4 Meeting Notes Templates: Board Meeting, Agenda, and More

4 Meeting Notes Templates: Board Meeting, Agenda, and More

Aug 8, 2023

Have you ever turned up to a meeting intending to take notes, only to find yourself with a blank piece of paper or an empty Google Doc, wondering what to write? Or have you tried to review notes from a previous meeting and had trouble understanding what you wrote? Next time, try using a meeting notes template!

A meeting notes template is a document you can use to take effective meeting notes or meeting minutes. It’s still (mostly) blank, but has helpful prompts that you can fill in with discussion topics and action items.

Here’s what to look for in a meeting notes template, along with four template examples you can use at your next meeting.

What Is a Meeting Notes Template?

Meeting notes template: contestant from the Master Chef talking

A meeting notes template is a customizable document that can help you prepare for your meeting and take better meeting notes in three key ways:

  • By reminding you which items to capture in your notes
  • By keeping your notes organized on the page
  • By providing a consistent format from one meeting to the next

A meeting notes template is different from a meeting agenda template, which is used to guide the flow of the meeting. A meeting notes template doesn’t have any impact on the meeting itself — it just allows you to keep an accurate record of it.

When you use a meeting notes template, you’ll end up with more consistent notes after each meeting, even if you rotate note-taking responsibilities from week to week.

You can also go one step further and use an automated note-taking tool like Anchor AI. Tools like these take notes for you so you can stay focused on the meeting.

What Makes an Effective Meeting Notes Template?

An effective meeting notes template is tailored to the purpose of the meeting. Need to take formal meeting minutes for a business meeting? Use a detailed template. Taking notes for your own personal use? You can afford to be a bit more casual.

Here are four things that should go into your meeting notes every time:

Meeting Details

Start your meeting notes off right by capturing basic details of the meeting. When and where did it take place? Who were the meeting participants? This will put the meeting into context when you look at the notes later or send them out in a follow-up email.

If you can, pre-fill these details before the meeting starts, that way you don’t have to spend the beginning of the meeting scrambling to get the basic info down.

Agenda Items

Your meeting notes template should leave room for all of the discussion points on the agenda. If the facilitator sent out the agenda in advance, add them to your template. Otherwise, just leave room for Agenda Item #1, Agenda Item #2, and so on.

Having a dedicated space on the page for each agenda item is important: It ensures that your notes stay organized and don’t read like a journal entry.

Action Items

Next, you’ll want to record any action items that come up during the meeting. These are upcoming tasks that team members need to complete outside of the meeting.

Depending on your meeting notes format, you can record action items as a to-do list at the bottom of the page or as bullet points in the margins. Each action item should have an assignee and a due date. Review them at the end of the meeting and add them to your project management software or action item tracker.

Key Takeaways

Key takeaways are the main discussion points or ideas to come out of a meeting. These aren’t necessary for every type of meeting, but can be helpful if you’ll be sending out a summary of the meeting to stakeholders who weren’t able to attend.

You can highlight key takeaways in the margins, or use an automated note-taking tool like Anchor AI to summarize the key points of the meeting for you.

4 Meeting Notes Template Examples

Ready to start taking great notes? Whether you’re taking notes for a team meeting or a nonprofit board meeting, use one of these free templates to get started:

1. Cornell Method Template

The Cornell note-taking method has a long history in colleges and universities, but you can also use it to take notes during a webinar, a one-on-one meeting with a colleague, or a brainstorming meeting that calls for casual but organized notes.

The format is simple: The left column is for topics and keywords, the right column is for notes, and the bottom row is a summary. Either use this template, or create your own version in Microsoft OneNote or another note-taking app:

Meeting notes template: Cornell Method Template

2. Quadrant Method Template

The Quadrant note-taking method is similar to the Cornell method in that it organizes your notes visually across the page, rather than in chronological order. Use them for team meetings, project planning meetings, all-hands meetings, and more.

Fill out the header with basic details, then break the page up into four quadrants: one is for notes, one is for questions, one is for action items that are assigned to you, and one is for action items that are assigned to other team members:

Meeting notes template: Quadrant Method Template

3. Meeting Agenda Notes Template

This template is for a slightly more formal meeting with a meeting facilitator and agenda. Since you already know which topics will be covered, you can prepare your template or outline in advance to help you take more thorough notes or meeting minutes.

Simply create a field for each agenda item and fill it out as you go along:

Meeting Agenda Notes Template

4. Board Meeting Minutes Template

Finally, there may be times when you need to take even more detailed notes, such as for a nonprofit board meeting or business meeting. You’ll have a few more sections of the meeting to cover, such as committee reports and announcements.

You’ll also need to approve the minutes from your most recent meeting, so be sure to have those on hand. The more detailed your notes, the more likely you are to end up with effective meeting minutes that don’t require many edits or amendments.

Board Meeting Minutes Template

Another Solution: Have AI Take Notes for You

When you use templates to take meeting notes, it can make your job easier and ensure that you capture all of the important details — but it still requires a lot of focus, and can get in the way of your ability to actively participate in the meeting.

To make the process even easier, ditch the templates and use Anchor AI to take notes for you. Our AI-powered tool can take notes for you in real time or write up a summary later. It can even identify action items and assign them a team member and due date automatically, resulting in less work for your note-taker and more productive meetings overall.

Sign up today to see how automated meeting notes and action items could change the game in your job.

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