Whilst taking minutes at a meeting, either to distribute to team members, or for your own personal record. You may struggle to work out what you have written as notes or minutes after. So here are some tips to help you produce better minutes.
First of all you need to make sure your minutes contain the following:
– The type of meeting, is it a regular meeting or a special one. If special then specify the meeting purpose.
– Date, time and location of the meeting.
– The organisation, department holding the meeting.
– A list of everyone who was invited.
– Name of the person managing or directing the meeting.
– A record of every topic presented and discussed.
– What the conclusion of the meeting was, what action will be taken and who will do it
– Date, time and location of the next meeting.
There is some information that you need to leave out of your minutes. Things like conversation, comments or discussions which are off topic. Do not record each participant’s contribution towards the discussion and do not use direct speech or direct quotes except as formal motions.
With those points in mind you can start thinking about how to write your minutes.
Finding a style that suits you is important, whether it is a pattern plan which is like a spider diagram, a table plan which can be notes based on where people are sitting. You should also consider your method, for example you may be a slow writer but quick typist, so depending on whether you have to write or not, you may want to use a laptop instead.
Write what you mean – Keep this in the back of your head, ensure you use correct spelling and grammar and try not to shorten words or sentences to get them down quickly because you may forget at the end what that shortened sentence actually meant.
Keep paragraphs in line with the topic, so whenever the topic changes you go onto a new paragraph. This is a simple way to keep your notes neater and more organised.
If there are any hand-outs within the meeting, you can use these to guide your notes to write about that particular item.
If you want to learn more about minute taking, then take a look at our Minute Taking Courses.