The Art of Writing Minutes
Writing Up Clear Minutes
- Start immediately after the meeting to understand and remember what you wrote
- What you wrote should translate directly into complete minutes
- Summary items should stand out from the rest of the minutes
- Even if you have little time, at least write up the summary
What Do The Minutes Contain?
- Time, date and place of meeting
- List of people who attended the meeting
- List of people who gave their regrets
- List of people who were absent and did not give their regrets
- Approval of the previous meeting's minutes, and any matters arising from those minutes
- For each item in the agenda, a record of the principal points discussed and decisions taken
- Time, date and place of the next meeting
- Name of person taking the minutes
- Distribute the agenda before the meeting so that members have a chance to prepare for the meeting.
- Prepare an outline (for the minutes) based on the agenda ahead of time and leave plenty of white space for notes.
- To be sure about who said what, make a map of the seating arrangement, and make sure to ask for introductions of unfamiliar people.
- Include an item "Other Business" at the end of the agenda as a place to include last minute items.
- Keep the minutes short and to the point.
- Where a member of the group is asked to perform a task, record an "Action" point; this makes it easy to read through the minutes at the next meeting and "tick off" the action points.
- Write the minutes as the meeting happens or immediately after the meeting.