SOME TIPS FOR MINUTE TAKERS AT MEETINGS
Minutes or summaries of meetings record the business discussed and the ACTION that needs to be taken how, when, why and by whom prior to the next meeting.
Minutes are not just notes to jog the memory of those who were there. Those who were absent should be able to get a clear and balanced view of what happened at the meeting and what decisions were made. When you write up your minutes read them through as though you had not been at the meeting would they give you a clear and balanced view of the meeting?
The minutes of a meeting should accurately record the contents of the meeting rather than the personal reflections of the minute-taker, or a blow by blow description as to what said what. They need to show what decisions were made and (very briefly) why. Or if no decision was made to record that also.
Below, in italics, is a sample meeting agenda. The agenda is the tool to enable efficient minute-taking. Use it as a check list when recording and writing up the minutes.
1. Present - record all who are present Christian names and surnames. Record who is chairing or facilitating the meeting.
2. Apologies record names of people who have sent word that they are unable to attend (as opposed to those who just dont turn up).
3. Introductions, Welcome, (Prayer in a church group).
4. Minutes of previous meeting record if they are accepted as a true record.
5. Business Arising and follow-up action from previous meeting record who has done what about these things since the last meeting and whether there is any further action to be taken, and who is to do it.
6. Correspondence record who the correspondence is from/to, note briefly what it is about and what action is to flow from it.
7. Reports if the reports are written, simply record who presented them and the main point only of any discussion. Record any action to be taken, when and by whom. If the reports are verbal then also list the main points of the report.
8. Main Agenda Items record the item, who presented it, the main point(s) raised, the decisions made and the actions to be taken (when and by whom).
9. Any other business record as in Main Agenda Items.
10. Communication record who needs to know what from the meeting, and how they are to be told. List the action to be taken and by whom.
11. Next Meeting record clear directions of when and where, and who is to prepare what beforehand.
The minute takers role is an important one, and their ministry to the group invaluable. Theirs is the only official record of what happened at the meeting, and future decisions are often based on what they recorded. The group has a responsibility to support the minute taker in their role and assist them in the accurate recording of the proceedings.
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