As part of our Public Schedule portfolio, STL offers a course on Taking Minutes, delivering high-value content along with a significant amount of practical exercises which allows minute-takers to remember, write and record in meetings without anxiety and tiredness.
Minute taking is required across the spectrum of industry: large organisations government departments, councils, law and administration offices, courts, schools and the NHS; anywhere where reports have to be kept and presented to management across the board and many of which can be held as legal documents.
Purpose of the course
An organisation needs to ensure its staff are made aware of the purpose of minutes, and the value they bring. An effective way of recording and presenting minutes, either formally or informally, is a pre-requisite for the efficiency of the business, particularly if it wants everyone to understand what is happening within it.
The biggest complaints minute-takers have is that they are :
- Often ignored
- Secondary to proceedings and
- Unable to know exactly what to take down
- Writing as soon as someone speaks and then find they tire quickly, truly missing most of what the speaker has said
Their anxiety levels are increased when:
- Delegates are unknown to them
- International meetings often result in listening to different accents, foreign spellings and over-talking which means they must write a lot
- They look back at their work and can hardly read their own notes
The course gives them wonderful tools to:
- Know how to slow down and listen to the words spoken before writing to get the feel of the communication
- Record the key points and relevant facts
- Prepare for and lead the Chair and Attendees to advise you when using any acronyms, foreign names or spellings etc.
- Fashion your report to the intended recipients
- Know when to use which style of minutes required
- Design a colour coded way of reading back your reports
- Summarise and consolidate
- Reflect and record necessary dialogue accurately
- Demonstrate the transparency and historic thread of decision making, laws, and motions and provide a snapshot of the course and progress of a meeting/hearing
- Use keywords which will help you to remember the gist of a communication if there has been a delay in writing up the minutes.
- Techniques learned lead to an increase in working efficiency which leads to higher productivity
Without actual practise we cannot correct the mistakes we may be making when taking minutes. Naturally therefore, the course will offer several minute-taking exercises to try out the new skills and methods demonstrated. This can be slightly uncomfortable at times, but it can also provide excellent insight into areas of improvement.
The coupling of professional trainers delivering the material and the gleaning of feedback on the day ensures that STL can provide a course that features what the majority of people having to take minutes are looking for: new ideas, useful and effective models and full hints on preparing for sessions which build your confidence.
Key skills such as conducting sessions, listening, critical thinking and organisation are also examined.
We have been running this course for many years, and it’s being constantly ‘upgraded’ to reflect the changing needs of the market. Inevitably, our feedback has been excellent across the board with delegates recommendations:
“Remembering techniques highly useful. I now have a way to recall a scenario given to me even after a few days of the meeting.”
“Everyone got involved in the exercises. It showed us all what traps we were falling into and how to prevent common mistakes.”
“As secretaries, we have so much on our plate that the fear and boredom of taking down and writing up minutes adds to the turmoil of our day. This course has helped take away that anxiety and I actually look forward to using the techniques I learnt. The chore has been turned into a challenge”
As a trainer I have seen many minute takers undervalue the role they play, that they are just observers. Yet they are second in importance to the chair, if not more so, because it often depends on them to set the agenda, organise and run the meeting as well as to keep everyone abreast of what was said and the motions and tasks put forward.
The course instils in the delegate the confidence to take accurate notes, inform participants of the minute-taker’s requirements and to conduct the meeting in a way helpful to ensuring accurate notes are taken. Dry notetaking becomes a way of telling a story to the reader, even in formal presentation.
There are many training companies offering courses on Taking Minutes. Hopefully this case study illustrates how STL can uniquely improve the productivity and efficiency of taking minutes, without the stress!
Other necessary skills for minute takers are a high proficiency in core Microsoft Office applications, and we can help with our Word, PowerPoint and Excel courses.