writing meeting minutes
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Writing Meeting Minutes

Writing meeting minutes is a valuable skill, and this article will take you through the key requirements and the different ways of doing it. Having accurate minutes increase the likelihood that the actions agreed in the meeting actually happen!

Why Take Minutes at a Meeting?

The Minutes are a written record of what happens at the meeting, any decisions made and future action to be taken. They are distributed to all who are involved in the department, group or club represented by the meeting. Having accurate minutes increase the likelihood that the actions agreed in the meeting actually happen!

What will a Typical Set of Minutes Include?

  • The date, time and place of the meeting
  • Names of those present
  • Names of those submitting apologies
  • A list of correspondence
  • A brief summary of any discussion
  • Conclusions reached
  • Decisions made
  • Amendments that were made
  • Formal votes taken
  • Actions decided on and the names of those who are to undertake the action
  • The date and place of any future meetings

Important Points

As minute taker it is your responsibility to ensure that any points of which you are doubtful are checked with the chairperson as soon as the meeting is finished. Also if you are unsure about any points being discussed in the meeting or if the proceedings are going too quickly for you – check with the chairperson as soon as possible, do not postpone it.

Hints

When capturing an action item, get the person to whom it is assigned to help you word it and set the due date. Not only does it help you ensure the Minutes are correct, but it also re-enforces that they’ve taken responsibility for the action.

Taking Meaningful Minutes

  • Understand the relevance and the use of the Minutes
  • Prepare yourself to understand what will be said
  • Get acquainted with the likely terms
  • Concentrate on what is being said and agreed
  • Pick out the main ideas, points and actions
  • Know the procedures in meetings
  • Know when and how to interrupt to clarify information you are unsure of

Techniques for Writing up Minutes

  • Make your Minutes ‘reader friendly’ by summarising the points
  • ‘Summarise your summary’ – keep your minutes to the point
  • Use the correct tense for reported speech
  • Highlight action points
  • Calm, clear and distribute the Minutes

Styles of Minutes

There are three main styles of Minutes:

  1. Verbatim
  2. Summary
  3. Action

1.Verbatim Minutes

These are not actually word-for-word but record who said what.

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