It may happen that you were so busy taking notes that you couldn’t listen to it. If you did not understand something, ask directly. There is no shame in this – and it is always better than sending an incorrect or incomplete protocol at the end.

After the meeting, you should keep in mind the Write the protocol as quickly as possible. Don’t wait too long to do this – you may not be able to remember everything that was discussed in detail later on. You will probably also be able to do more with your notes if you make the protocol promptly. When the minutes are ready, you still have to have them signed by the chairperson of the meeting and then send them to all participants.

Content and structure: What belongs in the transcript, what does not?

What content the minutes should have depends on the variant asked for. In a progress report, the discussion should not be missing, while in a results report it should be omitted. It also depends on how extensive the transcript should be. It’s best to ask what is wanted.

In no case should these details be missing:

  • Heading, usually simply "Minutes", if necessary supplemented by the topic of the meeting
  • Date and place
  • Start and end of the meeting
  • Information about the participants
  • Name of the person chairing the meeting
  • Name of the person taking the minutes
  • What it’s about; asked is the overall topic (if any) and the individual agenda items

In the protocol should be most important statements and decisions of the meeting can be recorded. It is often sufficient to write down discussion and results in bullet points. If in doubt, ask your boss which form is possible.

The protocol should also include a Outlook for the next steps. Write down which employees are assigned to a particular task. Often in meetings, tasks are assigned that are associated with deadlines. You should also note this when you write a protocol.

Sometimes sketches or tables are used in meetings. if they are important you can add them to the log or append them.

What you do not have to put in the log

Not everything that is discussed at a meeting needs to be in the minutes. The transcript should document only the most important aspects, rather than meticulously listing everything that was said. Especially in a transcript of results, the course of the conversation is not crucial and should take up correspondingly little space.

Personal opinions of the person taking the minutes should not be included in the minutes. Be sure to stay factual and hold back on ratings of any kind. As a rule, verbatim quotations are also not required. It is almost always sufficient if you note the meaning of a statement and not the specific word choice of the participant.

The log should also not be too long. If it is very long, you probably went into too much detail in the content. In such cases, see where you can shorten without affecting the transcript.

Writing minutes: Template

If you need to write a protocol, our free template will help you. Use the sample to give structure to your transcript, and modify it to fit the meeting and its outcomes.


Topic of the session:
Minute taker:
Agenda items:

  1. XY
  2. XY
  3. XY
  4. XY

Agenda item 1: XY

Agenda item 2: XY

Agenda item 3: XY

Agenda item 4: XY

Next steps:
Place, date

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