How to write meeting minutes?
Writing the minutes of meeting can be a daunting task, more especially if you are a first timer. Nerve, intimidation and the potential of letting down the superior can really make your stomach turning upside down.
But one must know that, if he or she does a wonder job, he has successfully added a new, desired administrative job scope under the belt. This can be really handy, especially when the job of taking down minutes is not tasked to a specific personnel such as secretary or an admin, but rather rotated among the employees.
Here are some guides for those writing minutes of meeting for the first time.
1. Choose strategic location
You want to capture what everyone is saying and hence, a strategic seat in the meeting room is inevitable. Speeches, suggestions and arguments should come across to you at optimum angles. As a rule of thumb, watch where the meeting chairman is taking his seat. You should be located somewhere nearby.
Ascertain that the place you’re seated provides adequate comfort and allows you to work fast, and with minimum interference, if any.
2. Handwritten or typed?
Sure, you have some skills, either in handwriting or typing that can be of use here. Which one works best for you? If you’re trained in shorthand writing, then there’s no better place to sharpen your skills. It’s time to show what you’ve got under your sleeves.
On the other hand, if you can type more than 60 words per minute on the keyboard, perhaps a laptop will be a better choice here. Make sure you type with minimal sound effect that can be a nuisance to those in the meeting room.
3. Listen for keywords
OK. You’re probably not a speed wizard when it comes to writing or typing. Your speed is merely so-so or average. However, do realize that if you can capture the keywords mentioned throughout the meeting, you can save yourself from the scrambling task of writing down too many words.
Where necessary, have a sketch pad nearby (not to sketch the photos of the meeting chairman) that you can use to scribble down some of the words that you can put into full sentences, yet. Use that as reference when you write down the proper meeting minutes.
4. Have structure and format in place
The structure and format of the minutes of the meeting should already be organized prior to the meeting. In case you are not sure what information should be contained in the minutes, consult the people who have done minutes in the previous meetings.
Room should have been made for key points that include attendance, key discussions taking place, action to be taken, owner of actions, time of closure, conclusion etc. Well before the meeting commencement, you should also have the record of the meeting agenda and purpose.
5. Consider use of recorder
Another powerful tool to use to assist you with the task of writing the minutes of meeting is an electronic recorder. This can be MP3 player, laptop recorder, mobile phones or simply any cheap, functioning recorder that sells for $10 to $20. The wonder of this is that, you literally capture everything discussed in the meeting.
However, remember that, with great power, comes great responsibility. If the use of recorder is utilized, the speech is to be transcribed into text later, and most likely, this will be your job too. If a minute takes place for 1 hour, you practically have to sit down for another 1 hour to have all the key points converted to the official minutes of meeting.