Writing minutes is an essential skill for assistants, which is why we are giving you 5 top tips on how to become a minute taking boss!
Do you find that you are always writing minutes for meetings, hate doing them and take for ever to complete them? Not to worry - we are here to share 5 top tips on how to get them finished, circulated and off your to-do list as quickly as possible while still producing a quality piece of work.
Our top tips:
1. Consistency is key.
The format of your minutes should be consistent, and ideally, you should be working on one template. If your company does not have a branded template, you should suggest this to your manager and design something for them. We suggest a simple word template with the following information:
- The name of the Committee meeting
- The date, time and location of the meeting
- The attendees
- The apologies
- The name of the minute taker
- Each of the agenda items underlined and listed with details on what was decided, what was accomplished and the action points to take forward (with the initials of the person responsible for the action).
- Any other business
- The date of the next meeting
2. Don’t snooze. Write your notes up as quickly as possible!
Although the temptation is to leave typing up your minutes to the last minute, we wouldn’t recommend it. Try and get the notes typed up as soon as possible, ideally by the following day. Even if you had become an expert at drafting minutes you may still find that you forget certain parts of the meeting and you can’t quite decipher what you meant when you made the notes. Another plus for getting them written up and circulated early, is that you will give those with actions an early reminder to complete their work, which saves you time chasing them when the next meeting rolls around.
3. Avoid ‘he said, she said’.
There are only three main areas of the conversation that you must capture in your minutes so try to avoid all of the chat and ‘he said, she said’ dialogue. Unless it is relevant to the key agenda points leave this dialogue out of the minutes.
4. Use the correct grammar.
We recommend writing in past tense in the 3rd person. This is the grammar to use when writing minutes, for example, Benjamin Hall agreed to distribute the minutes as soon as possible. A great way to save time is to use peoples initials instead of writing out their full name. This is however, a style choice and may not be suitable for all companies.
5. Proofread, proofread and proofread again!
We advise getting everything on the page as quickly as possible and then go back a day later to tweak the wording and sentence structure. It’s normal for the minutes to be proofread by other people before they are finally circulated so it is not uncommon for your work to be changed.