Taking Minutes – 7 Essential Steps to Good Minute Taking

Paul Newton
I head the FME team of management and IT professionals from a variety of backgrounds both commercial and non-profit organizations. As a team we are keen to share our expertise and knowledge with individuals at all levels of management. Each eBook, template and checklist has been written to help individuals develop the competencies they need for a successful career.

Minute taking in my early days as a manager were a nightmare and something I dreaded being asked to do. But by watching and talking to those whose minutes I found useful and informative I created my own checklist so that I produced the same.

Prior to the meeting you have been asked to take the minutes for you must contact the person assigned to be chair. You need to ensure that you have all the correct details about the meeting its date, time, location, agenda and attendee list with contact details.

It is extremely important that you understand the meeting objective so that you are able to record accurate and pertinent information as each agenda item is discussed. You also need to agree the timescale of when the final minutes are to be sent out after the meeting with the chair.

On the day of the meeting you should make sure that you arrive fifteen minutes or so before the start time to give yourself the opportunity to check the set up of the room is as expected. You will also have time to layout any handouts required in a suitable place so that you can hand them out at the allotted time on the agenda.

Make sure that you have a copy of the agenda so that you can easily refer to it throughout the meeting and any supporting material that may be called upon during the meeting.

minute steps

Your third action is to ensure that you record exactly who has attended the meeting or sent their apologies. I often found asking the attendees to sign a form as they came into the meeting extremely useful, as it was an excellent way to catch last minute changes to attendees.

Your fourth step is the most important part of your role. You need to accurately record all the salient points that are made against each agenda item. It is essential that you keep a clear and accurate record of the actions and the individual responsible for it in order for the meeting objective to be achieved.

A tip you might find useful is to leave a few lines below your notes for each agenda item so that you can easily record additional points as they occur in the meeting appropriately.

Whilst it might seem a small issue making sure you have access to a diary or calendar ensures that you can quickly and easily offer dates for the next or future meetings.

The last two steps of taking good minutes occur straight after the meeting has ended. First you produce an initial draft of the minutes for the chair to approve. Once you have this you can send out the agreed minutes to everyone who requires the information they contain and your actions are complete.

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