Importance of Making “Minutes” of meeting

Minutes of the meeting  are written and  recorded documentation which is used for informing the attendees and the non-attendees about the happenings during the meeting. The minutes of meeting are generally taken and recorded at the time of  the meeting so that the participants have a written record of what happened in the meeting. Minutes are also known as the  protocols or more informally the notes which are the instant written record of  meeting or a hearing. Minutes  typically describes the events which take place in the meeting along  with a list of the attendees and a statement about the issues which are considered by the participants and  responses or decisions related with the issues.

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Minutes can be created during the meeting either by a typist or by a court reporter, who can make use of shorthand notations and can prepare the minutes and then issue them afterwards  to the participants. Also, the meetings can be audio recorded, video recorded, or even there are the group’s  being appointed or informally assigned by the  Secretary to take notes, while minutes prepared later. Many  agencies  make use of minutes recording software for recording and preparing  minutes in real-time.

The format of the meeting’s minutes  varies from one organization to another, but they are usually  straightforward. Minutes start by listing the body, gives  the date and time of  meeting, members present, and also offers a short review of every agenda item and  record of the vote, if any being taken for each and every item. It  will also note  the time of adjournment and  lists the date and time of  next meeting. Minutes of meeting are very essential for recording the contributions of people towards the actions being taken by a company. Meeting minutes can  be used  as an evidence in a court of law in the case of  a lawsuit. Because of the high level of public exposure, it is often recommended that the meeting minutes are considered as an important part of a company’s communication and its record keeping.

Minutes of the meeting focuses on decisions being made during meeting and commitments being made by  participants. The commitments are being accompanied by the due dates and  other details necessary for  understanding of the meeting participants.

Effective  minutes of  the typical business meetings does not require to record each discussion. There is also no need to record and state that who said what.  This rule of minute making  is quite different from another type of  situations like legal action, court hearings, and so on. These types of minutes  require a record of  the conversation and the statement, whereas it is not required by typical workplace meetings.

Ideally,  minutes are disseminated to  participants within the 24 hours of  meeting. Minutes serve as a reminder of  the commitments made in the  meeting. They help participants to transfer their meeting commitments to calendars and in their  to do lists.

Usually, minutes begin with  entity name,  date,  people present, the date and  time on which chair called the meeting to order.

Minutes  record what  occurs in a meeting actually,  in the order in which it actually happens, regardless of any written agenda that encounter follows.

The principal function of minutes is  recording the decisions being made,  and all executive decisions should be included.

Minutes usually include various important elements which are considered to be important:

  • The names of the participants, who attended the meeting

  • The agenda items that were covered

  • Decisions being made by the participants

  • The follow-up actions being committed by the present participants,

  • Due dates for completion of the commitments

  • Events or discussions which are worth documenting for future reviews or history.

For  making effective minutes there are various points that should be noted and paid regard to create a template for recording  meeting minutes and  to make sure to leave some blank space for recording notes, the following information should be included:

  1.  Date and time of  meeting

  2.  The purpose of  meeting

  3.  The meeting lead or chair’s name

  4.  Assigned action items

  5.  Decisions being made

Before  meeting,  information from the host should be gathered as much as possible. There should be a list of all attendees, as well as  information about the purpose of  the meeting. This would ensure that there is no  need to scramble for understanding what’s going on while  recording notes.

It should be decided in advance that how  records should be  noted. If one is not comfortable with using pen and notepad than use of  tape recorder or a laptop can be made in the meeting.

Action items should be recorded and decisions should be made as they happen not waiting until after the meeting to get over to pull them out of notes or  a mistake could be committed. If one is unable to understand  what decision has been made or action that has been assigned so he should ask the meeting lead for clarification. Proper review of the notes should be made and  additional comments should be added, or clarification of what is not being understood  after the meeting. This should be done while  information is fresh in one’s mind.

While making minutes, use of some of  the following tips from the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) should be also made of.

Numbering the page to avoid confusion later. Though,  the minute-taker is responsible for providing good flow he should not be forced to write  minutes in  actual chronological order of  discussion.

Focus should be on action items, not discussion. Purpose of minutes is  defining decisions being made, and  recording  actions that are to be taken and by whom and when.

Be objective. The minutes should be written in  the same tense throughout and use of people’s names should be avoided except for motions or seconds.

Inflammatory or personal observations should be avoided. The use of fewer adjectives or adverbs should be made. Dull writing is a  key for effective minutes.

 If there is a need to refer to  documents, then they should be attached  in an appendix or inadequate. Don’t rewrite the intent or  to summarize them.