Meeting Minutes Template : How to write effective MOM

Writing Meeting Minutes(MOM or minutes) is a simple but very powerful tool for anyone responsible for a project. Most of the project managers at some point in their career will organize and run a meeting. One of the key project governance aspects is to document and minute the items discussed in the meeting. Using a template makes sure that all the relevant information is captured in the minutes.

meeting minutes template - MOM Format
Minutes of Meeting Example


It is important to capture what was discussed. In this article we will start by looking at advantages of sending effective meeting and then look at the different sections of the template.

Benefits of sending meeting minutes

  • People forget what they say and that is the most important reason why minutes are needed.
  • Minutes is an important followup document with all the details about the meeting including agenda, where the meeting was conducted and who attended the meeting.
  • A mechanism of sharing information about the meeting with people who did not attend the meeting. 
  • Having a standard document or template will ensure all the meetings are documented in the same fashion.
  • Document key points that were discussed in the meeting. After publishing the minutes if every body accepts the minutes then there will be no conflicts.
  • It is important to capture what everyone's view is about a given topic.
  • Document action items which help in following up on tasks with a due date.
  • Document decisions made in the meeting and also who made the decision.
  • Can be used as a starting point for new meetings.
Note : The Minutes template is provided in two formats - Excel and Word. Though the below applies to word format but the instructions and details apply to both the formats. Whatever the format used the key to make sure that you have all the key items covered.

It is not mandatory that you have to use all the sections in the minutes template. You can change the template to suit your business needs.

The MOM template is divided into several sections. It has General Information about the meeting, then the attendance, summary, discussion and conclusion and then actions /decisions.

Section 1 : General information and Attendance

Minutes of Meeting Example
General Section of Minutes of Meeting
  1. The first section in the template has details which are more general in nature. Most of the fields are self explanatory. 
  2. Meeting chair is the person who is the key decision maker. Meeting title is a short description about the meeting.
  3. Attendees is a list of the people who attended the meeting and apologies is used to document people who did no attend.

Section 2 : Agenda, Summary of discussion and Conclusion in the template


Minutes of meeting Template
Agenda, Summary and Conclusion
  1. The Agenda should contain the key discussion points for the meeting.
  2. It should be a set of bullet points describing what are the different topics that were planned to be discussed. 
  3. The agenda should be set before the meeting is organized so you can use the agenda that you sent when you organized the meeting.
  4. The Summary of the discussion should contain a clear list of points which were discussed with specific names so that it ia clear who said what.
  5. Summary of the discussion is the key section as most of what was discussed will be captured in the section.So, you should add as much details as you can.
  6. The meeting conclusion in the MOM template should contain a quick summary on what was the conclusion of the meeting.  If two different topics were discussed then you can have bullet points to discuss both the topics.

Section 3 : Action Items and Decision Register in the Meeting Minutes

This section in the template helps in keeping track of the tasks that were agreed in the meeting. If you do not need the decisions sections then you can delete that from the template. It is highly recommended that you leave the action items.

Meeting Minutes - Decisions and Actions
Meeting Minutes - Decisions and Actions

Action Items

  1. The action items section is also one of the key sections in the template as it captures what tasks or actions are pending. 
  2. Assigning action items is very effective as each action item will have a owner and deadline.
  3. Every Action will have a Serial Number - a counter, Action Item - what is the task,  Owner - who is responsible for the task, Due Date - the deadline for the task.
  4. It is important to keep the action items rolling which means the action items are published till they are closed. Even after closing I would suggest keeping the closed action item in the document with closed status for at least one meeting so that people will know when something is closed.

Decision Register

  1. Like the action items register decision register captures decisions made in a meeting.
  2. Each decision contains a Serial Number - a counter, Decision -  a description about the decision made, Decision By - who made the decision, Date - the date on which the decision was made.
  3. The decision register should also be rolling and should be kept in the minutes as long as possible as people need to know what decisions were made and by whom.

Techno-Tips on how to write effective  Meeting Minutes or MOM

  • Keep taking notes in the meeting however small the detail is even if you are the organizer. It is easy to forget. 
  • After the meeting is complete you can skim through your notes. You can document the minutes only for the key information.
  • Always document the minutes immediately after the meeting so that you do not forget what was discussed. Documenting when it is fresh in your mind is very easy and you will be able recollect any key points discussed easily.
  • Make sure that the MOM is circulated much before the meeting so that the people can get a chance to read the template.
  • Whenever starting a new meeting always review the minutes from the previous meeting.
  • Whenever putting something controversial or recording a decision make sure you check with person who will the owner.
  • Documenting minutes is very crucial in project management. Without proper documentation a project manager will always struggle to hold people accountable for what was said and what was done.
  • Make sure you use the right template so that all the information is captured. Having a proper format to the minutes will make sure people will read the minutes.
  • Remind people of the action items in the template so that they do the necessary task.
  • Keep all the previous version of the document so that you can have a track of the historical information.

Swapnil Wale

Written by

Swapnil Wale is an IT Professional based in Sydney, Australia with over 10 years of experience in technology and project management. He is a passionate blogger and focuses on project management and BRMS articles.

 

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