Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quick Tip: Taking Good Meeting Minutes

meeting - people seated around a table

Do you take part in meetings: meetings within a company, meetings with clients, meetings of a non-profit organization you are involved with, etc.?

For almost all meetings, I recommend that someone takes and shares meeting minutes - but very abbreviated meeting minutes. All you really need to know is:

1. Who was there (and who was invited but couldn't make it).

2. What decisions were made.

3. What to-do items were assigned - who is going to do what, by when.

Writing down these few things takes very little time - and saves time in the long run!

Photo Credit:


SueBK said...

I spent many years taking minutes for various committees. I couldn't believe the dribble that some people would include.

I generally set out my minutes in three columns. As you suggest, I only included decisions in the main text. The other two columns were for who was responsible to take action for a decision and when that action would be taken. This enables minutes to be used and useful in future meetings.

My minutes basically stated "Mr X will do y by this date." The columns allows you to quickly run through the previous minutes and make sure all actions have been undertaken.

It's important to keep the purpose in mind when drafting minutes. Minutes generally are not required to give a blow by blow account of an entire meeting (unless they're Hansard), but are required to remind the group at their future meetings of the important details of past meetings. (Not ALL details, just IMPORTANT details :-)

If discussion of an issue is heated or protracted, I would note just that. NOT the details of the discussion, but simply that there was a lot of it, or that was a disagreement. The purpose again, simply to record for the future, that this was not cut and dried issue.

Jeri Dansky said...

SueBK, I totally agree with you. :-)

(And I just learned what Hansard means!)

One more point: Minutes taken like this allow anyone who missed a meeting to quickly learn everything he or she really needs to know.