How to write meeting minutes (with 12 examples and templates)

Master the art of taking effective meeting minutes with our comprehensive guide. Discover why they're crucial and what they should include. Includes 12 free templates and examples.



Craft Author: Craft Team
Craft Team

Key Takeaways

1. Recognize the purpose of meeting minutes: Understanding that meeting minutes serve as a record of what transpired in a meeting and provide a reference for all attendees is fundamental. They ensure all vital information, decisions, and actions are recorded, agreed upon, and documented. This understanding will guide you on what to focus on while taking the notes.

2. Capture essential elements in the minutes: At a minimum, ensure to note down who attended the meeting, the key discussion points, the decisions made, and the action items assigned. Also, don't shy away from using illustrations or adding relevant links for clarity and more context.

3. Use meeting minutes to enhance accountability and productivity: Remember, meeting minutes can help avoid confusion or misunderstandings and ensure everyone knows their responsibilities. By sharing the minutes promptly after the meeting, you help keep the team on track, ensuring the time and energy are directed towards productive work rather than untangling miscommunications.

How many times have you walked out of a meeting wondering, "What just happened?" We've all been in meetings where important points were discussed, but post-meeting, the clarity and direction seem to evaporate. This confusion not only leads to inefficiency but can also create an environment of frustration and miscommunication.

The solution? Detailed and accurate meeting minutes. In this guide, we'll delve deep into the art and science of creating effective meeting minutes, offering 12 practical examples that will transform your future meetings.

What are meeting minutes?

In essence, meeting minutes are a written record of everything significant that transpired in a meeting. They're not a verbatim record but rather capture the essence of discussions, decisions, and action items.

After the meeting, the minutes provide a document that can be referred back to, ensuring everyone knows what actions they are responsible for and what decisions were agreed upon. You can also use illustrations or diagrams to explain concepts more clearly and include relevant links to websites, articles, and other sources to support points made in the minutes.

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What are the benefits of meeting minutes?

1. A documented reference: Minutes provide a written record of what was discussed and decided upon in the meeting. This minimizes misunderstandings and misinterpretations later on.

2. Enhanced accountability: When action items are recorded, there's clarity about who is responsible for what. This ensures that tasks are acted upon.

3. Facilitates review: Before the next meeting, minutes provide a refresher on what was previously discussed, allowing attendees to pick up where they left off.

Why are meeting minutes important?

Picture yourself working for a large corporation, involved in an intense, strategic meeting that lasted for several hours. Now, fast forward two weeks. As you and your team convene again, different voices present very different recollections of the previous meeting's decisions and action points. The room is filled with confusion and frustration as you try to figure out exactly what was decided at the previous meeting. The time and energy wasted in clarifying miscommunications could have been utilized for productive work. All of this could have been effortlessly avoided by the simple yet powerful tool of meeting minutes.

Meeting minutes provide a clear, shared record of decisions and responsibilities, offering a reliable reference point and minimizing the room for misunderstanding. They promote productivity and ensure that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet. Moreover, these minutes serve as a legal safety net, providing a documented record of decisions made, and offering protection in case of future disputes. For anyone unable to attend the meeting, they become a bridge to fill the gap, allowing them to quickly get up to speed.

What should meeting minutes include?

Meeting minutes should serve as a comprehensive yet concise record of a meeting. That means they should capture enough of the key information from a meeting to get enough context about decisions made, action items assigned, and the reasoning for each, but they shouldn’t capture so much detail that they are overwhelming and difficult to follow.

The following headings are typically included in all Meeting Minutes:

  • Date
  • Attendees
  • Agenda
  • Acceptance or amendments to previous minutes
  • Actions (with deadlines and persons tasked)

It’s crucial that actions are given deadlines and an assignee to ensure there’s accountability and that they definitely get done. Finally, if there are any other documents or data shared in the meeting, they should also be included in the meeting minutes.

Sometimes, especially in more formal circumstances, the time of meeting adjournment is also noted.

How to take efficient meeting minutes

The art of taking efficient meeting minutes is not just about writing down everything that happens during a meeting. It involves strategic planning, active listening, and sharp summarization skills. Let's break down this process into four fundamental steps:

1. Preparation before the meeting

First things first, you need to be well-prepared. Review the meeting agenda beforehand, familiarize yourself with the topics of discussion, and understand the objective of the meeting. If possible, study past meeting minutes to get a sense of the meeting's format and the level of detail required.

2. Active participation during the meeting

During the meeting, listen attentively, and note down the key points – decisions made, action items assigned, and any commitments or deadlines set. The best approach is to write your meeting minutes directly on the agenda itself; this provides an inherent structure to them and puts them in a convenient place for all attendees after the meeting has finished. 

Avoid trying to write down everything word-for-word; instead, focus on capturing the essence of the discussions and decisions.

It's important to capture debates and thoughts that support the conversation, including who voiced them. Don't hesitate to ask for clarifications if something is unclear, and ensure that any decisions or tasks assigned are confirmed by the group.

3. Writing the minutes after the meeting

After the meeting, promptly consolidate your notes while the discussions are still fresh in your mind. The minutes should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. This is a good time to ask the Chair of the meeting to review them, too, before distributing them more widely. 

4. Review and distribution

Once the minutes are drafted, review them for accuracy, grammar, and clarity. Once they're ready, they should be shared with participants and other interested parties promptly after the meeting. This provides a chance for everyone to have a clear common understanding of the meeting outcomes. 

You can create a Share Link on Craft that can be sent out to all attendees, providing them with a chance to review the document and comment/react to the meeting minutes too. If you prefer, you can also export as PDF and send to attendees in a more traditional format instead.

Meeting minutes examples

1. Simple meeting minutes

Use the Simple meeting minutes template

This simple meeting minutes template is suitable for use in any meeting. With space for key items like meeting information, the meeting objective, decisions made, and action items taken from the meeting. You can easily adapt it to suit your next meeting. 

2. Board meeting minutes

Use the board meeting minutes template

Board meetings are the space where a company's leadership and directors make important company decisions. Clear meeting minutes are essential to provide a record of decisions made and the thought process and discussion that led to them. 

3. Quarterly meeting minutes

Use the quarterly meeting minutes template

A team quarterly meeting is a chance for teams to gather to review their progress towards the company's annual goals. These meetings review team performance and provide an opportunity to make a clear plan for the upcoming quarter. Meeting minutes help keep a record of what was spoken about during the quarterly team meeting and can provide context for previous quarterly meetings quickly and easily. 

4. Kick-off meeting minutes

Use the kick-off meeting minutes template

A kickoff meeting is the initial gathering at the start of a project or initiative where stakeholders establish goals, roles, and expectations. Clear meeting minutes from this session are vital because they offer a concrete record of agreed-upon decisions and plans, ensuring clarity and alignment for all involved as the project progresses.

5. Technical post-mortem meeting minutes

Use the post-mortem meeting minutes template

A technical post-mortem meeting is a review session held after a project or event, especially following an incident, to analyze what went right, what went wrong, and how to improve in the future. Clear meeting minutes for such a gathering are crucial as they capture key learnings, ensure accountability, and provide a roadmap for implementing changes to prevent similar issues in the future.

6. Team meeting minutes

Use the team meeting minutes template

A team meeting is a regular gathering of members within a group to discuss tasks, share updates, and align on goals and strategies. Having clear meeting minutes for these sessions is essential as they provide a documented record of discussions, decisions, and action items, ensuring consistency and accountability in the team's endeavors.

7. Check-in meeting minutes

Use the check-in meeting minutes template

A check-in meeting is a brief, routine gathering where team members update each other on their progress, challenges, and next steps. Clear meeting minutes for these interactions are vital as they track commitments, highlight issues, and ensure continuity and understanding amongst participants.

8. Town hall meeting / All hands meeting minutes

Use the town hall meeting minutes template

A town hall meeting is a larger gathering, often within an organization or community, where leaders share updates, future plans, and address concerns or questions from attendees. Clear meeting minutes for these events are essential because they provide a comprehensive record of the information shared and decisions made, ensuring transparency and maintaining trust with the broader audience.

9. Staff meeting minutes

Use the staff meeting minutes template

A staff meeting is a regular assembly of employees to discuss departmental updates, company news, and address operational matters. Clear meeting minutes for these meetings are crucial as they offer a documented overview of discussions and decisions, ensuring all members are aligned and aware of ongoing and upcoming tasks.

10. Scrum meeting minutes

Use the daily scrum meeting minutes template

Scrum meetings are defined by efficiency and consistency, so they might not have meeting minutes in a typical sense. However, it is important to take written notes from these 15-minute daily meetings to ensure teams are fully aligned on what they're working on and to support team accountability. At Craft, we take a unique approach to these daily scrum meetings by combining our asynchronous daily notes for the wider company to get alignment with a synchronous stand-up to check in with our immediate teams. 

Scrums are an important component of agile methodology, a project management system that's built on the concept of continuous incremental improvement. Other agile meetings that we love at Craft are retrospectives, here are five of our favorites: 

11. Emergency meeting minutes

Use the emergency meeting minutes template

An emergency meeting is a sudden gathering called in response to an urgent situation or crisis that requires immediate attention and action. Given the heightened stress and pressure during such meetings, it's easy for details to be overlooked; clear meeting minutes are pivotal to ensure that vital decisions and action items are accurately recorded and acted upon.

12. Backlog refinement meeting minutes

Use the backlog refinement meeting minutes template

A backlog refinement meeting is a session where team members review, prioritize, and detail items in the product backlog to ensure they are ready for upcoming sprints or development cycles. Given the iterative nature of these meetings, having clear minutes is essential to track changes, maintain clarity on decisions made, and ensure a smooth and efficient development process.

Meeting minutes vs AI transcription

With AI transcription so widely available nowadays, do we lose the need for meeting minutes altogether? After all, you could get AI to transcribe a meeting and even provide a summary of the transcription.

At the moment, while AI can easily capture a transcription and summary of a meeting, there’s still a lot of value in the human curation of meeting minutes. For now, the human touch can better capture the subtleties of group agreement and decision-making practices, and can more easily distinguish between important discussion points, and those with less importance.


By carefully noting the attendees, key discussion points, decisions made, and tasks assigned, you provide an indispensable resource that team members can refer back to, ensuring everyone stays on the same page. With a little practice and adherence to the guidelines shared, anyone can master the art of taking effective meeting minutes, turning meetings from potential points of confusion into powerful tools for collaboration and progress.

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