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How to be a Master Minute Taker: 3 tips

On average, people speak 3 words a second. Can you write that fast?
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Office Management

How to be a master minute taker: 3 tips

People frequently panic when they have to take meeting minutes because they're afraid they will forget to record something important. Christy Crump, who has 25 years of experience as an administrative professional, provides her top three minute-taking tips to help you diminish this fear:

Tip #1: Keep it simple. Think about what meeting minutes are. They are not a word-for-word transcription of what goes on in a meeting. Meeting minutes are a summary of the actions taken and the discussions that are had in the meeting.

That's why you want to keep your meeting minutes simple by only including things that are minute-worthy. You want to make sure to avoid derogatory comments, personal opinions or excessive information about the speakers when you just need to know who they are and why they're there. Also, keep in mind when you're actually recording your minutes, you only have to record verbatim motions and amendments to the motions.

Do you have to take minutes of meetings, jot down telephone messages, write long lists of tasks from your manager and remember those on-the-fly comments? Can you do it quickly? Learn a new technique to increase your note-taking speed.

Tip #2: Always be prepared for your meeting. Follow the 80-20 rule. You do 80% of your work in the first 20% of your time. If you spend the first 20% of your time getting ready for your meeting before it even begins, you'll have 80% of your work done.

Give yourself a little bit of space between each item on your agenda, so you have room to take your notes in the meeting. If you take notes on paper, then you have plenty of space to write, or if you take notes on a laptop computer, you have plenty of space to actually type your notes in there.

If you go into your meeting with a minute-taking template made from your agenda, you'll be sure not to miss anything. It's kind of like a security blanket that you can use to make sure you're getting everything.

In recent years, there has been a myth that shorthand is no longer required for most administrative professionals in this digital world. But as most admins know, shorthand is still a sought-after skill. The most savvy administrative professional knows that each word is important. And learning shorthand is the perfect way to ensure you never miss anything. Join us Tuesday, April 5, for the Pitman Shorthand Workshop. You'll discover how to improve your efficiency... add to your skills and career development... and avoid the stress of trying to take notes with only longhand techniques.

Tip #3: Keep a copy of the meeting minutes after the meeting chair edits them. After you pass the draft of the minutes you took on to the meeting chair and he or she edits them, make sure you keep the edited copy.

There are two reasons you want to keep that marked up copy. The first is so that you can learn all of the little idiosyncrasies that the chair of the meeting has. For instance, maybe the chair likes certain words capitalized or likes to see the comma before the word "and" in a series of three. You can pick up on those little idiosyncrasies, and make sure that going forward you always hit on those things.

The second reason you always want to keep that marked up copy is in case somebody asks later why something was changed. You can pull it out and say, "Because you told me to change it."

If you're still nervous about taking meeting minutes, Christy Crump suggests that you find a class, webinar or mentor who can walk you through how to take minutes.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that when you have a fear or anxiety about something, don't run away from that fear but face it head on. Put yourself in a position to take meeting minutes as often as you can. The more you do something, the better you get at it. The better you get at it, the less fear you have. And the less fear you have, the more your confidence grows.

Master trainer Heather Baker will have you taking better notes (and faster!) with her Pitman Shorthand Workshop. You will have the opportunity to understand the Pitman system, including:
  • The principles of Pitman shorthand
  • How to abbreviate consonants
  • Heather BakerPosition to indicate vowels
  • Some prefixes and suffixes
  • Halving, loops and hooks
  • Shortforms for common words and phrases
  • Tips on taking notes
  • Take dictation
  • Personal action plan and questions
Don't wait another minute! If you find minute-taking and note-taking frustrating and find it hard to keep up, this webinar is the one for you. You'll come away ready to start taking more effective notes and have an action plan to ensure you can continue to improve. Register now for this April 5 event!
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