Meetings are a normal part of life in the business world. Unfortunately, not all meetings are successful in their purpose. Often times this is due to a lack of meeting organization.
With the following free meeting templates, you can easily prepare, record, and recap your meetings for an effective overall outcome.
1. Before the Meeting
One of the most important parts of setting up any meeting is the agenda. This allows the meeting facilitator to provide the participants with objective, discussion points, as well as who will be attending. In addition, an agenda that includes a preparation section can be helpful. This lets you include documents and other materials that are essential to the discussion.
Preparing your attendees as much as possible for the meeting is part of your job as the coordinator. Plus, it keeps the meeting organized and moving along.
This Microsoft Word template from TidyForms is an attractive, professional, and well-laid out option. It provides a clean, table-based appearance for both easy reading and simple scanning. The template begins with the basic meeting details such as title, facilitator, date, time, and location.
In the next section, you will describe the meeting objective. This is a key part of the agenda letting all participants have a clear picture of the intent of the meeting. One to two sentences is usually sufficient as long as it is concise.
The third section is where you can list the meeting attendees along with their department, email address, and phone number. Of course, the fields are optional, depending on the business at hand and your company.
Next, you will list the agenda items for the meeting with the topic, owner, and time. This again lets the participants prepare for their portion of the meeting. You can also keep your meeting on track by listing the times allotted for each topic.
Finally, you will complete the preparation section. You should include and attach items such as documents, diagrams, or emails, as examples, and who is responsible for providing each one.
Each section of this agenda template serves its own purpose and lets you gather the people and materials, as well as set expectations for your meeting.
2. During the Meeting
Capturing notes during a meeting is the next key responsibility of the facilitator, although you should aim to appoint a specific note-taker. Either way, taking accurate meeting notes is essential for success of the meeting objective.
These notes serve as reminders for follow-ups, actions, issues, and conclusions for all participants. So, if you use a meeting minutes template, taking those notes will be much simpler.
The agenda template from TidyForms above comes with a second page for meeting minutes. The format of this page is the same as the agenda and three of the four sections are exactly the same.
The only differences are that action items replace the preparation section and there is a follow-up section for the next meeting. If you are interested in a consistent look and feel for both your agenda and minutes, then this is a great way to go.
However, there is another template for Word from the Microsoft Office website that offers a bit more organization of your notes. You will see that this template has the basic meeting information at the top, like most.
But, what it offers is a section for each topic discussed during the meeting and all details that apply to that particular topic right beneath. This layout is more structured in that you can include the topic, time allotted, presenter, what was discussed, the conclusions, and the resulting action items per each agenda item in one spot. Whereas, the TidyForms minutes templates has a separate section at the bottom for all action items without much detail.
Another helpful feature of this template is the section at the very end which allows you to add special notes. This can be quite useful when additional items come up that may not relate to a specific topic discussed.
You can also include the names of people who pop into your meeting unexpectedly in the Observers section.
3. After the Meeting
Now that your meeting has adjourned, it is time to provide your attendees a follow-up. This meeting recap should summarize the meeting notes taken and action items expected.
Keep in mind that sending sending a recap is always a good idea, even if no action items resulted from the meeting. The meeting summary can serve as a reference for similar meetings and topics or issues that resurface.
This template from Template Lab is a good option. Just fill out the meeting title, date, attendees, location, and note-taker sections at the top. Then, use the table to include your follow-ups.
Under Issues, you can include the related agenda topic, for By add the presenter, and under Discussion carry over from the same details from the meeting notes. Add the Responsible person, Deadline, and you are set.
You can also use this to continually follow-up as action items are completed. For instance, you can add a column to the table and mark an X or date next to finished actions.
Alternatively, you can strike out an entire row to show its completion. Then, save with a new name or date and resend to participants until all items are finished.
If no action items stemmed from your meeting, you can still use this template to provide a meeting summary. Fill out the table with the appropriate details and then under Deadline, enter an indicator that it was completed or not applicable.
If you like this template, you can download it from the Template Lab meeting minutes page. Then, scroll down to Meeting Notes Template 17 to download this template.
Make Your Meeting a Success
Business templates can be handy and for meetings they can be time-savers. Your mind should be on the objective and content of the meeting, not creating documents. So for your next meeting check out these convenient templates for a well-executed outcome.
If you have further suggestions for organizing meetings that you would like to share, please comment below!
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