You're taking minutes in a meeting when the conversation suddenly goes off topic. Or two attendees begin to argue. To what extent should you capture the conversation?
"The problem with side conversations is this: Sometimes people just chitchat and say nothing of value, but other times they say something important,” says Joan Burge, founder and CEO of Office Dynamics.
Burge offers these tips for turning meeting conversations into a valuable road map—even when the conversation is difficult to track.
The guidelines and checklists in Taking Effective Meeting Minutes will give you the confidence you need – not only to take minutes, but also, in many ways, to take charge of the meeting. A well-run, well-recorded meeting is your chance to shine. Learn More.
Situation: The conversation goes off topic.
What to do: Listen for an action, a clarification or a requirement.
"For example, this comes up when I'm working with a new client,” says Burge. "I'm on the phone with them, and they are rattling off tons of information to me. So I'm always listening for key words and phrases that have to do with an action or viewpoint.”
Situation: Two attendees begin to argue.
What to do: What you'll need to capture isn't "Bob was really upset about the new project,” explains Burge. "Rather, you should be capturing Bob's comment about the project: that he feels it's going to be too big of an investment, or that the company won't get a return on its money.”
If accurate minutes are not taken at a meeting, it's as if the meeting never happened. No wonder employers prize accurate, professional minute-taking skills. That's why Taking Effective Meeting Minutes is much more than training. It's a way to boost your value within your organization and become a key player at important meetings.
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Situation: A subgroup is having a side conversation.
What to do: Say something like "Excuse me, but is this really good information that I should be capturing?” or "Do you have something you would like to share with me that I need to write down?”
Otherwise, you won't know whether they're saying something important.
Situation: Attendees are using an acronym you don't understand.
What to do: Ask the person who is using the term if he could please repeat it or spell it for you. If it's an acronym, ask, "What does that acronym stand for? I need to put that in the meeting minutes.”
Burge says, "It just takes courage to speak up. You just have to speak, and it's your tone of voice and your volume that convey confidence.”
Available as a CD or MP3, this 75-minute audio training gives you detailed guidance on taking minutes for any type of meeting.
Taking Effective Meeting Minutes would be a terrific value with the audio alone. But Patricia Robb also includes 13 handouts to help you get up to speed fast, eliminate unnecessary work and focus on what's important when you're in the thick of a meeting ... with every document in Word and ready to be customized by you.
As an admin assistant herself, Patricia knows you have better things to do than reinvent the wheel when taking minutes. So she's included the complete set of 13 documents she uses for taking minutes – and in this case, 13 is a very lucky number!
You can learn all the skills you need quickly and easily by spending a couple of hours with the audio training and support materials of Taking Effective Meeting Minutes. You'll gain the know-how and confidence to accept the responsibility of taking minutes. And soon you'll reap the reward: being an even more important member of the team.
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