According to your goal and your target, which you have already defined, you need to choose the most appropriate medium. This means the medium that will allow you to communicate fluently, but also to capitalise on your work with the possibility of reuse.
Choose between the various types of mediums
Memo or procedure note
A procedure note is a written document that describes a procedure that’s internal to the organisation, a way of operating. The goal of the procedure note is to set out, in writing, the organisation’s practices or positions. This allows procedures to be set up and, thus, contributes to the good management of your organisation. This information is intended to remain in-house for some time, this is why it’s different from a simple information note.
An information note is a written document that communicates information in the context of the organisation’s business. It can be sent by email or via the intranet or the organisation’s internal email system.
An analysis note is a written document that allows you to describe an analysis carried out on a given subject. The analysis note is often drafted by specialists within the organisation.
For example, a tax analysis note drafted by the tax advisers or an accounting analysis note drafted by the accountants, intended for other teams within the organisation.
The summary is a professional written document that aims to sum up several documents in a synthesising and orderly way, either in written or diagrammatic form.
The goal of the summary is, thus, to save time for the reader, who can refer to it to have an overview of all the documents.
The minutes of a meeting are an internal document that records the content of a meeting attended by the writer in a more or less detailed way (according to its format).
Minutes may take various forms:
Verbatim minutes follow a linear pattern, describing all spoken discussion. This form is not used except when it's important to highlight the individual position of everybody involved.
Summary minutes reproduce all contributions in a summarised way. The minute taker thus produces a précis. In particular, they will not show the name of the person who spoke.
Synoptic minutes are minutes produced in the form of a table. The minutes are theme-based in form and drafted in a very summarised way.
Minutes have three goals.
They provide a written record of a situation experienced in the company, generally in the form of a meeting.
They also constitute a shared resource, i.e. a reference document shared by everybody to validate a common understanding of the situation experienced by all participants.
Finally, they allow information communicated to be shared with people who were not present.
How should I draft my minutes?
You need to reformulate the words used, to correctly transmit what was said.
Take care not to forget the details (numbers, dates mentioned) as this is often the type of information that people will look for when they re-read the minutes.
Remove repetitions, i.e. things that crop up several times in the conversation.
Finally, as with all professional written documents, give preference to short sentences.
Distinguish between minutes and reports
It is possible to mix up two different formats: minutes and reports. Here are the points to use to distinguish between them.
Minutes are objective documents only engaging the person drafting them in deciding their formal qualities (drafting and layout), but not their substance.
Minutes serve to reformulate in a more summarised way content that was generally expressed orally.
Minutes serve to convey information in a neutral way.
The qualities you need to develop to draft good quality minutes are, thus, listening, neutrality and an ability to summarise.
A report is a document that involves the personal responsibility of the person drafting it for both its substance and its formal qualities.
A report is a document enabling the development of an analysis of a specific issue.
A report contains a personal analysis of the subject. It can, e.g. allow the proposal of avenues for resolving the problem.
A report enables you to put forward an argument in order to convince people.
You should avoid repetition and take care to summarise. The report must present a detailed and reasoned analysis. That, however, doesn’t mean it should be a load of waffle, i.e. a lot of words that say very little.
You now know about the various types of formats and can choose between them according to your situation. Next, you must prepare and structure the content of your document.