I have to admit, few things get me on edge the way that taking minutes get me on edge. After all, if I’m sitting in on an important meeting, I want to make sure I capture every important thing that happens. It’s my job to ensure that we have an accurate – and useful – record of what occurred in that room.
Organize your notes using the meeting’s agenda – If you have an agenda (and you really, really should), you’re aware up front what topics will be covered. Use that agenda as your outline and keep your notes organized accordingly.
Take down the logistical facts – I always note the date, name of the meeting and the attendees.
Know what to leave out of the notes – Conversations digress all the time, and while you may start out talking about last week’s sales, you may end up discussing the barbecue that your vice president of purchasing attended three weeks ago. No need to include that in your notes.
There’s more you can leave out. All the discussion points leading up to the decisions made during a meeting don’t need to be taken down. The decision is what the rest of the company is interested in seeing.
Take minutes by hand or on your laptop, but make sure you circulate them quickly – Many Revolutionary Assistants would rather take notes by hand because typing while everyone is talking can be irritating. That’s perfectly fine, but make sure you get them typed up and circulated quickly. Not only are the notes fresh in your head and easier to interpret, but it helps the other attendees to have them quickly in hand, so they can get started on action items and to dos.
Make sure you highlight and follow up on action items – When I type up minutes from a meeting, I make sure that I highlight all action items in red. Furthermore, when I email them out to the participants of the meeting, I make sure I include the action items in the body of the email and call out who is responsible for what tasks prior to the next meeting.
Are your meetings out of control and unproductive? Try Robert’s Rules of Order – Most businesses run with informal meetings, and many of them are not as productive as they could be. If your team isn’t getting enough done, check out Robert’s Rules of Order. Robert’s Rules of Order typically structures a meeting in such a way that you have “calls to order” and “unfinished business” and other categories that make taking minutes a breeze. It’s not easy to take minutes when discussions are all over the place, and this could help!
Minute taking doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety. Revolutionary Assistants know how to take notes that further the group’s efforts and keep everyone on task!
Next Post: Wednesday, February 12