You probably know what you should include in your minutes to capture discussions effectively, but do you know what should not be included in meeting minutes?
There are different types of meeting minutes, all depending on the nature of your meeting. However, even though the key details or information added may differ, there is a similarity as to what can and cannot go into these meeting recordings.
This article extensively covers this topic by highlighting:
- The essence of taking meeting minutes;
- The main things you should not add to your meeting minutes;
- What you should add to your meeting minutes.
- How to improve the accuracy of your meeting minutes.
Why Do Meeting Minutes Matter?
Meeting minutes are a formal documentation of discussions during an organized gathering. It keeps the records of the main discussion points during planned meetings, such as board meetings.
There are different types of meeting minutes, all playing the same role. For instance, whether you are taking HOA meeting minutes or weekly company meeting minutes, the main purpose of these documents is to basically document the key discussions in an organized manner.
So, besides keeping accurate records of the discussions, what else do meeting minutes do?
Meeting minutes establish a sense of accountability among participants. When individuals know their contributions and commitments are being recorded, they are more likely to take meetings seriously and fulfill their responsibilities.
Meeting minutes are a good source of communication from within and outside the meeting. They can be used internally to keep team members unable to attend the meeting in the loop while maintaining transparency and accountability.
Externally, meeting minutes can be shared with other relevant stakeholders to keep them updated on the progress of the organization.
Legal and compliance purposes
Meeting minutes are used to indicate that due process was followed when making certain decisions and to prove that these decisions were arrived at per established procedures.
These documents can be used in legal circumstances to act as proof or show compliance.
Meeting minutes have many other benefits and reasons why organizations find them helpful. Nevertheless, how useful or beneficial meeting minutes are often lies in their structure.
It is important to learn how to take effective meeting minutes by determining the most important sections or details to add to the document.
This next section highlights some of the most common details that are not relevant or should not be included in meeting minutes.
What Should Not be Included in Meeting Minutes?
Not everything discussed or observed during a meeting should find its way into the official minutes. Check out these commonly included sections in meeting minutes that should not be there in the first place.
Personal opinions and comments
Meeting minutes should be objective and impartial. Avoid including personal opinions, judgments, or comments made by attendees, as these can skew the record and undermine the credibility of the minutes.
Focus on recording objective facts, discussions, and decisions. Keep minutes impartial and free from subjective remarks.
While it’s essential to provide sufficient information to understand the context of the meeting, minutes should not become exhaustive documentation of every single statement or interaction.
Summarize discussions, capture key meeting takeaways, and avoid transcribing verbatim. Aim for a balance between detail and brevity to keep the minutes concise and accessible.
Meetings often involve side conversations or off-topic discussions. For instance, the host can begin with virtual meeting icebreakers to get the meeting flowing.
However, it’s important to filter out any tangential information and distractions from the minutes.
Instead, include only content relevant to the meeting’s agenda and objectives. This ensures that the minutes serve as a focused and efficient reference for participants.
Verbal exchanges or arguments
To maintain a professional and constructive tone in meeting minutes, avoid recording heated arguments, personal attacks, or confrontations verbatim.
Sometimes, following a virtual meeting etiquette guidebook may not be adequate, and things can get heated up.
In this case, you should not focus on the emotional dynamics of the meeting when jotting down the meeting minutes.
Meeting minutes should reflect the most accurate and reliable information available during the meeting.
Avoid including unverified facts, rumors, or information subject to change. If necessary, clarify that certain details are pending confirmation or require further investigation.
Confidential or sensitive information
Sensitive or confidential information should never be included in meeting minutes. This includes personal details about individuals, financial data, proprietary information, and any discussions explicitly marked as confidential during the meeting.
Be cautious and follow privacy and security protocols to protect sensitive information.
The same case applies to when you are using any meeting productivity tools. Ensure that the software you use has the right security and encryption protocols to protect and secure sensitive information.
Sometimes, participants may request that certain comments be considered “off the record.”
In such cases, it’s crucial to respect this request and refrain from including those remarks in the minutes. This maintains trust and openness within the meeting environment.
Meeting minutes should follow a particular structure that those recording them should adhere to.
Although not as strict as the ones mentioned above, there are a number of other things you should not include in your meeting minutes, depending on the nature of your meetings, such as:
- Irrelevant details
Avoid including information not directly related to the meeting’s purpose or agenda. Stick to what’s necessary to achieve the primary objectives.
- Jargon and acronyms without explanation
If industry-specific jargon or acronyms are used during the meeting, ensure they are either explained or spelled out the first time they appear in the minutes. Otherwise, it can be confusing for readers.
- Bias or favoritism
Avoid showcasing any bias or favoritism in the minutes. Ensure that all participants and their contributions are treated fairly and accurately.
- Inadequate attribution
Make sure it’s clear who said what during the meeting, especially when discussing ideas, concerns, or suggestions. Use participant names or titles for attribution.
Be clear and precise in your language. Avoid vague statements or phrases that could be interpreted in multiple ways.
What To Include in Meeting Minutes
You now have an idea of what you shouldn’t include in meeting minutes. However, as a rule of thumb, meeting minutes should always follow a particular format regardless of the nature of the meeting.
Here are a few key things to include in your meeting minutes:
Always begin your meeting minutes with the basics, including:
- Date of the meeting.
- Start and end times.
- Specify the meeting’s physical location. However, if it is a remote or hybrid virtual meeting, you can mention the platform used.
- List the names and titles of all participants, including those present and absent. Instead of simply listing attendees, note any roles or titles they hold within the organization to provide context for readers.
Before you start any meeting, it is always important to have an effective meeting agenda that you intend to follow. You should highlight these agenda items in the order they were addressed in the meeting minutes.
Consider using subheadings or numbering to separate different agenda items.
Document the key points raised or discussed within each agenda item, including:
- A concise summary of the discussions;
- Proposals and ideas presented;
- Questions raised during the discussions;
- Clarifications made.
Decisions and action items
Your meeting minutes should document any decisions made during the meeting, as well as the action items or responsibilities assigned as a result of the meeting.
You should also mention the responsible individuals and deadlines to maintain enhanced communication and promote accountability.
Streamlining Meeting Minutes with Krisp
Effective meeting minutes are pivotal for organizations as they serve as a tangible record of discussions, decisions, and actions. While maintaining comprehensive minutes can be time-consuming, innovative solutions like Krisp’s AI meeting assistant are transforming how we capture and utilize meeting data.
Krisp, an AI transcription tool, offers an effortless way to capture meeting discussions accurately, eliminating the need for manual note-taking.
By seamlessly transcribing conversations in the background, Krisp allows meeting participants to focus entirely on the meeting, fostering more engaged and productive discussions.
Krisp simplifies the post-meeting process by enabling easy access to meeting transcriptions.
The AI note-taker can efficiently convert lengthy transcripts into concise meeting summaries that capture essential discussions, decisions, and action items. These summaries can then be effortlessly transformed into comprehensive meeting minutes.
You can also use Krisp’s meeting minutes app to generate accurate meeting minutes that reflect your discussions without the hassle of manual work.
Try Krisp for free today and revolutionize how you capture your meeting minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should questions be included in the meeting minutes?
Questions can be included in meeting minutes if they are relevant to the discussion or decision-making process.
What should be done if the minutes are not accurate?
If you discover inaccuracies in the meeting minutes, it’s crucial to address them promptly. First, bring the inaccuracies to the attention of the person responsible for taking the minutes. They can then make the necessary corrections and revisions.
Once the minutes are corrected, distribute the updated version to all relevant parties. It’s essential to maintain accurate records for transparency and accountability.
Should personal discussions among attendees be included in meeting minutes?
Personal discussions among attendees, such as unrelated chit-chat or social conversations, should generally not be included in meeting minutes. Personal discussions can be omitted to keep the minutes concise and relevant.
Should corrections or revisions made to the minutes during the meeting be noted?
Yes, corrections or revisions made to the minutes during the meeting should be noted in the minutes themselves. Transparency is essential, so if errors are identified and corrected during the meeting, these changes should be documented.