Simple Meeting Note Templates - Freework


15 min read


Simple Meeting Note Templates

15 min read


Notes are not just for students who need to study. The purpose of taking notes is to provide clear insight into previous discussions and decisions. Companies need meeting notes to move the company forward. Meeting notes help establish an action plan, resolution, and feedback for any company operations.

Table of contents

  • Why every firm should take meeting notes

  • What is the difference between the format of Meeting notes and meeting minutes?

  • Taking notes before the meeting

  • What kind of notes should you take?

  • Best Practices on taking meeting notes

  • What should a note-taking template look like?

  • Note-taking for Product Meetings, Team Meetings, Etc.

  • Set Up Your Meeting Note Templates Today

Meeting notes establish the tone of the meeting, the itinerary, and any problems and solutions. Notes should follow a specific roadmap that is easy to follow and read.

Meeting notes and meeting note templates should always answer the topics of the meeting, the audience, and the expectations. Pulling the correct information from the meeting notes is crucial. Without proper note-taking, team members may not have clear instructions to make changes.

Insert, meeting note templates. Templates produce a base model from which all meeting agendas can follow.

Below, you will uncover how meeting notes are essential, the formal and informal versions of meeting notes, how meeting agendas differ from templates, and how to build your own meeting note templates for specific needs.

Why every firm should take meeting notes

Meeting notes are crucial for a company. To produce effective meeting notes, they should be clear, concise, and informative for all stakeholders of any new or relevant information.

Although meeting notes are brief, they should be transparent. The goal of meeting notes is to provide answers, solutions, and feedback.

Without strong meeting notes or a meeting note template, a company can become misinformed. Employers and employees need to be aware of any expectations and changes. Notes help a company avoid chaos.

Meeting notes also provide documentation. Documentation is central for insights, gathering information, and even evidence when needed.

Without meeting notes, accountability can falter. Because meeting notes provide short but detailed information, action items, questions, answers, and responses are all recorded.

What is the difference between the format of Meeting notes and meeting minutes?

The main distinction between meeting notes and meeting minutes is the type of meeting. Meeting types depend on formality. For example, meeting notes are informal annotations. Meeting minutes are officially transcribed documents and cover what was discussed and resolved.

In addition to being formal files, meeting minutes include transcripts of the discussion and require approvals and due dates for team members. Meeting notes do not require transcripts or due dates and will always be informal.

Meeting note templates or meeting minutes templates follow an outline and provide information. Because meeting notes are not formal, a strict guideline is not required. When followed, meeting note templates should still resemble professionalism even though the notes are brief.

Legally, meeting minutes are admissible. Meeting notes are not. However, meeting notes still provide an archive of information.

Taking notes before the meeting

Note-taking relies on preparation. Before the meeting, you should pull information from previous meetings and meeting agendas. Examples would be team members who were away or questions from other meeting notes. From here, you plan where the next meeting is going.

As a functioning team member, the note taker will often hold insight into potential questions and problems that may be raised in the meeting. With this information, one can plan the meeting notes accordingly.

An effective meeting is dependent upon all team members being aware. The awareness stems from the meeting minutes or the meeting notes.

What kind of notes should you take?

Key takeaways, follow-ups, and brainstorming ideas are central to good note-taking. The purpose of meeting notes is to remember and gather all the information. You do not want anything to slip through the cracks.

Your note-taking style is also dependent on what type of meeting it is. For example, notes for team meetings typically involve action items and steps to be completed in a set amount of time. Board meetings or executive meetings are broader. These meetings revolve around company missions and goals, next steps, and future movements.

The meeting agenda may change from meeting to meeting. The meeting outline, however, should be consistent. Meeting outlines should flow into the next meeting and tell a story. The goal is to answer each question and address all feedback.

The proper note-taking tools should also be utilized and prepped with the outline for the company. Typed notes like Google docs or Word docs should be ready to go. The same goes for pens and pads if notes are handwritten.

Best Practices on taking meeting notes

As mentioned previously, the key to good note-taking is to anticipate and answer the following questions, the topics of the meeting, the audience for the notes, and the expectations.

Anticipating the needs of the meeting means retaining knowledge of previous information, company issues, resolutions, etc. As the note-taker, one should not need to rely on others to provide certain information.

A good note-taker can formulate the best meeting note templates and agendas for the team, with these ideas in mind.

jason-goodman-Oalh2MojUuk-unsplash 2.jpg Photo by Jason Goodmann

The topics of the meeting

Meeting note templates need to be centered around the topic of the meeting. For instance, a team meeting will focus on each team member's lineup for the day or week. From this information, one can gather that the topics up for discussion will include items in the pipeline, approvals, new problems that have arisen, and even paid time off

Typical meeting timetables are weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Since most are pre-planned, it is easy to know what the meeting will generally be. You can follow a generic template adding specific topics or information as needed.

As the designated note-taker, you can learn the specific questions or concerns. In the next session, this can be answered. From here, you can properly outline the template and set the tone of the meeting.

The audience for the notes

Meeting notes can be for personal use as well as distribution. Although informal, meeting notes should take the user into account. Knowing the intended audience can influence how the brief notes are written.

Informal notes for board members will always maintain a level of professionalism and high-level information even through shorthand and brief notes. Meeting notes for the team may result in low-level information and action items.

The expectations for the notes

Expectations go right along with the audience. Knowing how the notes will be used can potentially affect how they are written and outlined.

Rules for Taking Good Notes

  • Strategic listening: One should always institute active listening. Active listening is understanding and retaining information before responding or writing anything down. The notetaker should listen for important messages, answers, clarifications, etc.

  • Do not write everything: Writing every word said can be a hassle. As a notetaker, your focus should not be to write everything but to write the important information. The goal of note-taking is to collect information. The information should contain value and serve a purpose or answer a question.

  • Choose the level of importance: As you write or after the meeting, one can choose what information is prioritized. The priority level is crucial in conjunction with the information being written.

Low-level action steps for team members will not be a high priority for executives. However, they will be of importance to the team members. This plays into the meeting note template used.

  • Use a meeting note template: A meeting note template is vital to saving time and effort for note-taking. Although the meeting agenda will change, the meeting template can remain generic.

  • Immediately write the notes: Depending on your note-taking style, you should write notes immediately after something has been said or immediately after the meeting is over. Immediately taking notes ensures that all the information is remembered and notated correctly.

What should a note-taking template look like?

A meeting template should resemble the flow of conversation from previous meetings. Typically, meeting outlines begin with the date and the topics up for discussion. This is followed by action items and questions and answers.

Agenda templates follow who is speaking and what they will speak on. Questions and answers (FAQs), to-do lists, and priorities can all be included.

Informal templates can have a designated design or theme or resemble a basic outline. The choice is up to the department or company. Formal templates for meeting minutes must follow a more rigid design.

As a legal document, meeting minutes can be subject to harshness. Correctness and order are the names of the game. Previously mentioned, meeting minutes are also contingent upon approval. Like meeting notes, meeting minutes are also filed and archived for reference and documentation.

As previously mentioned, prioritization takes precedence on the meeting agenda. Building the template means anticipating importance from the highest to lowest levels.


Photo by Adolfo Felix

Corporate Meeting Notes Example Outlines

Example 1

  • Meeting Details and Information: Meeting Name, Date, Time, Location

  • Meeting Agenda

  • Meeting Notes

  • Action Steps

  • Conclusion

Example 2

  • Meeting Details and Information: Meeting Name, Date, Time, Location

  • Meeting Objectives

  • Topics and Discussions

  • Action Steps

Meeting Details and Information: This section of the template displays the meeting name, the date, location, and time. It also stores any additional information such as attendance, team members or executives, etc.

Meeting Agenda: The agenda covers what’s up for discussion and who will be discussing it. Agendas will differ from meeting to meeting. It can be its own outline or a general summary.

Meeting Notes: This section is for the notes. It can be a summary or a bulleted list of relevant information. Notes will always be brief statements with high priority levels.

Meeting Objectives: The objective section covers the mission and direction for the topics up for discussion. It also provides a solution to any problems brought up during the meeting.

Topics and Discussions: This section tackles the analysis and debate of the meeting by utilizing concise descriptions. Here readers will find questions, answers, and feedback for their use.

Action Steps: Action steps are for specific team members or departments. These items usually have a deadline and are valuable to the organization. Actions items can also be measured. An increase or decrease in revenue, lead generation, engagement, etc. will provide significant statistics for each action step.

Conclusion: The conclusion displays any follow-up information that may need to be addressed at the next meeting, formal resolutions, and due dates for action items.

Learning which meeting outline works best for your company depends on the type of company and meeting. There is a difference in operation between a small business and a large business as well as an entrepreneur and an incorporated company.

Corporations and start-ups have different needs. Therefore, they require action items and objectives that fit their needs.

The meeting notes taken at a start-up will include how the company will move forward and gain success, how the company will operate, publicity, and how the company will find and maintain revenue. Corporate companies discuss the mission and goals of the company, corporate responsibility, stocks and shares, and stakeholders.

No matter which meeting note templates are used, certain information should always be included such as the date, relevant topics, and next steps to effectively move the company forward.

Note-taking for Product Meetings, Team Meetings, Etc.

Each meeting will have a different objective. Team meetings will differ from product meetings and executive meetings.

A part of anticipating the direction of the meeting is knowing the needs of the meeting. This means knowing what needs to be addressed. Product management yields separate results from team meetings.

Note-taking for products means prioritizing product development, research, and feedback. Team meetings require action items for each team member.

The basics of note-taking will remain the same. The difference comes from what needs to be gained from the information.

Set Up Your Meeting Note Templates Today

It is pretty clear why meeting notes or meeting minutes are a must-have. As a team, you can keep track of your progress, goals, KPI's (key performance indicators), revenue, and so much more!

Whether formal or informal, meeting notes provide vital records and record-keeping practices. These records can prove to be pivotal for the future of the company.

No matter what, meeting note templates are essential for business. Start building your today!

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