Business meetings may be conducted formally or informally, depending on the company and the circumstances.
At some point you maybe asked to take minutes at a meeting. This task isn't reserved for secretaries only. Any person who attends a meeting may be asked to do this. Since the minutes will serve as an official record of what took place during the meeting, you must be very accurate. Here are some pointers to help you master this skill.
Prepare your tools
- Decide how you will take notes, i.e. using a notebook computer or pen and paper.
- Make sure your tools of choice are in working order and have a backup just in case.
- Use the meeting agenda to formulate an outline.
- Recording the meeting is a strong recommendation to facilitate production of minutes. (As an aside, recording also tends to reduce the amount of unnecessary verbiage)
During the Meeting
- Pass around an attendance register for signature.
- Get a list of committee members and make sure you know who is who.
- Note the time the meeting begins.
- Don't try to write down every single comment - just the main ideas.
- Write down motions, who made them, and the results of votes, if any; no need to write down who seconded a motion.
- Make note of any motions to be voted on at future meetings.
- Note the ending time of the meeting.
Using Digital Recording
- A digital recording system will allow fast transcription of the minutes and additionally, allows one to archive an audio copy of the meeting for easy reference in case of any dispute or query.
- Digital recording systems are recommended as there is no interruption in the recording, i.e.: no changing tapes etc.
- Some digital recording systems have a bookmark feature that allows you to mark specific points during a recording. These bookmarks are used during transcription, saving time by allowing one to automatically move from point to point without having to listen to the discussions leading up to each point.
- Should your recording system not have bookmarking facilities, note (from the visual display) the exact time of a point to be minuted as this will allow you to access that point and listen to preceding discussion if necessary.
After the Meeting
- Type up the minutes as soon as possible after the meeting, while everything is still fresh in your mind.
- Follow the format used in previous minutes.
- Include the name of organization, name of committee, type of meeting (daily, weekly, monthly, annual, or special), and purpose of meeting.
- Preface resolutions with "RESOLVED, THAT..."
- Write "Submitted by" and then sign your name and the date.
- Include the time the meeting began and ended.
- Place minutes chronologically in a record book.
Proof-read the minutes before submitting them