How to minute a meeting – 10 tips for note-taking
22nd September 2013
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Before I was a blogger, I was a PA and an administrator and took notes in a lot of meetings. I know some people worry about minutes and others just don’t know where to start so here are ten tips to allay any fears!

1. Talk to the Chair before the meeting. Find out if s/he would like detailed notes or just action points. In my experience, they don’t usually want too much detail – after all, they’re the ones who’ll have to go over it all!

2. Remember what minutes are for – it’ll help you decide what to leave out. Minutes need to offer a flavour of the discussion, not everything that was said recorded verbatim. They will be read by people who want to know what was agreed at the meeting, sometimes a long time into the future.

3. At the start of the meeting, take a copy of the agenda and keep it in view during the meeting. It’ll help you keep your notes on track.

4.Don’t be afraid to ask questions during the meeting (within reason, of course!). If you didn’t catch someone’s name, it’s absolutely all right to ask; likewise if you didn’t catch something you think might have been important. No one will mind you saying, “Excuse me; please can you clarify...?” and it will save you a lot of trouble when you come to write up the minutes. If there was something I wasn’t sure of and I’d missed the chance to ask, I used to write “CHECK” by it to remind me to do just that before I sent the minutes to the Chair.

5. After the meeting, write up the minutes as soon as possible when everything’s still fresh in your mind.

6. Title them with the name of the meeting, date, time and location.

7. List the people who attended. The Chair’s name goes first, followed by everyone else in alphabetical order. Your name goes last with “(minutes)” after it.

8. Put the action points in bold and make sure it is clear who is responsible for taking the action forward.

9. It’s more important to be clear than punchy!

10. Send your notes to the Chair to look over first. When they are finalised, send them to everyone who was at the meeting and everyone who sent apologies.


Good luck!




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