“To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.” Pearl Buck, Pulitzer-winning American author couldn’t have phrased her wise words better. It’s when we reach a certain level of competence over our tasks that we become more confident and less fearful to tackle them, and this helps us enjoy what we’re doing. And when we enjoy what we’re doing, everything becomes a piece of cake, including typical work tasks such as minute taking.
However, when taking meeting minutes, reaching that point of competence that will allow you to have fun is easier said than done. The minute taker plays a crucial role in ensuring that meetings are productive and results-oriented. Without the minute takers capturing salient points, meetings can lead to nowhere. Minute taking is, therefore, an important task, which should only be taken care of by someone capable, someone who can make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. Be up to the task with these pro tips on how to take meeting minutes.
Review the agenda and read up on the discussion topics ahead of time. You'll understand the conversation much better which will enable you to pay special attention when needed.
Determine who the attendees are beforehand, especially if members of the leadership team will be present. Knowing this can help you be on the alert for the more influential voices, so you can follow those whose opinions weigh more heavily than the rest.
If you’re a fan of legal dramas, you know that recordings, whether audio or video, can win court cases. While you don’t necessarily click on the record button with a legal battle in mind, recording meetings ensure that you capture everything. The devil is in the details, after all. When something comes up later that needs more context, many decision-makers can miscalculate if no verifiable data is available.
Capture every detail with meeting tools, like Spot, which allow you to record entire audio conversations and securely store them on their platform.
Minute takers need to stay on their toes. Keep pace by quickly taking rough notes. While at the meeting, it is more important to focus on the discussion, the decisions made, and the next steps agreed upon. You will find it easy, later on, to pull out the more relevant points from your rough notes once you begin finalizing your minutes. You can also save some “cleaning up” time by using meeting platforms with transcription-selective features, such as Spot, that can help you transcribe parts of the discussion that are highly relevant.
Make the minutes an easy read for the team. Use a standard template when taking notes. Familiarity, in this case, will not breed contempt. Accustomed to the template, everyone can view next steps, who owns what, and expected due dates. Consider a table template that will keep the text short and sweet. Bullet points can also keep it concise and easier to understand and absorb.
To be a successful minute taker, you don't need to wing it alone. An extra pair of eyes will always come in handy. Why not involve the rest of the team in minute taking? Let them know you value their insights and will appreciate it if they can share their notes afterward. Make it easy for them to do so with shared notepads that are text-based like the one Spot has.
Or at least not beyond 24 hours after the meeting. After gathering and sifting the salient points from all the shared notes, don't let several cups of coffee go cold before sending out the minutes for validation. The sooner the meeting minutes are out, the easier it will be for everyone to recall what was discussed and add or edit, as needed. Then collate their inputs, make the necessary updating, and share the verified final minutes.
“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” Mary Poppins may not be in the same Pulitzer-winning league as Pearl Buck, but they share the same idea that working and having fun can and should go together. Learn how to take minutes more competently by applying these tips. You should soon be able to reap the rewards of doing the job well enough to enjoy every minute of it.