When just the thought of creating the official meeting minutes makes your writing hand freeze, take note: Preparation starts well before the meeting.
Keep this simple checklist handy:
1. Review the agenda, familiarizing yourself with the topics and any unusual jargon.
2. Read minutes from past meetings, noting both the content and the style used.
3. Learn who's who, so you'll recognize participants by sight and know how to spell their names and use their correct titles.
5. Create an outline for your notes using the agenda to create headings, and leave space to record information.
6. Use a sign-in sheet to keep an accurate attendance record. At some meetings, you also may need to document if key participants leave the room during the course of the discussions.
7. Customize your note-taking system. If you don't know shorthand, develop your own code. EasyScript Express by Leonard Levin (Legend Co.) "has saved my life as a note-taker for very fast, talkative leaders," says Kim Federline, Orlando, Fla. Instead of memorizing standard shorthand abbreviations this book helps you create your own.
8. Focus on the key points. Remember, this isn't a transcript. "I listen for the status of the topic being discussed, who is responsible for it (or the next step), deadlines and other pertinent information," Charlotte Ceccoli, Prairie Village, Kan., said in a discussion in Your Problems Solved: The Admin Pro's Online Forum.
Now, peerless minute-taking skills can be yours – in just minutes – with Effective Minute-Taking: Tips to Improve Your Meeting-Recording Skills...9. Provide nameplates or draw a seating chart to help you keep track of the players. In large gatherings, ask the leader to remind participants to identify themselves when they speak.
10. Tape-record the session as a backup and to assist with verbatim notations, such as the wording of resolutions. Be sure to obtain permission from all participants before you start the tape rolling.
11. Type your notes immediately after the meeting, while your memory is fresh.
12. Ask the meeting leader (and other participants if required) to review the draft minutes before you distribute the final version.
Following this formula will keep your minutes organized and the jitters at bay.
Effective Minute-Taking: Tips to Improve Your Meeting-Recording Skills will help you:
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- Discover the appropriate way to take, write, draft and distribute meeting minutes
- Establish guidelines and check-off lists to ensure quality
- Feel comfortable with the role of meeting recorder
- Review samples and illustrations of appropriate agendas and minutes
- Determine what information should be captured
- Know how to prepare your draft and final copy
- Correct, file and index minutes
- And much more!