Meeting minutes template

Ever left a meeting and thought, “what was the point of that?” Yeah, we get it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Learn how creating a customized meeting minutes template in Asana can drive purposeful, action-focused meetings.

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[Product ui] Meeting minutes project in Asana, spreadsheet-style project view (List)

Picture your upcoming week. How many meetings are you scheduled to attend? Of them, how many are you looking forward to? And most importantly, how many do you think will actually be productive—or relevant to your day-to-day work? 

If you feel overloaded with unnecessary, unproductive meetings, you’re not alone. In fact, the 2022 Anatomy of Work Index found that workers lose an average of nearly three hours on unnecessary meetings every week. 

So how can you turn inefficient, time-consuming meetings into productive, actionable ones? One way is with meeting minutes templates. 

What are meeting minutes?

Meeting minutes are a formal note-taking format used to document meeting agendas, discussion topics, and outcomes. Despite their name, meeting minutes aren’t about meeting length—their purpose is to keep track of important decisions and resulting action items

While similar in name and function, meeting minutes are different from meeting notes, which are informal and don’t have a set structure. And you don’t need both—typically, you'd use detailed meeting minutes to record more formal meetings (think company- or team-wide updates) and meeting notes in more casual settings, like recurring 1:1s. Technically, though, it’s up to you and the other people in your meeting. If you like the structure of meeting minutes as much as we do, you can adjust the format so it works with most meeting types. 

Standard meeting minutes templates should include:

  • The date and time of the meeting

  • Meeting attendees, including present and absent members

  • Important discussion points 

  • Decisions made during the meeting

  • Resulting action items and next steps

  • The date and time of upcoming meetings 

What is a meeting minutes template?

A meeting minutes template is a reusable resource used to organize, track, and share meeting minutes easily across your organization. Formal meeting minutes templates make taking meeting notes easier by providing structure for your meetings and visibility for the wider team. With meeting minutes templates, you can be confident your meetings will keep projects moving forward—instead of falling into the “should have been an email” category. 

Benefits of a meeting minutes template

If you feel like you’re wasting time in meetings, it’s probably because you are. According to the Anatomy of Work Index, workers spend 129 hours in unnecessary meetings a year. And that’s once the meetings have started—meaning the stat doesn’t account for the work about work that goes into scheduling meetings, drafting agendas, and getting all attendees on the same page. 

Creating a meeting minutes template can help reduce the upfront work that goes into planning and prepping for meetings. From scrap paper and notes templates to documents and spreadsheets, there are many ways you can keep track of your meeting minutes. But using a project management tool will give you the greatest advantage since it allows you to set up a templatized version of your meeting minutes, which you can then duplicate across teams and meetings. 

Plus, digital meeting minutes templates are always up-to-date—there’s no such thing as an outdated version. They’re also more accessible for the broader team and don’t require manual follow-ups, further reducing the busywork that comes with setting up meetings and recording notes. 

Other benefits of digital meeting minutes templates include:

  • Keep track of all your meeting agendas and notes in one place

  • Store meeting minutes in an easily accessible location for all team members

  • Give visibility to stakeholders who may not be able to attend every meeting

  • Turn action items into tasks and tag relevant team members for accountability 

  • Document important decisions and quickly access historical meeting minutes for future reference 

  • Track progress of work that results from meetings, so nothing falls through the cracks

How to use a meeting minutes template

Digital meeting minutes templates are easy to create and use. To start, create a basic template with the following sections: 

  • Basic meeting information: The project or team name, the meeting’s purpose, the date of meeting, the meeting attendees, and any relevant logistics information 

  • Agenda items: Meeting topics to discuss, who leads each discussion, and the amount of time allotted for the topic

  • Action items: Any takeaways and action items that come out of the meeting, including the task, the owner, and the due date 

  • Upcoming meeting information: Relevant information about the next meeting, including its time and date

From here, you can adjust your template depending on the type of meeting you’re using it for. As you move through your meeting, check off discussion topics you’ve covered and add any action-driven decisions to the “action items'' section. Then, assign these tasks to owners once the meeting is over—and watch all that talk turn to action.

Read: What are after action reviews (AARs)?

Integrated features

  • Subtasks. Sometimes a to-do is too big to capture in one task. If a task has more than one contributor, a broad due date, or stakeholders that need to review and approve before it can go live, subtasks can help. Subtasks are a powerful way to distribute work and split tasks into individual components—while keeping the small to-dos connected to the overarching context of the parent task. Break tasks into smaller components or capture the individual components of a multi-step process with subtasks.

  • Milestones. Milestones represent important project checkpoints. By setting milestones throughout your project, you can let your team members and project stakeholders know how you’re pacing towards your goal. Use milestones as a chance to celebrate the little wins on the path towards the big project goal.

  • Dependencies. Mark a task as waiting on another task with task dependencies. Know when your work is blocking someone else’s work, so you can prioritize accordingly. Teams with collaborative workflows can easily see what tasks they’re waiting on from others, and know when to get started on their portion of work. When the first task is completed, the assignee will be notified that they can get started on their dependent task. Or, if the task your work is dependent on is rescheduled, Asana will notify you—letting you know if you need to adjust your dependent due date as well.

  • Adding tasks to multiple projects. The nature of work is cross-functional. Teams need to be able to work effectively across departments. But if each department has their own filing system, work gets stalled and siloed. Asana makes it easy to track and manage tasks across multiple projects. This doesn't just reduce duplicative work and increase cross-team visibility. It also helps your team see tasks in context, view who’s working on what, and keep your team and tasks connected.

Recommended apps

  • Zoom. Asana and Zoom are partnering up to help teams have more purposeful and focused meetings. The Zoom + Asana integration makes it easy to prepare for meetings, hold actionable conversations, and access information once the call is over. Meetings begin in Asana, where shared meeting agendas provide visibility and context about what will be discussed. During the meeting, team members can quickly create tasks within Zoom, so details and action items don’t get lost. And once the meeting is over, the Zoom + Asana integration pulls meeting transcripts and recordings into Asana, so all collaborators and stakeholders can review the meeting as needed.

  • Clockwise. With the Clockwise + Asana integration, you can add Asana tasks as time blocks in your Google Calendar. The Clockwise + Asana integration allows you to specify the duration of tasks, when they happen, and whether Clockwise can automatically reschedule them. Add tasks to your calendar and make time to get work done.

  • Gmail. With the Asana for Gmail integration, you can create Asana tasks directly from your Gmail inbox. Any tasks you create from Gmail will automatically include the context from your email, so you never miss a beat. Need to refer to an Asana task while composing an email? Instead of opening Asana, use the Asana for Gmail add-on to simply search for that task directly from your Gmail inbox.

  • Microsoft Teams. With the Microsoft Teams + Asana integration, you can search for and share the information you need without leaving Teams. Easily connect your Teams conversations to actionable items in Asana. Plus, create, assign, and view tasks during a Teams Meeting without needing to switch to your browser.

FAQs

What types of meetings should use meeting minutes templates?

Traditionally, you'd use a meeting minute template for formal meetings, such as company-wide meetings, board meetings, or stakeholder meetings. However, the structure provided by a meeting minutes template is also helpful for informal meetings like team meetings or meetings with specific purposes, such as kick-off meetings, post-mortems, and stand-up meetings. Simply adjust your meeting minutes template as needed.

How do I write an effective meeting agenda?

An efficient meeting minutes template sets the foundation for an effective meeting agenda. When crafting your meeting agenda, include information that defines the meeting’s purpose and tells your team what to expect during the meeting. Make the agenda actionable by assigning discussion topics to owners and allocating enough time for each agenda item. Finally, send the meeting agenda, as well as any relevant pre-reading material, out in advance so your team members have time to prep. 

What should I include in my meeting minutes template?

All meeting minutes templates should include the same basic sections—meeting information, discussion topics, action items, and upcoming meeting information. From here, you can build out your template to include meeting-specific information, such as why you’re holding the meeting and what you hope to achieve. Once you’re actually using the template, fill out the agenda items with discussion points, and build out action items based on what the team discussed in the meeting. 

How do you create tasks based on action items from the meeting?

You’ve probably had it happen before: You hold a productive meeting. You make important decisions and talk about next steps. You hop off the call feeling good, and then—nothing. No follow-up sent. No actions taken. And the momentum you thought you were building fizzles out. This is a pretty common occurrence with inefficient meetings. But meeting minutes templates change all that. With a digital meeting minutes template, you can create tasks based on action items, and make sure decisions actually get done. Simply add a to-do in the “action items'' section of your meeting minutes and assign it to the person who will own the task with a due date. 

How can a meeting minutes template help me run more efficient and effective meetings?

There are a lot of reasons meetings waste time. Maybe they lack focus, are too long, or happen too frequently (or too infrequently). Whatever the case, if you consistently leave meetings wondering what you spent the last half hour talking about—or why you even held the meeting at all—a meeting minute template can help. By identifying the purpose and the goal of each meeting, ensuring the right people are attending, and assigning action items in real-time, meeting minutes templates give structure and purpose to your meetings that will keep the momentum going long after you’ve ended the call. 

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