If you don’t still know about the minutes of a meeting, let me take you to an office room where an important corporate meeting is going on.
Can you see that bespectacled lady, holding an important spot by the side of the front row? She notes down something all along, in a hurried but quite attentive matter.
She’s the one, writing the minutes of the meeting, may be in shorthand.
This is a document that contains, in its blueprint form, each and every detail of the discussions held during the meeting. The attendees will get a finalized, formal copy of the same (may be, not immediately).
The minutes document serves to formally intimate the attendees in black and white, about the discussions in the meeting and outcomes thereof.
Typically, one of its paragraphs may contain the list of decisions taken by the authorities for future action. Those who will execute these decisions, get a copy of the same. For instance, some of the decisions will pertain to the mid level management, some to a higher level and so on.
As officials tend to follow a method to write the minutes, this article aims at giving a precise way for the same to the reader. After reading this blog post, a minutes writer can set a template and write in a planned manner.
Why is the Minutes Document so Important?
Because this document delivers a copy of the discussions in and outcomes of the meeting, the accountability of the officials gets fixed with respect to their assignments.
Perhaps, after receiving a formal copy of the meeting notes, a mid rank manager would be able to chalk out a plan as to how she would allocate cut-out jobs to the target officials so that the project-work can gather speed .
In addition, on receiving this document, every member of the meeting gets to see the bigger picture of the organization. They come to know about the progresses made by other wings of the parent unit they are working with.
Further, the meeting notes are recorded in document-form. They are witness to the discussions held in the meeting and serve as documented proof of the progress made by the company or organization and the plans made for future steps to be undertaken.
What Should ‘Minutes of a Meeting’ Ideally Contain?
✔ Name or Title of the meeting ( Organization or company name, Meeting Type, Main agenda)
Example: Coordination Meeting at the office of ZPOZEN REAL ESATATE for WIPs)
✔ Venue and time
✔ Names and contact details of the attendees
(Also the names of Absentees)
✔ Agenda points
✔ Details of discussions held for each agenda point and arguments & counter arguments thereof.
✔ Decisions taken and plans adopted with respect to each agenda point
✔ Summary of discussions and decisions taken
✔ A short para regarding progresses (or otherwise) made w.r.t. the previous meeting
✔ Salient points of the closing speech by the highest authority
✔ A glance at the next meeting (Date, time, agenda etc.)
Best Practices to Write Effective Minutes
Though the meeting will make it a point for the members to switch off their phones, the minutes writer should do this somewhat earlier. Switch off your phone, throw away other distractions and gear up, because you’re about to face a grueling session.
Start before the beginning. Observe and note all the formalities that begin even before the meeting. For example, signatures of the attendees, distribution of agenda leaflets etc.
Attention at its highest level is a must for the minutes writer. Never miss a point, however petty that might appear. Because it may be crucial to the authorities.
Take care not to add anything to the minutes from your side. You may not get a point or think contrarily to what an attendee states. But remember, it’s not about your views. It’s the views of attendees that matters and you are only to document the goings on. Note like a robot.
How to Write Minutes of a Meeting in 7 Steps
1️⃣ Refresh yourself before the meeting. May meditate for 5 minutes or have a refreshing drink, as you like. Given you are about to enter into a power packed discussion, this is important. Beverages and water should find a spot near your seat.
2️⃣ Get rid of all kinds of distractions; focus only on the meeting. You may go through the plan of the meeting beforehand and get a feel of what you are expected to deliver.
3️⃣ Get your tools ready – pen, paper, laptop, tablet, a ‘minutes of meeting format’ or whatever…
4️⃣ Note down the formal details of the pre-start – meeting title, venue, time, details of authorities and other participants etc. If you have an ‘automated minutes of meeting format’ these details may show up on the format beforehand.
5️⃣ Transcribe the details of discussions against each agenda point quickly – don’t forget to mention the arguments and counter arguments and the summary of discussions.
6️⃣ Conclude with the most salient points in the sum-up session.
7️⃣ Remember to prepare edited, formal copies from the blue print and hand them over at the appropriate office-point from where the documents find their appropriate channel. Furthermore, archive your meeting minutes in a chronological order in a folder, for later reference.
Ability to Write the Meeting Minutes Can Make You More Valuable
In terms of human resources (HR), this is a skill to acquire for job seekers at a mid to lower level.
Executives value you more if you have the ability to write reports, white papers and emails to potential clients. Your professional price increases when you add the minutes-writing feather to your cap.
It may appear a bit mean at first sight but I’ll say that even a mid level manager gains by learning to compose various kinds of documents. Observations reveal beyond doubt, that managers who avail opportunities to grind themselves through different layers of apprenticeship, emerge as the best managers and firms value them a lot.
Some Important Points
Remember that you might have to get the minutes approved. This depends on the procedure followed by the company or organization holding the meeting.
An unforeseen event may show up during the meeting. For example, a participant may suddenly face a medical emergency or get a bad news and may have to leave the meeting unexpectedly. The minute writer should make a note of such events too. The same may or may not find a place in the final approved copy.
As the company or organization incurs expenditure for a meeting, proper authority must construe the effectiveness of such meetings from previous meeting minutes. In this context, proper recording of the minutes is essential.