The way we develop minutes at Tadum is by having them entered directly into the agenda since this is the outline you have created to define what will be covered in the meeting.
Let’s back up a step to the agenda preparation. Your agenda should lay out what will be discussed in your meeting and the outcomes that you want to achieve. Meetings generally have 5 sections:
- ToDo - Queued tasks that should get done between now and the next meeting. Short term, small tasks. These require action by a specific person by a specific date.
- Attachments - Any outside reports/documents/links that should be reviewed prior to the meeting to provide context.
- Discussions - The things you want to talk about to achieve the outcome of the meeting. This should result in an action (ToDo) or decision.
- Updates - Summaries of longer term/ larger tasks or goals that are either on target, at risk or off target. These are meant to be quick with any required discussion moved into Discussions. These require action by a specific person by a specific date.
- Metrics - Quantifiable measure that is used to track and assess the status of a specific business process or performance.
See what I did there? :)
By recording the discussions, comments and statuses of items under each of these sections you keep everything organized and clear.
For tense and phrases, it depends on the level of formality of the meeting. If it is a very formal meeting, you will likely be following Robert's Rules Of Order, which is the most widely used manual of meeting procedure in the world. This will give you a reference for when a motion needs to be made or when you have quorum, etc.
For less formal meetings, you can default to plain language. For tense, you use past tense for things that are being reported on that have occurred in the past, and future tense for items that are expected to occur in the future. Meeting minutes are a record of a snapshot in time and should reflect that time, not when they will be read later.