|
|
|
Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Eric P. Bloom: 8 tips for writing great meeting minutes

    • email print
      Comment
  • I don’t know about you, but whenever I’m in a meeting and the leader asks who would like to take the minutes, I always try to find a reason to look down at my notebook as if I didn’t hear him. I’m not a great notes taker, and the task has never been on the top of my hit parade of favorite activities. That said, there are various advantages of being the note taker and simple ways to efficiently take the notes and produce the meeting minutes.
    The advantages of being the official meeting note taker and producer of the minutes are:
    Everyone in the meeting may feel like they owe you a favor, making it easier to push through your personal agenda. It’s less likely that you will get other, more difficult, action items because you already have to write and publish the minutes. The meeting will be officially documented based on your interpretation of the meeting. It illustrates your willingness to be a team player and take on additional tasks as needed. Demonstrates your writing ability.
    There are a number of things you can do to simplify the note taking process, including the following:
    Design your meeting template prior to the meeting. This helps assure that you don’t miss any important items. Generally speaking, your meeting minutes should have the following categories: Date, time and meeting title Name of meeting leader List of meeting attendees For each agenda item Agenda item name Discussion highlights Conclusions (if applicable) Action items: task, person responsible, and due date (if applicable)
    If you don’t know the names of all of the people at the meeting, pass around an attendance list. This saves you from having to spend time writing down everyone’s name and saves you from asking the name of someone you should know. It also guarantees that everyone’s name will be spelled correctly. Use bullet points whenever possible. They are easier to write and for most people they are easier to read (if they actually read the minutes). Unless required, based on the nature of the meeting, don’t write down everything that was said, just highlights of the discussions, the conclusion, and the specific action items. In most meetings almost everything else is usually worth forgetting. Finalize and distribute the minutes as soon as possible after the meeting. This has the dual benefits of illustrating your professional timeliness and getting them written while the meeting is still fresh in your mind. Be factual, not opinionated. Also, don’t take sides in the conversation. The notes should be written from an unbiased perspective. Don’t try to wordsmith your notes during the meeting, it can cause you to miss an important comment that should have been recorded. Lastly, if appropriate, have someone else who was at the meeting give them a quick read to be sure you didn’t miss anything important or accidently report something incorrectly.
    Page 2 of 2 - In closing and as a caution when taking notes, be careful not to include comments or discussions that are best not documented. For example, someone speaking poorly about another employee, personal (non-meeting related) items that came up in the discussion, and/or arguments between meeting participants. Unnecessarily documenting these types of items could be very embarrassing for meeting participants and bring hard feelings toward you.
    The primary advice and takeaways from today’s column is to know that:
    There are many advantages of volunteering to be the meeting note/minutes taker. There are a number of things you can do to simplify the note taking process.
    Until next time, work hard, work smart, manage well and continue to build your professional brand. Eric P. Bloom is the president and founder of Manager Mechanics LLC, a management training company specializing in information technology (IT) leadership and is the governing organization of the ITMLP and ITMLE certifications. He is also a keynote speaker, nationally syndicated columnist, and author of the books “The CIO’s Guide to Staff Needs, Growth, and Productivity,” “Your IT Career: Get Noticed, Get Promoted, and Build Your Professional Brand” and “52 Great Management Tips.” Contact him at eric@ManagerMechanics.com, follow him on Twitter at @EricPBloom, or visit www.ManagerMechanics.com.

        calendar