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Minute taking(20 Posts)
I recently started a new role which is made up of various different jobs. One of these jobs will be monthly minute taking at a meeting that will be held.
Problem is I've never taken minutes. My manager is aware and has said she will ease me in slowly and offer her help in the beginning. But I'm effectively going in blind. I have no experience of meetings or taking minutes at all.
Does anyone have any tips/tricks/advice?
I've tried google but I'm really confused by it all and worried I'll miss out crucial information. Thanks
Is there an example of the minutes the previous person took? There are formats for minutes depending on what they’re being used for. Will you be allowed to record the meeting so you can check accuracy? The main thing is to convert your initial draft as quickly as possible.
@Herocomplex I'll see if I can get a previous copy to see what format it should be in.
I won't be allowed to record no that was my first thought but apparently we aren't allowed to That's what I've read online that getting them typed up quickly is the best thing. The meetings should all be in the morning so I'm hoping I can spend the afternoon typing them up. Thanks for the reply.
I used to hate minute taking. I had no experience initially but it's easy to pick up. There will usually be a format to the minutes (check how they have been done and use this as your template). We used a table divided into sections of meeting topics. Everyone present was written as initials to save on continually writing names. On one side of the table was comments and in the adjacent column the initials of the person/s who needed to take any action. I would send out to all participants a very quick draft after the meeting (tidying up my scrambled typing I used to keep up with the flow of conversation). Then they would email me any changes or things I may have missed. It is nerve wracking to start, but it does really just turn boring eventually.
There is generally an agenda issued before the meeting, make sure that you have that with you. Write down as much of what you hear as you can. You won't need to write up everything, just the salient points, but at least if you have it written down you can refer back to it.
Write down the attendees Names, I always use people initials to denote who is speaking. If there are any actions, make sure you put some sort of symbol next to the action, so that you can easily pick it out of your notes ( I draw a flower)!
I guess when you first start out, its best just to write down everything. There must be a template from previous meetings which will give you a clue as to how they want it seeing out.
Finally there are some practice meetings on you tube, my assistant used These to help her get a feel of how to listen and write things up.
Practice taking minutes of the news. Do one item at a time to practice.
In the meeting draw a map of the table and put the initials of each person attending by where they are sat.
Start a new page for each agenda item. If you get lost, wait for the next item and start on the new page.
Key us to listen and write the key points. You will never be able to write everything they say, but if you listen you'll get the jist of the key points.
Review the previous minutes so you can see the style/format used.
If they agree an action make a note of who/by when/what.
Once you've typed them up, print them off and read/correct them. You don't see errors on screen.
If you think you have something incorrect, consider checking the detail for accuracy with the person who said it.
I'm a company secretary so see a LOT of minutes. Happy to help if you have questions, but practice is honestly the answer.
Good luck! X
Have the agenda and under each point record brief comments and if any actions have a column for who is completing action, and date due.
Looking at format of previous meeting is a great idea to get a sense of the level of detail expected.
Also share them quickly after meeting to allow people to let you know if anything is missing.
I hate taking minutes, like you worried that I will miss important information. A year in and I now capture as much as I can using phrases like " discussion around X agreed Y" without capturing the whole 25 min discussion!!!! Furthermore I will always misunderstand often due to lack of knowledge 're processes, so will check with someone in the meeting that I am on the right lines. Finally I send the minted to the chair and it is their responsibility (not mine) to ensure the minutes are a true reflection of the meeting
Have the agenda saved in a table on a lap top and type them under each heading as you go.
It's life changing you can gain whole days by not struggling to make head or tail of your own notes and writing them up.
Yes you just write a summary of what was said, any actions, who will be doing it and by what date. You don't generally write names or write verbatim. Usually, "it was decided", "a discussion took place about x" etc.
Chin up, OP - you'll be right as rain Excellent tips up thread - I can't think of anything to add. I'm sure you'll soon get the hang of it.
Thank you for all your advice. I'm sure it'll be fine once I've done it a few times it's just nerve wracking knowing it'll be going out to so many people.
Will keep coming back and reading over your replies to help me.
Definitely sounds as though getting a copy of the previous minutes will help a lot so I'll be doing that tomorrow.
Do your best using the excellent tips above ie pre-planning they minutes as much as possible using the agenda. And most importantly, remember it's the Chair's responsibility to have accurate minutes not yours - send the minutes to the Chair for sign-off before circulating them to anyone else.
If someone starts reading from a document you don't have, ask them for a copy of it rather than trying to get it all down. Don't worry about asking people to clarify what they mean if you mishear and asking them to repeat something. Better that then miss it completely.
A good tip is to touch type if you can and don't look at the screen, you'll get distracted by errors and formatting and all that can be sorted after the meeting.
Write names when typing instead of initials, it's actually quicker to write Martin than MG or whatever as initials are jarring for the brain when you're speeding through. If initials are needed in the final doc you can ctrl + f and replace all Martins with MGs which can be handy too
A fresh pair of eyes is often welcomed, you might find you can offer improvements. Minutes record the events of the meeting but also form the basis of the next, and should be useful rather than just a tedious chore. You should also check on the format for confidential items.
Minutes are not a verbatim record of everything that is said but capture the key discussion points and agreed actions and timeline.
Previous minutes definitely helpful as a precedent/template and have your manager look over your draft minutes before they’re circulated. If you can touch type, you can record verbatim and then edit. Good luck!
OP I don't know what kind of organisation you work for, but about 15 years ago I was in a similar situation to you and my company sent me on a minute taking course here www.dsc.org.uk/event/writing-skills-minute-taking-skills-4-2-2-2-2/ I found it useful.
It's generally for charities or nfp organisations if your company falls under that category.
Appreciate all the advice you've given. Seems like you all know what you're on about and it's given me a lot to work with.
Will update you once we've had the meeting and let you know how it goes!
I don't think I've met anyone who enjoys minutes but with the tips above you'll make them as painless as possible.
When you start you will probably not be able to easily identify the important parts of what someone is saying but after a few goes that'll start becoming second nature to you and you'll find yourself writing less. As you get to know everyone, you will also identify who the wafflers that don't contribute anything useful and so when you can have a little break!
If possible get a prebrief with the chair and read the previous minutes so that you have an understanding of the issues being discussed.
Nothing worse than minutes recorded by someone who has no idea at all of the subject.
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