Meeting minutes are, frankly, a tedious chore! However, somebody must do them. In some teams, the same person is the recording secretary for all meetings. In other teams, the recording secretary job rotates among the members.
All organisations take minutes during every meeting. This is because organisations need to record of who was present at the meeting and who was absent, what was discussed, what decisions were taken, who is supposed to do what action, when and so on. It also helps to measure drive accountability and can also be used as legal protection if necessary.
Meeting minutes is especially important and crucial at this critical period where there is an outbreak of Wuhan Coronavirus around the world. Many people have been quarantined and have been missing from work during this period. Meeting minutes can further help these people to catch up on what they have missed during the meetings.
However, the act of recording meeting minutes comes with its challenges. Many board secretaries and others responsible for taking minutes struggle with determining what should be recorded and how. Some newly joined young employees do not know what is “Meeting Minutes” for.
What are some of the common challenges that people are facing? Why do people hate doing meeting minutes? Here are some of the reasons that you would probably able to relate to:
- How much information do I need to put in my minutes?
- What type of writing styles or templates do I have to use?
- Not able to multi-task from listening and writing at the same time
- I have never taken minutes before
- People talk too fast or have accents and/or speak too soft
- Understanding the subject, acronyms and jargon
- Having a dual role (taking the minutes and having to participate)
Could you identify with any of the above? As a minute taker I have experienced all of these. So how can I best help you?
Below are the 11 most critical information that you must include in all meeting minutes!
- Date and time of the meeting
- Names of the meeting participants and those unable to attend (e.g., “regrets”)
- Acceptance or corrections/amendments to previous meeting minutes
- Decisions made about each agenda item, for example:
- Actions taken or agreed to be taken
- Next steps
- Voting outcomes – e.g., (if necessary, details regarding who made motions; who seconded and approved or via show of hands, etc.)
- Motions taken or rejected
- Items to be held over
- New business
- Next meeting date and time
In addition, we would like to share some of the effective meeting minutes tips that might be beneficial to you and your fellow colleagues.
- Create an outline – having an outline (or template) based on the agenda makes it easy for you to simply jot down notes, decisions, etc. under each item as you go along. If you are taking notes by hand, consider including space below each item on your outline for your hand-written notes, then print these out and use this to capture minutes.
- Check-off attendees as they enter the room – if you know the meeting attendees, you can check them off as they arrive, if not have folks introduce themselves at the start of the meeting or circulate an attendance list they can check-off themselves.
- Record decisions or notes on action items in your outline as soon as they occur to be sure they are recorded accurately
- Ask for clarification if necessary – for example, if the group moves on without making a decision or an obvious conclusion, ask for clarification of the decision and/or next steps involved.
- Don’t try to capture it all – you can’t keep up if you try to write down the conversation verbatim, so be sure to simply (and clearly) write (or type) just the decisions, assignments, action steps, etc.
- Record it – literally, if you are concerned about being able to keep up with note taking, consider recording the meeting (e.g., on your smart phone, iPad, recording device, etc.) but be sure to let participants know they are being recording. While you don’t want to use the recording to create a word-for-word transcript of the meeting, the recording can come in handy if you need clarification.
Whether you’ve never taken minutes before or you want to take your skills to the next level, the chance is here! You do not have to be stressed up when you are being asked to do minutes. Practice makes perfect. So, are you ready for this learning challenge?