For several weeks now I’ve been searching for an easy-to-use website or application that would allow me to keep and store the minutes of meetings. The traditional text document approach is no longer a productive way of taking minutes. Simply typing on a blank file does not allow for quick collaboration, updates to the minutes, nor a place to back up and review past minutes.
Back in January we covered the 6 Best Free Online Meeting Tools to Collaborate With Your Team, but now I would add Agreedo as a useful tool for agenda setting, minute taking, and reporting.
Setting Up Meetings
You start off by setting up a meeting on Agreedo and sending out an invitation for team members to sign into the site to view and even provide input to the meeting agenda.
You can set up online meetings as Public – which are visible to everyone – or Private where it is only visible to people listed as attendees. You can select to have minutes “moderated,” which means only the creator of the meeting can add or modify items. All other participants can only add comments.
When you send out invitations, invitees will receive an email with a calendar date attachment that can be opened in Outlook, Notes, or iCal. The online tool itself works in all major browsers.
Agreedo offers four different agenda items: Info, Decision, Task, and Topic. These items actually help you see what is the most important information to add to the minutes of meetings. There’s typically lots of discussion and sometimes arguments about very important issues at a meeting, but in order to get things done, tasks have to be identified and assigned, and important decisions have to be made.
So before a meeting is held, it’s important to make and prioritize a list of agenda items for the meeting. If a meeting consists of the same team members then you might want to leave the minutes unmoderated so that others can add items to the minutes.
Meeting items can be moved around, but unfortunately there’s no way to assign duration times to each agenda item, though you can set up a duration for the entire meeting itself.
You can also put sub-items under each major item, and each section of items can be hidden as they are completed in the meeting.
What’s most useful about Agreedo is that agendas are posted online, which allows for collaboration. Team members can also sign into Agreedo by either registering on the site or using their Google log-in.
If you allow the minutes to be unmoderated, invited participants can modify agenda items. This is a good idea, but a more advanced process would allow for only selected invitees to modify agenda items and not every participant invited to a meeting.
If you select to have a meeting moderated, it means participants can only add comments to the agenda items. Even this type of collaboration is useful for making meetings more productive because you can actually start getting input to the meeting before the meeting is held. In addition to comments being added to meeting items, files can also be attached to agenda items. Links to online resources though will need to be posted in the comments section. There’s not a dedicated tool for URLs.
Another feature I would wish for Agreedo is that the Decision item be set up so that direct polls can be posted for say the date of an event, the amount of money to be spent for a budgeted item, and other voting decisions that need to be made.
When you hold meetings, Agreedo includes a built-in timer. If you’re holding a meeting online, participants can use a tool like WebEx to view the minutes online. Or participants can log into the minutes of the meeting and refresh the page as minutes are updated during the meeting.
Before and during the meeting, you can assign tasks and due dates to individuals in the meeting.
Post Meeting Features
What makes an online tool like Agreedo more useful than traditional methods is that all the minutes can be stored online for review, as well as printed or exported as an Excel document. You can also send a link to the minutes online. Participants can receive email reminders about the tasks they signed up for as well as view all the tasks assigned to them.
There’s also a “follow-up” meeting feature which allows you to check and carry over agenda items from the previous meeting to the next. This is a little time saver especially for people assigned to take minutes and do the follow-up.
No doubt many users of Agreedo will have various feature requests for this online site, but for now I’m just glad that it exists, for it is long overdue.
Agreedo is currently totally free with no pricing plans. Let us know what you think of this site and what you would like to see added to it.
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