Tips for Taking Minutes: After the Meeting
In an earlier tip I wrote about what to take notes of during a meeting. Now the meeting’s over. What next?
You’ve taken notes and recorded decisions, action items, deadlines and people responsible. You’ve recorded all the information on your minute taking template. The minutes are a formal record of the meeting and it’s important to be accurate. One way to do this is to finalise them immediately, or as soon as practicable, after the meeting.
So it’s time to write everything up and finalise the minutes.
After the Meeting
- Immediately after the meeting, review your notes and add additional comments, or clarify what you didn’t understand. Do this while the information is fresh in everybody’s mind (and while you can still read your own writing!) Type your notes in the template you created before the meeting—this will make your notes easier for you, and others, to read and use.
- Number the pages as you go. Keep everything in order and make sure that you can easily follow your notes. Sometimes you may find that information on an item that occurred early in the meeting was supplemented by something that occurred later. You can put these together if it helps improve the flow and readability of the minutes.
- Focus on the decisions and action items, rather than the discussion. It’s not important to remember who said what. It is important to know who is responsible for doing what after the meeting.
- Be objective and avoid adding personal observations.
- Only use people’s names when they move or second a motion, or when they are the person responsible for an action. Avoid saying who said what.
- When you need to refer to other documents, for example documents that were presented at the meeting, attach them as an appendix to the minutes and include a reference to the appropriate passage. Avoid trying to summarise or rewrite them.
- When you’ve finished typing up the minutes, ask the chair to review them for accuracy and clarity.
Distribute the minutes to the meeting attendees. Keep your notes, and the template, in case you need to review them later, or someone wants to double check a point.