What is it: Action minutes, is a form for improving the meeting processes, in tandem with planning and evaluating meetings. An agenda can help to clarify a meeting’s structure, responsibilities and proposed outcomes. Meetings are the most costly communication activity in many organizations. Although many of us find that over half of our time is spent interacting with others in meetings, there seems to be a general feeling of frustration when it comes to attending them largely because of ineffective processes, inefficient forms and facilitators who are unable to intervene at crucial moments. If used properly, both the meeting agenda and the action minutes are forms that can be central to keeping members accountable.
Why use it: To provide an organization with a form for improving their meeting processes, in tandem with planning and evaluating meetings. An agenda can help to clarify a meeting’s structure, desired purpose and proposed outcomes. It can also clarify who should and shouldn’t attend a meeting and help a facilitator plan for unexpected issues.
Where to use it: The action minutes template will help run a meeting smoothly with better outcomes achieved.
When to use it: The Action Minutes template is used before (Preparation) the meeting starts, during the meeting, as key issues are discussed and people assigned to the issues and again after the meeting for follow-up and all people to have a copy so there is an understanding for what they will need to complete.
How to use it: Prepare to set aside 10 – 20 minutes of preparation time before using both forms. It takes time to review old minutes before preparing an agenda, as well as asking other team members for agenda items to be included. If you’ve never used action minutes before, taking time to review the form will help you be better prepared to use it. Be sure to capture the essential information and ask the facilitator or other team members to assist you if you don’t hear other members clearly committing to specific tasks and/or a timeline for the completion of said tasks. Print the team ground rules on the agenda form for easy reference.
Business and other meetings commonly assign tasks to individuals (or bodies). Usually (but not always) this is someone who is attending the meeting. This is known as "placing an action". The assignment of a task to an individual is an important decision by the meeting and so all actions must be accurately recorded in the minutes. Reviewing past actions often takes a prominent place in the agenda.