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Mind your minutes: 5 minute-taking strategies, 3 do’s and don’ts

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The meeting's over. Within moments, everyone is scurrying back to check voice- and e-mail messages, quickly forgetting about the action items they just took on.

Your mission? To produce minutes that remind everyone what needs to happen next, and assure them that their meeting time was well spent.

Help yourself and your co-workers by turning your meeting minutes into an action plan. From pre-meeting preparation to post-meeting follow up, map your strategy. Here's how...

These five suggestions will help you write minutes that yield results:

1. Use a consistent format. People refer to minutes to remember what the group decided and who's in charge of doing what next. Help that information pop out with a consistent format that people will see each time.

2. Include discussion recaps, and key them to the agenda topic they match. No need to give a word-for-word account (see exception in #3), nor should you editorialize.

Example: "Bob feels we need to look into industry averages, as well as our company's numbers for the past few years, before finalizing our sales goals."

3. Be specific when it really counts. Here's the exception to the recap rule above: If the group makes a major decision, include synopses of the discussion's debates and conclusions. A vague account will make your minutes less valuable.

4. List complete names and titles under an "Attendees" headline at the start of your minutes. Should someone refer to your minutes two years later, he might not know who "Bob" was.

5. Present action steps and deadlines clearly by using bullets, underlining or bolding key words. Make sure attendees can see at a glance what's expected of them.

Don't start every meeting from scratch! Our live training webinar will tell you how to create a standard procedure for minute-taking and making the most of each meeting. Register Here or Learn More

Take meeting minutes that will stand the test of time with these do's and don'ts:

  • Do include the agenda topic, all decisions on the topic, action required on it, who will do what and when, and whether a motion carried or didn't.
  • Do be alert to phrases such as "inconvenience" or "potential problem" during the meeting. Noting those in the minutes ensures that you've made the chair aware.
  • Don't include personal comments, judgments, adjectives or adverbs that suggest good or bad qualities, speakers' experiences, old business or withdrawn motions. Example: Don't write, "A heated debate ensued."
Back by popular demand...

From the 8 things you must do before a meeting starts to the proper format for submitting minutes after the meeting is over — and everything in between — author and practicing admin Patricia Robb will take you through the minute-taking process step-by-step. You'll emerge with a comprehensive overview of the minute-taking process and with skills that you can put to work immediately.

And because Taking Effective Meeting Minutes is a webinar, there is no limit to the number of participants. You can train your entire staff on minute-taking skills for one low price –— WITHOUT leaving the office — and your satisfaction is unconditionally guaranteed or your money back.

Don’t wait another minute! Taking Effective Meeting Minutes will make you a more effective professional — AND a more marketable commodity. Add this valuable webinar to your agenda today!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Yheralis November 16, 2011 at 11:35 am

Thank you, I will pass this information forward.

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