It might seem like one of the less exciting tasks out there, but taking minutes in a meeting is seriously important business. Meeting minutes have the benefit of providing structure to a meeting, and help determine any key issues discussed, as well as actually helping to drive action, and hold decisionmakers and stakeholders to account. For instance, minutes can be used as part of a project review, when measuring the progress of a project, and helps to set out who was responsible for what tasks and duties.
How to write board meeting minutes
With all that said, how do you actually go about writing the minutes of a meeting? Is there anything you can do to take accurate minutes while saving time? We have some ideas on how you can master the task.
Prepare before the meeting
If you find the idea of minute taking painful, a little preparation can help waylay the difficulties you find that you have with them.
First, do you know where you are meeting? Will everyone be attending in the same meeting room or will some people be telecommuting from a virtual office? Have you checked the equipment that you will be using to ensure that it works? Will you have everything that you need in the meeting room – notebooks, extra pens, folders, handouts for the meeting?
Are you considering what technology you are using? Many a veteran minute taker is probably using shorthand – and if that works for you, great – but more people these days are using a laptop. This can save time in the meeting, as you can take a more accurate account of what is being said, but more importantly, will save you loads of time when it comes to organising and finalising the notes post-meeting.
Next, you should get your hands on the proposed agenda for the meeting. This helps make you aware of what to expect from the meeting and the order of priority.
When it comes to the meeting itself, you should ideally sit beside whoever is chairing the meeting. This makes it much easier to signal to the chair if you require clarification on anything that is being said. It’s also probably a good idea to draw yourself a rough seating chart – particularly if you don’t know every attendee!
During the meeting
Once the meeting starts the real challenge begins. If you are newer to taking meeting minutes, or even if you are well practiced, there are a few things that you should ask yourself as you take your notes.
Will the notes you are taking matter in the weeks and months to come? If no, delete it, if yes, add it in. You don’t need to add extraneous details to your draft minutes, it slows you down in the meeting and adds extra work as you are finalising the minutes.
- Don’t record any conversations word for word. Summarise what is being said, include the general cut and thrust of what is being said but don’t be verbose.
- On the other hand, when it comes to motions – record them word for word. You should embolden them for easy scanning too!
- Don’t add emotion to the minutes. Nobody needs to know that Mr. Johnson walked out in a huff.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up – didn’t hear the motion? Ask the person to clarify what they said. If you can’t interrupt, just make yourself a note and ask the chairperson for clarification later.
Okay, I have a load of notes – what do I do now?
Once the meeting has wrapped up, take your notes and rewrite them so that they are organised logically, grouped by projects, task, or theme.
Meetings can be messy so grab the agenda, as well as any reports or other documents that were passed around, and create a draft as soon as possible – that way, memory of the meeting will be fresh in your mind!
Once you have your draft, send it to the chairperson and ask them to review it for you before you send it out to the meeting participants. Once that is cleared, do a final quality check and then send around the minutes, ensuring you file them in the appropriate place.
If you require a meeting space, LEO can help. Whether it’s a large board meeting or a smaller gathering, LEO can give you the space you need for the perfect meeting. Click here to find the perfect LEO meeting room.