JS Tip 217: From the Managing Meetings Workshops: Keeping Minutes

You’re walking through the zoo.

You pass the lions and the tigers and the bears.

In the next cage are the aardvarks.

You’ve never seen such an animal in your life. This is a whole ‘nuther beastie.

Minutes are the aardvarks of business documents. They’re a “whole ‘nuther beastie.”  

Before the Meeting

Make sure you’re not a major participant in the meeting. You can’t do both tasks.

Link with the person calling the meeting. Ask for an agenda and a list of attendees. Identify the date, time, and purpose of the meeting.

Decide how you’ll take the minutes. Paper and pencil? Laptop? On a white board for everyone to see?

During the Meeting

As people enter the meeting, check off their names on the list of attendees. (If you don’t know their names, ask.)

Identify and record two items: Decisions and action items. That’s it. Action items include the task, the person responsible, and the time frame (the deadline).

After the Meeting

Write the minutes quickly. Memory fades.

Review the minutes with the person calling the meeting. Make any necessary changes.

Send a copy of the minutes to those attending the meeting. Keep the master copy yourself.

We have templates for minutes. If you’d like to see them, let us know.

And, if you have questions, comments, or arguments, let us know. We love this stuff.

A special thanks to the people at Zions Compliance; they prompted this tip.