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6 Steps to Produce Clear and Concise Meeting Minutes

Fight your fear of taking minutes
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Office Management

6 steps to produce clear and concise meeting minutes

After a meeting is over, everyone will run back to their desks to check email messages and resume work.

Your mission? To produce minutes that remind everyone what needs to happen next, and assure them that their meeting time was well spent. Follow these steps to produce clear and concise minutes that comply with your organization's standards.

What makes a master minute taker? Perfect your skills here.

1. Gather your materials. Pull together the agenda, your notes, any reports or documents that were distributed at the meeting, and verbatim copies of motions and resolutions.

2. Create a draft within 24 hours, while the information is fresh in your mind. If you used your laptop to take notes, it won't take a lot of time to type your draft.

3. Double-space your minutes. That way, handwritten corrections can be easily and clearly inserted.

4. Make sure to include any attachments.

5. Send a draft to the meeting leader. Ask the leader to review the minutes before you send them out to attendees. This gives him or her the chance to clarify anything, or to add an important point.

6. Prepare to make corrections. After you've spruced up your notes and formatted the document, you'll need to make sure all corrections are made to the final version before filing it as a formal record.

At the group's next meeting, you may hear corrections to the minutes, says Joan Burge, founder and CEO of Office Dynamics. "Follow the legal requirements of your organization in correcting the minutes," she says.

Do you have a moment of panic when you're asked to take meeting minutes? Do you have trouble deciding what to record and what not to record? Do you leave a meeting with pages of notes you can't decipher later? Are you lost on the follow-up? Master minute taking with the Advanced Minute Taking Workshop.

If no special requirements are indicated, Burge recommends following this procedure:

√ Draw a red- or black-ink line through the incorrect wording. Write the correction in ink above the line, and specify in the margin at which meeting the correction was made. Include the initials of the person making the correction, as well as the meeting date, in the margin.

√ Use a separate page for large corrections. If attaching a separate sheet, write that information in ink in the margin of the minutes. The corrections will need to be signed by the secretary, chair or meeting leader.

√ Store them in a master book. Keep minutes in chronological order, and store them in a place that others can access. Or, if they need to be locked, make sure stakeholders know where the key is.

√ Keep an index. Maintain an index of everything in one place. When you are filing the minutes, make sure to include all handouts and the agenda.

For visual presentation, keep it simple. A straightforward style is more attractive than pages marked with repetitive asterisks and underscores. It's the information that people are interested in.

Minute taking is a skill that great admins should develop. Just like anything in life, practice makes perfect. The more you take minutes and prepare them, the better you get.

On Friday, July 31, master trainer (and working admin) Patricia Robb will present the Advanced Minute Taking Workshop. This session is designed to assist you in perfecting your minute taking skills so you continue to excel.

Learn efficient and effective techniques for:
  • Preparing for and running an effective meeting
  • Understanding basic parliamentary Patricia Robbprocedure
  • Communicating with the meeting chair for better clarity
  • Recording minutes (what you should and should not write down)
  • Transcribing minutes (how to do it right the first time)
  • Following up after the meeting
Elevate your minute taking skills to the master level. You'll emerge more competent … more confident … and more valuable than ever before. Register for the Advanced Minute Taking Workshop now!
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