In business, meetings are essential moments of exchanges between employees, with customers or suppliers. Whether they are commercial, operational or information meetings, they must always be the subject of a report. This document is based on the discussions held and the decisions taken.
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Why do a meeting report?
Although it is a time-consuming task, writing down minutes is essential for every company meeting. This document is used to report on an event (interview, mission, visit, etc.) or an activity linked to a company or a service over a defined period. He relates in writing the words made orally during the session. The meeting report symbolizes the putting into practice of the proverb, “words fly away, writings remain”.
A meeting report is above all a valuable reminder in the life of a company. Writing this document makes it possible to keep track of the information exchanged. It is also the reference document which records the history of the decisions made and the actions to be carried out. It can be used to remind employees of the various topics discussed in previous meetings.
The purpose of the meeting report is to accurately report the progress of the meeting. It is a question of reproducing with exactitude the speeches of the participants and the established decisions, without interpretation, neither addition, nor deletion of information. For each meeting, the report must be drawn up in total neutrality and objectivity, without any advice from the editor.
The meeting report is also proving to be an excellent communication tool within the company. It can be widely distributed so that all employees are informed about the discussions and decisions taken during a meeting, whether or not they attended. Used as a basis for an exchange, this document turns out to be an interesting medium since it refers to written words rather than memories of oral conversations.
Thanks to the meeting report, the company can set precise goals for its employees. Everyone knows their responsibility in each project and the actions they must carry out. The subjects raised during the discussions are then translated into concrete resolutions. This document is used as an operational management tool to define and monitor the actions to be implemented. The meeting report is thus a capital tool for obtaining a global vision of the company’s projects.
Writing a meeting report also helps to better prepare for subsequent meetings. During the various meetings, this document is used to take stock of the progress of all the tasks accomplished or to be carried out. It also makes it possible to set and meet deadlines for each project.
Finally, the meeting report records the decisions taken or the votes taken during the meeting, regardless of the type of meeting.
How to write a meeting report?
Create a report template
To write a meeting report efficiently, the writer can establish a framework upstream. It will impose a layout and a structure which will harmonize all the reports and will thus facilitate reading and locating in the different versions. The screen will also save precious time in the drafting of reports, by avoiding the editor to redo all his layout at each meeting.
This template must show the various essential and predefined information that make up the meeting report. This may include the following elements:
- the name of the company (including the logo for example);
- the title of the report;
- the place of the meeting;
- the start date and time of the meeting;
- the names of the participants and their function;
- the purpose of the meeting;
- the agenda;
- the date and place of the next meeting;
- the name of the report writer;
- the date of the drafting of the report.
When writing the report, the writer will then only have to add the elements noted during the meeting:
- details of the topics covered;
- the decisions taken and the actions to be taken for each project;
- the deadlines for the actions to be implemented;
- the names of the people responsible for implementing the actions;
- the names of those present, absent and excused;
- the end time of the meeting.
Take notes during the meeting
Listening to the information exchanged during the meeting in order to memorize it is not enough to write an effective report. To establish that it is reliable and precise, it is essential to take notes during the session. Note-taking can be done in a notebook or directly on the computer to gain speed. In order not to forget details, it is also possible to record the meeting on a telephone or a dictaphone, with the agreement of the company and with respect for confidentiality.
Write the report
It is best to write up the minutes at the end of the meeting, as long as the ideas are still fresh. When writing this document, you should focus on the different stages of the meeting, but also on the key information discussed. A well-written meeting report should be clear, relevant and objective. Each term used must make it possible to transcribe as faithfully as possible the words of the participants. To do this, the use of the first person singular and plural is to be excluded. The third person singular and the passive voice are used to emphasize the neutral character of the report. It is also advisable to use the present tense and to use the specific vocabulary, even technical of the company. The meeting report should also be concise. The ideal therefore remains to make short and formal sentences.
Depending on the topics covered and the volume of information, the editor can choose between three types of reports:
- the analytical report, which takes up the debates from a chronological basis in order to highlight the opinions of each participant;
- the thematic report, which highlights the facts and results related to each subject raised during the meeting;
- the synoptic report, which presents in tabular form the subjects discussed and the decisions taken for each topic dealt with.
Proofread the meeting report
Once the meeting report has been written, a proofreading phase is always necessary. The goal of this step is to make sure that you have not missed important information and that all the elements of the report are coherent. It is also necessary to ensure that the report does not contain any French error or typing error. To avoid misunderstandings and omissions, the editor may ask meeting participants to proofread the minutes. They will thus be able to clarify certain passages or provide more details.
To go further, download this free guide to developing a customer implementation process.