Every working professional is aware that meetings are an essential part of the workforce. Meetings help organizations discuss important topics like deadlines of projects, milestones achieved, objectives of the organization, and many other important items. So, if you are someone who forgets everything the moment the meeting is over, meeting notes and meeting minutes are your best allies. Both are useful tools that help in documenting the meeting and serve specific purposes. Not many are aware of the difference between meeting notes and meeting minutes. Thus, here we will establish how Meeting Notes differ from Meeting Minutes.
Meeting Notes are nothing but a summary of important details discussed during the meeting. These are exactly what the name implies – notes written on a document. They are quick reference points that any participant in the meeting can take. Some of the important components of meeting notes are ideas, deadlines, milestones, goals, etc. The main objective of meeting notes is to help in remembering the important details of the meeting. These are informal and do not have a fixed format. When written in an organized yet simple manner, these notes help professionals remember the important details of the meeting. So, for professionals taking meeting notes during a meeting can be very productive and help them in achieving their work goals.
Meeting Minutes or Minutes of Meeting abbreviated as MoM are a formal documentation of a meeting. They are a detailed record of the meeting and include details like a list of the attendees and absentees of the meeting. The MoM documents also have include the start and end timings of the meeting. They also help professionals in recording the key topics discussed, actions or votes taken, and decisions made during the meeting. Usually, one of the participants of the meeting is responsible for taking minutes of the meeting. In some cases, the minutes-taker is the project manager itself or a professional assigned by the project manager. Since MoM documents are formal, they are generally used for official record purposes like Board Meetings, Auditor briefings, and Court proceedings.
Meeting Notes vs. Meeting Minutes
From the above outline of meeting notes and meeting minutes, we can conclude that both meeting notes and meeting minutes are an excellent form of documentation for meetings. In a meeting minutes document, the information is more detailed and structured as compared to meeting notes. The meeting notes can have the same information as the meeting minutes in an informal manner. Both meeting notes and meeting minutes are a real-time record of the meeting. Therefore, they follow a similar pattern of using shorthand and abbreviations to write the important details of the meeting. They must be logical and sensible so that everyone can understand them. These similarities between meeting notes and meeting minutes are the reason why both terms are sometimes confused with one another.
How are Meeting Notes different from Meeting Minutes?
Here are 6 key differences between Meeting Notes and Meeting Minutes:
- Meeting Notes are informal whilst meeting minutes are a formal documentation of a meeting.
- Meeting Minutes is a transcript of the meeting whereas meeting notes mention the important details of the meeting only.
- A MoM document is structured and has a template. There is no structure to meeting notes as they depend on the individual style and preference of the note-taker.
- Minutes of Meeting detail the agenda of the meeting and are shared with the participants. While meeting notes are kept for personal reference and are not shared with other attendees or absentees of the meeting.
- Minutes are taken by a designated minutes-taker and are assigned prior to the meeting. There is no need to have a designated note-taker because notes are taken for recall and remembrance.
- The minutes-taker can prepare the MoM template in advance and share the agenda of the meeting with the participants. The project manager or the board members can approve the MoM document before the meeting. Meeting Notes do not require any prior approval.
Although meeting notes are used for personal reference, they can be shared with other attendees or absentees of the meeting at their request. Thus, it is vital that the note-taker follows a simple and organized method for taking meeting notes. Both meeting notes and meeting minutes help in increasing the productivity of the organization. By recording important details of the meeting, professionals can stay updated with their tasks and successfully attain the objective of their organizations.
Important company meetings or board meetings must have a definitive plan like a board meeting agenda and recording board meeting minutes to become more productive. This helps organizations to check the progression of multiple organizational operations as well as keep a track of the long-term goals. Sharing the board meeting agendas among the participants of the board meeting in advance and transcription of the meeting using board meeting minutes will improve the effectiveness of the meeting.
Therefore, we have established that meeting notes and meeting minutes are two different forms of documentation of a meeting. Both meeting notes and meeting minutes are recorded in real-time and are written in a clear and concise manner. They help stakeholders of the organization remember important details of the meeting when they are written in a simple and organized format.
Project Managers usually use meeting notes more frequently than meeting minutes as they are more suitable for a formal setting. However, they must be knowledgeable in taking effective meeting notes as well as meeting minutes. Aspiring project managers can learn about the right way to take meeting notes and meeting minutes along with a thorough understanding of the project management methodology using our PMP (Project Management Professional) Certification Training Course. This will help them in earning the prestigious PMP Certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI) and successfully attain the long-term objectives of their organizations.