1. Have an Agenda
Whether the chairperson writes it, you write it or write it together, insist on an agenda. Taking minutes with no agenda is torture and the meeting itself is likely to be unproductive.
Look at previous minutes or if it’s new meeting, minutes of meeting that the chair has been involved in or minutes of meetings as close as you can get to this one.
3. Stop writing
You don’t have to write every single word down, you’d burn out anyway. Take it in and then summarise.
4. Know your verbs
Don’t keep repeating the same “said”, “stated” etc, keep it varied with “questioned”, “agreed”, “reiterated” etc.
5. Summarise the discussion
Don’t waste time on she said, he said, summarise the discussion by outlining the conclusion to the topic.
6. Focus on the actions
For the most part, this is all people want anyway. Make sure they are clear and concise.
7. Action owners
If the action owners were identified, name them, if they weren’t, ask the chair to verify before completing the minutes.
8. Fact checks
If you are unsure, double check any facts and figures that were quoted during the meeting with the attendee afterward. It’s important for accuracy and they will appreciate the attention to detail.
9. Ask for feedback
Ask the chair to “track changes” when approving the minutes, that way you can learn their style.
10. Don’t take it personally
Some chairs make multiple changes, some to the point of completely rewriting, no matter who took the minutes. Some people are impossible to please. Please don’t take it personally.
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