Professional Meeting Minutes Software Review
Over the years many cloud-based minutes software services have been developed. Also, sometimes referred to as meeting management software, they are designed to help you with meeting preparation, note taking and the distribution and archiving of minutes. In addition, these tools can handle action items belonging to meetings.
Specialized software does exist for board meeting and municipalities, but in this review, we are looking at minutes software for the general business meeting at management level and will look at MeetingKing, LessMeeting, LucidMeeting and MeetingBooster.
Minutes Software Comparison Chart
When scheduling your meetings using these minutes software tools, how they integrate with your current email and calendar system is an important factor. MeetingKing and LessMeeting provide a good integration to Google calendar/Gmail and MeetingBooster has a powerful integration with Outlook. The integration will ease the adoption of the software solutions and synchronize meeting invitations and action items with the relevant email system. LucidMeeting and MeetingKing provide Wizards to help you get started.
All four products come with an agenda editor that makes it easy to create an agenda outline and attach files. The agenda outline is essential for efficient minutes taking during meetings. LucidMeeting, MeetingKing and MeetingBooster offer agenda templates. These minutes software tools allow you to take records needed for discussion minutes, action minutes and verbatim minutes, which is easier with MeetingBooster.
Taking Minutes During Meetings
Although you will need to get familiar with your chosen minutes software product, you will quickly benefit from it and easily learn how to capture notes. When you start the meeting many of these tools allow you to take attendance during roll call.
With the agenda as a foundation, you can capture discussions, decisions and allocate action items. LucidMeeting has a chat forum during the meeting and a speaker queue. MeetingBooster offers voting, pros/cons, and rating tools. You are able to park topics in all minutes software tools and include them in future meetings. Assigning tasks is easy in all four meeting tools. The great part is that you do not have to recreate the actions.
In general, it felt like these tools would be a better alternative to taking minutes in a traditional Word document.
Distributing Minutes and Archiving
After the meeting, the minutes are generated automatically. However, the results were very different in the four tools. LudicMeeting utilized an email style with minimal formatting making it very difficult to review. MeetingKing, MeetingBooster and Less Meeting automatically formatted the minutes, with LessMeeting and MeetingBooster having more options. MeetingBooster had options for adding your logo, cover page, signature page and discussion and action minutes formats.
If you need to edit or proof read minutes you are able to do so in all programs. MeetingBooster allows editing up to 14 days after the meeting for good practice whereas the other tools left the meeting open. Distribution of minutes was via a pdf document for LessMeeting, Meeting King and MeetingBooster. LucidMeeting sent out the minutes in the body of an email.
An important feature in these minutes software tools is the automatic archiving of files that eliminates human errors, in particular if you have to store minutes to meet regulatory compliance. Searching in minutes can easily be done with LucidMeeting and MeetingBooster, as they both have advanced search features.
All software solutions are offering cloud hosting with LessMeeting and MeetingBooster both using Microsoft Azure. From an Enterprise perspective, it is important to note that MeetingBooster can be installed on-premise, has a customizable permission system and synchronizes with Active Directory for large-scale deployment, etc.
Meeting Agenda Templates
If you need more out of your meetings, you can turn decisions into action plans. All the solutions enable you to distribute action items and update such tasks. Action items are listed within the minutes but are distributed separately, for instance through emails. For more advanced task handling, MeetingBooster comes with a comprehensive task management system, with seamless synchronization to Outlook’s task list.
MeetingKing, LucidMeeting and LessMeeting are great tools for smaller organizations, such as a home association or sports club. You can download and try out these tools instantly from their web site. If you are looking for an enterprise solution, instead of creating a meeting system in house or using SharePoint Macros, MeetingBooster is a customizable and scalable solution. MeetingBooster offers many more features and therefore is more expensive, although the company offers site licenses for large deployments. Since MeetingBooster needs to be configured you must contact MatchWare to setup a demo account. However, if you only want to test the waters you can try the other tools immediately. Good luck exploring.