Did It In Minutes: The Art of Documenting Meeting Notes


If elegant technical help pages are the shiny, sleek roadsters of the documentation world, the plebeian meeting minutes are the dump trucks. Despite being regarded as an unglamorous business tool, minutes serve an important function for communicating effectively with colleagues.

Meeting minutes document changes to business operations, chronicle the decisions that were made, capture the essential gist of discussions, and serve as handy references for those colleagues who were unable to attend the meeting--or for those who indulged in siestas during the gathering. Minutes can even justify whether a meeting was necessary in the first place.

Effective minutes can save companies labor costs: well-written meeting notes can prevent both meeting organizers and absent team members valuable time that would otherwise be spent trying to bring absentees up to speed. Accurate meeting notes can clearly define policies and expectations in a workgroup.

In this presentation, we will discuss best practices for documenting and curating meeting notes. Using meeting templates, de-mystifying technical jargons, breaking free of the chronological reporting, adhering to the WTF (Write The Facts) approach, carving time for editing notes, charting follow-up tasks, and judiciously spicing up otherwise-mundane topics are  examples of these best practices. Special emphasis will be placed on writing with clarity and empathy in mind for team members, whether they were present at the meeting or not.