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Meetings are a normal part of life in the business world. Unfortunately, not all meetings are successful Fed Up Of Inefficient Meetings? Send These 8 Rules To Your Boss Fed Up Of Inefficient Meetings? Send These 8 Rules To Your Boss If a meeting is well organised, there's no reason it can't enhance productivity, sense of purpose, and morale. Here are some rules to follow for effective meetings. Read More 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 15 Best Meeting Agenda Templates for Word 15 Best Meeting Agenda Templates for Word When it is time to plan a meeting, you should not have to waste time creating an agenda from scratch. Many meeting agenda templates for Microsoft Word can get you off to a great start. Read More .

The Template

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.

3 Free Templates to Keep Meetings on Track and Useful MeetingAgendaTop Word1

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.

3 Free Templates to Keep Meetings on Track and Useful MeetingObjectiveAttendees Word

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.

3 Free Templates to Keep Meetings on Track and Useful MeetingAgendaPrep Word

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 12 Best Meeting Minutes Templates for Professionals 12 Best Meeting Minutes Templates for Professionals Taking notes is the fist step in keeping all meeting attendees on the same page. Templates make capturing those meeting minutes easy. We compiled a variety of templates for Word, OneNote, Evernote, and Google Docs. Read More , taking those notes will be much simpler.

The Template

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.

3 Free Templates to Keep Meetings on Track and Useful MeetingMinutesActionNext Word

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.

3 Free Templates to Keep Meetings on Track and Useful MeetingMinutesTop Word

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.

3 Free Templates to Keep Meetings on Track and Useful MeetingMinutesActionItems Word

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.

3 Free Templates to Keep Meetings on Track and Useful MeetingMinutesEnd Word

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 The Truth About Meetings -- And It's Ugly The Truth About Meetings -- And It's Ugly Meeting are meant to be productive, right? Read More  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.

The Template

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.

3 Free Templates to Keep Meetings on Track and Useful MeetingFollowUpPt1 Word

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.

3 Free Templates to Keep Meetings on Track and Useful MeetingFollowUpPt2 Word

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 The Best Business Plan Templates The Best Business Plan Templates Every business needs a plan. These templates will make writing your business plan easy. A clever structure, guiding questions, and a smart design will give you a head-start into your new career. Read More 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!

Image Credits: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

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  1. David Terron
    February 2, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    If you're going to recommend stuff can you ensure it doesn't entail people having to fill in Captcha THEN they have the cheek to ask for your email. Just another way of harvesting address....not going to bother thank you! Tidyforms I'm looking at YOU 8-)

    • Sandy Stachowiak
      February 2, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      Hi David,

      You do have to enter the CAPTCHA, but you do not have to put in your email address unless you want the template sent to you. After entering the CAPTCHA and moving to the next screen, just click the Download button.

      Hope that helps!
      Sandy