Skill Level Intermediate
- If you are an administrative support professional that is responsible for taking minutes, you can find ways to make your job easier. Because information is communicated quickly and meetings move fast, you want to ensure you are armed with a set of good practices to help keep you on track. Here are some of the top tips and techniques that I have learned and practice throughout the years. First, create or find a template that you can use to capture the pertinent information of your meeting.
There are a variety of meeting minute templates available online. I have created my own template that captures the highlights of the information that is important for my organization. Your template can be paper or digital, depending on your comfort and skill level. Remember to create your template using your meeting agenda as a guide. Second, physically record the meetings for future playback when constructing the minutes.
I, of course, only do this if the participants are comfortable and agreeable. I utilize a handheld voice recorder or use an app on my iPhone. These recordings have come in very handy when needing to transcribe my notes or ensure that I have captured the information accurately. As soon as I have completed my minutes and they have been approved, I delete the recording, unless my meeting retention guidelines say I need to keep it for a specific time period.
Third, don't try to capture every word of every conversation in the meeting verbatim. This is nearly impossible, unless you are a trained transcriptionist. You should be focusing on decisions, assignments, action steps, etc. Also, if you need clarification, or something that was said on a decision that was made, ask for it. Don't be afraid to interrupt the meeting for the purpose of the minutes.
Your attendees should be willing to give you the information that you need to ensure the accuracy of your notes. And have someone proofread your minutes, whenever possible, before you send them out. If you can have someone who was also in the meeting, do it; that's even better, since they are familiar with what went on during the meeting. By having another set of eyes on your notes, you are likely to have an accurate finished product. This is an extra step to keep your credibility high as an accurate notetaker.
Finally, send the minutes of your meeting out as soon as possible for feedback and comments. By doing this timely, everyone who was in attendance will still have the meeting fresh in their memory and won't need to try to recall information that has since been forgotten. Similar to public speaking, taking meeting minutes is something that you get more comfortable with the more you do it. Although it can be a stressful job at times, it also allows you to showcase your skills, both in person and on paper, in a way that other job responsibilities don't allow.
Use this as an opportunity to shine while performing a necessary and important job function for your organization.