Taking meeting minutes is an extraordinarily important job, but it’s often seen as dull and unrewarding. This may be because many minute takers don’t have the skills necessary to take accurate, comprehensive, and fast minutes and end up getting overwhelmed.
Here are our top tips for taking top-tier minutes and how to get more support with learning solid minute taking techniques.
As a minute taker, you should be the first to arrive at the meeting. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early, whether your meeting is in-person or remote. Write down attendees who are there and as they arrive or have a pre-printed list that you can simply check off. The latter is typically a good idea for meetings with a large number of attendees.
Even the best minute takers miss a few things here and there. Consider making an audio recording of the meeting that you can use to go back over your notes with and expand or add to anything that wasn’t clear.
It’s not uncommon for minute takers to get a little behind or to miss something important. If you don’t have the audio to go back to later, don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask for clarification for the record. It’s rare that doing so truly interrupts or derails a meeting; in fact, it often allows other attendees to also clarify what was being said.
Avoid the temptation to write full sentences; you won’t be able to keep up. Instead, you should use shorthand notetaking techniques.
If you don’t know formal shorthand, you can skip vowels, write only parts of words, and use bullet points or other formatting techniques to get down what you need to during the meeting. During a break or when the meeting is over, go back and fill in anything that might be too difficult to decipher later.
This may seem like it can go unsaid, but don’t underestimate the importance of having multiple tools to write with when you’re taking meeting minutes. The last thing you want is for your pencil to break or need sharpening or your pen to run out of ink right in the middle of the meeting without having a backup on hand.
Being a master minute taker isn’t something that occurs overnight. If you are regularly responsible for taking meeting minutes, it will benefit you substantially to pursue additional training specific to this task. Videos, books, blogs, infographics, webinars, and more can help you gain new skills that make taking minutes easier than ever before.
At Business Watch Network, we know the importance of ongoing business training and how it can impact a company’s bottom line. We offer a wide variety of business webinars to help you get more support for your team. Training webinars and other materials can help keep your staff focused, effective, and accurate in their work.