Meeting minutes are necessary overhead when running an effective meeting. The need to organize a formal agenda, track action items, decision and distribute minutes increases with the meeting’s importance. Managing meeting minutes still creates administrative hassle tracking action items from meeting to meeting or easily retaining or retrieving past meeting minutes. Fortunately, there are impressive meeting minutes software solutions that enable teams to become more effective than the usual juggling act across a Microsoft Word agenda, meeting notices and a spreadsheet of action items.
If you are running a board meeting, executive steering committee or senior management review, you’ll want to have a well organize agenda with meeting minutes. If you are running a short 15 minute stand up, meeting minute software is not likely needed. If you manage a lot of meetings, then you’ll find these four excellent meeting minute software solutions will help manage the administrative hassle and improve communication.
The Search for Easy To Use Meeting Minute Software
While searching for meeting minute software, I was looking for solutions that were web-based, supported agenda collaboration, maintained a historical repository and kept a log of ongoing action items. The five applications that met my criteria included:
|Meeting Minute Software||Website|
There are many software solutions available for meeting minutes ranging from Microsoft Word, OneNote, Google Docs, Evernote and other individual tools. This article focuses on the web-based solutions that keep all attendees informed without searching the email inbox or ensuring the latest amended notes were on a shared drive. Let’s dive into each of the four applications.
Beenote offers meeting management solutions for boards, committees and project teams. If your organization has any kind of meeting requiring an agenda, then Beenote has it covered with a wide range of functionality coupled with an easy to use application. They have successfully engineering a solution that works well for a structured, formal meeting as well as the more dynamic and less format meeting where notes and actions are still required.
Beenote has a ton of features including:
- Full integration with Microsoft 365 ( web and Outlook) and Google calendar for meeting scheduling and task follow up
- Agenda planning with draft and approval mode so your team can collaborate on important agendas
- Objectives are assigned to each agenda item to inform, exchange views, generate ideas, consult or decide
- Voice recording of meeting all or part
- Visible and audible Automatic Timekeeper per subject and meeting overall
- Real-time sharing of notetaking
- Link to a URL and files accessible per subject
- Minutes can be completed during the meeting
- Notes, task and decision support per subject
- Statistical data available for the administrators
- Search functionality for all meeting
- Minutes can be viewed by all, limit to a team or the participants
- Support multiple viewers, PC, tablets and mobile in both Android, iOS and native web formats
I liked how objectives were assigned to each agenda topic and how notes, decisions and tasks were easily created under each agenda topic. In agenda planning, meeting organizers often just list the items for discussion without clarifying the outcome of the specific agenda topic. Including the objective with each agenda item is a nice feature that rounds out the agenda.
In Beenote, each agenda item can have multiple notes, decision and tasks created during the meeting. The meeting minute software itself is very easy to use and reordering individual elements is a click away. Tasks are assigned to meeting participants and each person’s tasks appear on their personal dashboard.
Beenote also has an innovative voice recording feature that allows the meeting scribe to record a segment of the discussion or the entire agenda item discussion. If you ever had to be the scribe in the meeting, this feature will save you from being overwhelmed with “who said what” during those active discussions.
After the meeting, the meeting organizer can make adjustments to any notes, tasks or decisions before publishing and distributing the minutes to the attendees. Unpublished minutes can be edited but once the minutes are published, the minutes can not be edited. If published minutes need to be revised, the meeting owner can unpublish the minutes and make the appropriate edits.
Once tasks are created, the project manager in me wouldn’t be satisfied unless I could track the open tasks and overall statistics. Beenote provides a nice set of statistics for meeting attendance, meetings, and task tracking.
Overall, I found Beenote easy to use and helpful to organize decisions and discussion items for my next steering committee meeting.
Minute was created by Decos – a software development company based in Noordwijk, Netherlands, that focuses on making work more efficient including running a paperless headquarters. Their Minute product was developed internally to meet the paperless need and with its success, it was released to the public.
According to Martijn Aurik, “Minute’s strength is its simplicity in UI. We aim to offer a meeting tool that makes it easier to prepare, conduct and follow up on meetings. All important meeting functionality (agenda, documents, task, notes and decisions) are displayed in 1 clear overview.”
Minute embraces this simplicity as all meeting information is stored in one place on a single page.
Minute works like a well organized and efficient Google document. A meeting agenda is created and updated real-time. Meetings can be “locked” to prevent changes and the meeting minutes can be generated into a PDF for distribution.
In the meeting agenda below, I quickly created agenda items and sub-topics and can also add documents from my local drive, Google Docs, DropBox, Evernote, or Office 365.
During the meeting, notes are entered directly into the document with decisions and tasks assigned as each agenda item is discussed. Creating agenda items works well and new agenda items are added by simply pressing Enter on the keyboard.
I found the meeting minutes process very efficient as everything could be done within the one document without having to switch to different screens. I did find a few minor usability issues including reordering agenda items required an additional click versus simple drag and drop. When assigning a due date to an action item, I also had to click a Save link instead of just clicking on the date and populating the field. These were minor issues as the entire experience embraced Decos philosophy of making work more efficient.
Minute also provides a efficient task management summary as it identifies tasks due in the current week and throughout the month. Tasks can be viewed by date as well as individual meeting. The search feature across all meeting minutes is on the roadmap but not currently available in the tool.
I found Minute to be an effective meeting minute software tool which appears lightweight but has all the necessary features to capture meeting minutes and help organizations make better decisions. It is a simple yet powerful meeting minute solution that enables effective meetings.
MeetingBooster is an enterprise meeting management solution that offers both cloud and on-premise software installations. MeetingBooster reminds me of a classic Windows Ribbon application that is optimized for enterprise meeting management. It has many meeting minutes features including:
- Integration with Outlook Calendar, Tasks and Google Calendar
- Flexible agenda and task module
- Project organization enabling meeting tasks to be assigned to specific projects
- Meeting attendance tracking
- Agenda and meeting minutes approval process
- Searchable database of meeting minutes
- Voting, pro/con and item rating tools to facilitate voting
- Permission System with Security Roles
MeetingBooster has a process focus that facilitates a better meeting. When the meeting starts, the first action is to conduct the roll call. In other applications, this is an optional step. I found this feature helpful as it is usually an administrative step that is often skipped.
Adding agenda items is easy and moving agenda items or indenting agenda items is accomplish by dragging and dropping items. Tasks can also be created as part of the meeting agenda and during the meeting.
During the meeting, team members can vote on agenda items, identify a list of pros/cons for decision making and rate ideas in a collaborative, online agenda. These features help teams make and record their decisions instead of manually counting responses.
After the meeting ends, the meeting minutes are generated and the organizer can edit and amend the meeting minutes before distributing the minutes to the team. The minutes are published in a professional looking format that clearly captures the activities conducted in the meeting. I liked being able to edit the minutes in the meeting minute format as the meeting organizer or scribe may want to edit or summarize the notes and decisions.
Another useful feature is MeetingBooster’s task organization by project. Meetings tend to be the “bread and butter” of project management work. By organizing meetings and tasks against specific projects, the project manager or program manager can view all the outstanding action items from all the relevant meetings. The entire meeting minute database is searchable so finding the tasks or the relevant nugget from a few meetings ago is easy to do.
After reviewing four of these meeting minutes software solutions, I’ve seen a lot of functional overlap however each meeting minute software solution implements the features differently. MeetingKing provides similar features as the other three solutions as meetings are created, collaborated with actions, notes and decisions tracked during and after each meeting. MeetingKing provides the structure format for tracking agenda items as well as a free form view for more flexibility.
MeetingKing easily supports agenda creation, task tracking, decisions and meeting minutes. It has also implemented the Parking Lot feature to help keep the meeting focused and on track. In meetings, new topics are introduced that can derail the original intent of the meeting. By using the Parking Lot feature, you can postpone that agenda item but keep track of it for future discussions.
By establishing a parking lot, the requestor still feels acknowledged and can follow up on the parking lot items for future action. Without a parking lot, the requestor could become a disruptor if the agenda item is not acknowledged. There are other meeting minute software tools that also provide this functionality but I thought MeetingKing implemented it the best.
MeetingKing also efficiently creates tasks, decision and notes by ensuring the text gets written first and then the note take can determine if the note should become a task, decision or a simple note.
Another innovative feature is the use of a Kanban board to group ideas, to dos and completed tasks. The tasks don’t move from column to column like Trello but clicking on the checkbox will move the task to the Completed column. I found it to be a useful approach to managing a task list for ideas as well as tasks with due dates.
With the increase of web-based software solutions, there are new opportunities to integrate these applications with other project management and task tracking applications. Each meeting minutes application usually has its own native integration with Microsoft and Google tools. If project teams need to interact with other 3rd party applications like JIRA, Trello, Wunderlist, then Zapier will connect the applications seamlessly.
Zapier is an online automation tool that will connect two web-based applications together to automate tasks. In Minute, you may want to create a new Trello card for every new Minute task. If a new task is assigned to a user, it would be helpful to send a notification to the user’s Slack account. Zapier provides all these integrations with zero coding or developer support.
Minute, MeetingKing and Beenote all have integrations with Zapier. These integrations are important as it enables teams to leverage the meeting minutes software tool and integrate with the project management or collaboration tool of their choice.
Meeting Minutes Meets Artificial Intelligence
FreJun makes meeting minutes even easier by taking the meeting minutes for you! FreJun is an artificial intelligence assistant that records phone calls and web conference meetings and provides automated transcripts and notes after the meeting.
I found FreJun to be innovative by removing the burden of taking meeting minutes and letting artificial intelligence take over! Once I created an account with FreJun, I started a conference call and added the FreJun agent to the call by adding the FreJun phone number as a caller.
Within a minute of the meeting being completed, the FreJun software sent me a notification indicating the transcript was available. All the meetings are displayed on the user’s dashboard for easy reference. The software identified the different speakers, created a meeting summary and generated action items based on the conversation.
It is important to review the transcript, action items and meeting summary for accuracy and completeness. If additional action items need to be added, the user can highlight the sentence in the transcript, right-click and it will be added to the Action Items. The phone call can be played back and shared with meeting participants.
FreJun works with web conference meetings as well. Simply schedule the meeting, including a dial-in phone number and send a calendar invitation to firstname.lastname@example.org. When the web conference starts, FreJun will start recording!
Key Benefits with FreJun Artificial Intelligence
I’ve participated in many remote conference calls and web-conferencing meetings where team members record the meeting (video and audio) for future reference. Team members also take notes but it is very helpful to get a transcript in addition to the recorded meeting.
The key benefit for project teams is saving time and easily identify key actionable insights without having a team member bear the administrative note-taking burden. Meetings often go off-track and a note-taker may miss and action item. With FreJun, you can quickly scan a transcript and confirm or revise action items.
Give FreJun a try and create your free account at http://www.frejun.com
Meeting Minutes Software Feature Comparison
Each of these tools have their own unique strengths to help meeting organizer facilitate better meetings. The table below summarizes the major features and pricing.
|Application||Agenda Collaboration||Action Items & Decisions||Integrations||Archive Search||Mobile||Pricing|
|Beenote||Office 365, Outlook and Google Native Integrations||Free to $6.93/per user/month|
|Minute||Yes with Zapier||$7.49/per user/month|
|MeetingBooster||Outlook and Google||Contact company for pricing|
|MeetingKing||Yes with Zapier||9.95/per user/month for 1 user up to 124.95/25 users/month|
|Frejun||Google and Outlook Calendar||using Tags||$0 – $29/month|
Where is your data hosted?
Meeting minutes software will help you manage meetings to take over your market but it isn’t helpful if your market is exposed to your plans. As you assess each of these decisions, determine the data sensitivity and the risk associated with storing meeting minute data and documents in the cloud. People are embracing the cloud however organizations will need assurance on how their data is hosted and protected.
Of the 4 solutions reviewed, MeetingBooster is the only one that offers an on-premise solution that your IT team can install on your company’s servers. However, each of these companies should be able to provide a SOC 2 compliance certificate or comparable proof of secure hosting.
What types of meetings need meeting minutes software?
Meeting minute software will help your organization manage their efficiency conducting meetings and documenting the outcomes and action items for subsequent meetings. If you are organizing a board meeting, the need for meeting minute software increases. If you are running your daily stand-up or a quick status meeting, using meeting minute software may be overkill as the team has other compensating processes.
Free Meeting Minutes Software Trials for All
Since individual company needs differ based on market and business needs, I encourage all of you to visit these solutions and request a free trial. All of these solutions have free trials available and let you “kick the tires” and evaluate which meeting minutes software solution is the best for your organization.
If you have a favorite solution that hasn’t appeared on this article, leave a comment below!