Quality Minute Taking for Effective Meetings

Quality minute taking is a skill which contributes significantly to the efficiency of meetings. It clarifies action points and supports wider productivity within your organisation.

In this blog, learn what the key components of minute taking are, and how developing the skill can impact on your organisation’s profitability.


Why should we have minutes?

Minutes serve several purposes. Primarily, they provide a guide for the meeting. This allows the meeting to stay on track. It will highlight progress areas and indicate what needs to be covered. Minutes keep track of action points discussed and ensure everyone knows their responsibilities, which helps to provide accountability. Minutes also provide an accessible reference for those not able to attend the meeting, and a useful revision tool for those who did.

You are providing a vital service by taking notes and producing a final report.



What do you need to record?

Minutes are not a transcript of everything that was said during a meeting. Instead, they are a summary of the important discussion, and the subsequent agreed upon action points agreed upon.

The key things that you will need to record when minute taking are:

      • Decisions made
      • What was accomplished?
      • Recommendations made and the principal points which led to them
      • Actions that need to be taken in the future

Preparing for the meeting

You do not need to have the same grasp of the topic as attendees, but it is useful to have a basic understanding. This will help you to identify the important details that you should record during the meeting.

You can produce an agenda in advance. By doing so, you will ensure that attendees know what can be expected of them. It adds structure to the meeting.  It enables you to write effective notes as you will be able to follow the discussion easily and ensure that the meeting stays on course. Being properly prepared will keep your notes succinct and accurate, making it easier for you to produce clear and logical final minutes.

 Listening and questioning

You will be required to record only certain parts of the discussion. Nevertheless, you should still concentrate and listen to what is being said.  Maintaining eye contact with speakers helps to focus on the discussion and sitting next to the Chairman or Leader will help you to clearly see and hear everyone.

If you don’t understand or were unable to hear, you must ask a question or ask the speaker to repeat what they said. Some people find this challenging at first. If you open your question with ‘For the minutes’, it will remind attendees that you are there to do an important job though. Your input will be appreciated.

Doing so means that your memory of the meeting will be clearer, and you can easily expand on any notes if you missed something.


Typing up your notes

You must type up your meeting notes to create the final minutes document as soon as possible. Your memory of the meeting is much clearer immediately afterwards. This gives you the best opportunity to accurately expand on any notes which you made if you didn’t have the time to write them out in full. You will save time too, because you won’t have to go back over and read through your minutes to re-familiarise yourself.

The minutes must be entirely neutral and not express any preference for ideas or attendees. The document you produce should provide an objective overview of the discussions had and the decisions made.

As minute taker, you are likely to be responsible for taking minutes for several meeting. Create templates. This will ensure that you can save yourself some time when reporting. By using templates, you will gain a quicker understanding of exactly what information you need to include. As a result, you will know what you should be listening out for noting. Templates ensure that meetings as well as your business documents are consistent and professional. The more you do it, the bigger the impact you have on wider productivity of the organisation.

Final Thoughts

Minute taking is a skill that requires practice but by following our tips, you will be able to make a considerable impact, not only on meetings, but on the business as a whole.


For more tips and information have a look at this additional blogpost Tips for Taking Minutes in a Meeting