You’ve turned up at a meeting, and someone says ‘your turn to take the minutes’ – here’s some handy tips

We’ve all been there. You turn up at a meeting, your action points all nice and colour coded. You sit down and someone says ‘take the minutes, would you?’ And your heart sinks.

If it does fall in your lap, here’s some handy tips to make the most of your minute taking – and save you time in typing them up.

Because it’s not just trying to get down every important detail, it’s the three hours that it’ll take you to type them up and send them to everybody. And then it’s the extra hour and a half dealing with queries people have with them. Not to mention the fact that you haven’t been able to play an active role in the meeting and your colour coded action points are sitting unloved and unused.

  • You don’t need to write down everything

But you DO need to make sure that you’ve got the important points. John may think that a ping pong table for the break out room is important, and spend ten minutes discussing it in AOB, but you don’t need all the detail.

  • See your RESOLUTIONS and ACTION points

If you’re typing your notes, then make sure to use your shortcut keys to make certain bits stand out. Action points and Resolutions are two examples that can be highlighted (colour coded, bold, italic, caps – whatever you’re comfortable with), and then you can build the rest of your minutes around these points. If you’re handwriting your notes, use a star or other signifier in the margin to draw your attention.

  • Unsure? Then ASK!

Someone said something that you didn’t get and you think it might be important? MASSIVE ARROW AND QUESTION MARKS. Then as soon as the meeting has finished, ask whoever was speaking what they said, and you can assess whether it’s important enough to go in the minutes. Try and ask them as soon as possible. If you’re typing up your notes a couple of hours (or a day) later and come across something you don’t understand, chances are that the speaker has forgotten what they’ve said.

At least you can say ‘I did them last month!’ next time.

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