Have some meeting guests to attend to? Are you asking yourself how you should write minutes in a meeting as a secretary or minute taker? In this post, you’ll learn the following:
- Minutes of meetings meaning
- Importance of minutes of meeting
- Minute taking skills you need
- Parts of minutes of the meeting
- How to write minutes in a meeting as a secretary
Minutes of meetings meaning
A meeting minute is a detailed and accurate record of what happened in a meeting in a particular order. It takes account of the motions proposed, issues deliberated on, and the resolutions reached in the meeting.
In other words, minutes of meeting are proof that a business meeting occurred, and can be referenced by those absent. But beyond this, there are other important reasons why business organizations, team, and board members of corporate bodies write and archive minutes for every business meeting they conducted.
Importance of minutes of meeting
As a secretary, learning and mastering how to write meeting minutes cannot be overstressed. That’s because of how crucial they are to every company and its management. In other words, in your quest to learn how to write minutes in a meeting as a secretary, you must acknowledge the importance of meeting minutes to your company.
Below are some of the importance of minutes of meetings:
Keep track of essential information and decision
In business meetings, participants discuss issues and arrive at specific decisions that may get forgotten when not documented. And some of these decisions are huge, with significance and varied implications, which can be financial, legal, or may risk the life of a person or group. But to avert all these, minute taking becomes more important than one can imagine.
Provide basis for action taking
At the end of every meeting, there is a list of resolutions, motions moved, and votes made by participants. And often, all these involve goals or objectives that need to be implemented.
Therefore, meeting minutes provide clear direction of the actions that a group or team have decided to execute.
Make up for absentees
Business meeting minutes help those that were absent at the meeting to keep tap with the significant events that took place in the course of the meeting.
Reminder and follow-up of resolutions
To resolve issues or challenges during a meeting, participants get assigned for some responsibilities and tasks, either through nomination, voting, or volunteering.
And on this ground, meeting minutes as a binding document validating whatever transpired at the meeting. Therefore, people given assignments can be reminded and followed up appropriately depending on deadlines.
In simple words, minutes of meeting ensure that participants get into action or whatever promise or decision participants made or took.
They provide a solid background for the next meeting
In a lucid manner, a meeting minute answers salient questions about the decisions made in the meeting and ultimately lead to action taking on the part of both management and employees of a company. And this questions include:
- How participants made a decision(s)
- Why they took the decision
- When the decision was agreed on
- Who are those that took the decision, and those to be held accountable for the execution of the decision.
A meeting minute is an official document that involves undertakings from participants, which they need to comply with.
In other words, a minute of meeting ensures accountability from team members (who were either present or absent) to whatever decisions or resolutions that unanimously agreed on.
A safe net from legal problems
In most countries of the world, taking minutes at board meetings is required. Hence, failure to do so can get an incorporated organization into some serious legal problem.
Skills you need to know how to write minutes in a meeting as a Secretary
As someone learning how to write minutes in a meeting as a secretary or as a minute taker, you must first appreciate that you need some minute taking skills. That is because your success in preparing minutes of meeting depends on them. Here are some of them:
Active listening skills are essential in learning how to write minutes in a meeting as a secretary
Every minute taker in a business meeting listens more than they write. Because failure to listen actively may make you miss out on some valuable things said or deliberated on during the business meeting of your team.
That explains why you should be a good listener with special listening skills if you want to write and present effective meeting minutes, which will push your organization forward in achieving its business goals and objectives.
Assertiveness is another exquisite quality for anyone who wants to master how to write minutes in a meeting as a secretary
How assertive you’re during a meeting can influence the accuracy and quality of the minutes you take for your company as secretary or as a designated minute taker. There are occasions that will demand you to speak up and ask the chairperson of the meeting to clarify some things, or perhaps ask other participants to clear things or facts that were not clear to you.
Mastering how to write minutes in a meeting as a secretary demands Knowledgeability
Discussions in business meetings can get filled with the use of technical terms or jargons associated with the operation and nature of the business of the group or team. As a result, as a secretary, you must be very knowledgeable and vast with the technical terms of your firm’s operation and business.
That will help you write a meeting minute that will accurately depict what transpired in your team meeting in the most effective way.
Parts of Meeting minutes you should know when learning how to write minutes in a meeting as a secretary
Every business or formal meeting minute has some essential elements that you should pay close attention to when writing the minute of a team meeting as secretary or a designated minute taker. And they include the following:
The name of your Company or Organization
The name of a company is one of the significant parts of minutes of a meeting. It often forms part of the title of your business entity’s minute. Remember, the name must be spelled correctly at the top of the minute, and preferably accompanied by the logo of your organization.
Date, Time & Location
This part of minutes of meeting constitutes the exact date, time and place where the meeting took place.
The opening of a meeting minute is more or less the introduction or call of order. And it, basically, has to do with stating in a coherent manner the how, when, and where a meeting got convened.
Look at a typical example:
Mr. Wilson Thompson, the operation manager, called to order the regular monthly meeting of the BMB group on May 10 2012, 12:00 PM at the Conference Hall of BMB suite.
List of attendees
This is the part of minutes of meeting that itemize the names of members who were present and participated in the meeting.
List of absentees
List of absent is opposite of list of attendees, and it has to do with names of all members that were not present in the meeting.
This is essentially the list of items that participants discussed in the meeting, often in order of priority. As a secretary or minute taker, you should note that this element of meeting minute is also referred or captured as “activities”
This is the brief and systematic summary of discussions amongst participants birthed from the agenda.
This part of minutes of meetings outline tasks and those who got assigned to implement them.
This part carefully lists the decisions reached in the meeting and the action already taken by the participants.
This element of a meeting minute indicated how and when a meeting was dismissed or adjourned.
Submission and approval of minutes
As a secretary or minute taker of your team business meeting, this is where your full name will be, since you were the one who wrote and submitted it to the chairperson for approval.
The part basically has the full name of the chairperson since he’s one with power to approve minutes of any business meeting you hold.
This is the electronic version of the minute to be distributed to participants. That is the minutes and relevant documents you’re to share with members.
And documents be in the form of photo, word files, and pdf files, or as the case may be.
How to Write Minutes in a Meeting as a Secretary
Are you ready to take the minute of the next big business meeting your company or team is about to organize? If you’re not sure of saying a yes or no, you should read this section carefully. If possible, word for word.
Below are simple and easy to understand step-by-step process on take a good minute…
5 Steps on how to write to minutes in a meeting as a secretary:
Preparation: Step 1 in learning how to write to minutes in a meeting as a secretary
Writing minutes in a meeting as a secretary requires careful preparation. Asking the chairperson before the meeting commence for a copy of the meeting agenda will help you get a template for taking the effective minute. Also, this will save you the stress and time during the meeting in writing an effective minute.
But if you just assumed the role of a secretary in your company or your team, and it’s your first time writing meeting minutes for them, asking for previous minutes is something you should do. That’s because perusing the minutes of past meetings will give you a clear sense of the minute structure of your business meetings and your company preference(s).
Also, preparing yourself to write a good minute for your team as a secretary involves getting your writing materials ready and sourcing an audio or video recorder if you want to record what is happening in the meeting. To save cost, you can decide to use your phone recorder to record the meeting minute, but that would depend on what is acceptable in the meeting situation of your firm.
Start with first things: Step 2 in learning how to write to minutes in a meeting as a secretary
As discussed earlier, the minutes of meetings have different components. After preparing yourself and the materials you’ll need to take the effective minute, you should start your minute writing by recording the start of the meeting. And that basically involves essential information like the date and time, the attendees, and the time the business meeting begins, and effecting necessary corrections or adjustments made to the minute of the previous meeting of your team.
During the meeting
With utmost attention to discussion as they are in the order provided by the meeting agenda, take note motions that were adopted and motions rejected and names of those who moved and seconded to the various motions.
Also, you must outline the action points, any other related discussions, and items rolled over to the next meeting, and of course the time meeting comes to an end while the next meeting’s date gets announced.
Simply put, the following include things note for minute taking should contain during the meeting:
- Items in the meeting agenda that got discussed
- Decisions participants unanimously took
- Action already taken in the course of the meeting and those your team plans to take
- Name of people that proposed motion and the motions they moved
- The outcome of voting for each motion
- Rejected motions
- New items that become part of the meeting agenda
- The date and time of the next meeting
Learning how to write to minutes in a meeting as a secretary, you must know what to do after the meeting:
At this point, you should tweak and polish the draft of the minute you’ve taken down. And then, ask the chairperson to approve the meeting minutes and the go-ahead to start distributing it to participants through the best possible ways, as prescribed by your team. At best, the chairperson gives his approval through signing the minute, after you must have signed. But that depends on what is obtainable in your organization.
When should meeting minute be distributed?
The time and methods through meeting minutes get distributed to participants depend on what is agreed on, coupled with the tool your firm uses. That is to say, the minute of a meeting can be shared traditionally, electronically through email or in the cloud.
As the secretary of your team, the rule of thumb is that you can distribute the minutes of your team business meetings upon gaining the approval of the chairperson.
How to write minutes in a meeting as a secretary: Bonus Tips for minute taking
- Be clear and comprehensive. But that doesn’t mean you should report everything that people say verbatim. Remember, a minute of meeting is a summarized account of what happens in your team business meeting.
- Don’t forget to use past tenses. Minutes of a meeting is an account of things that happened in a meeting.
- Instead of interpreting what took place at the meeting, report it.
- Do not record emotional arguments or exchange of words between participants. In your minute taking, you record only relevant things to your company’s business. Remember, meeting minutes of business meetings are official records and not a personal statement of account.
- Be brief and straight to the point
- Write it with the understanding that minutes of a meeting serve as reference material as far as decision making your firm is concerned.
- Do not delay in writing the minutes of the meeting. The rule of thumb, you should write the meeting minute within a day or two. That will help take account of just what occurred, since the information is still fresh in your mind.
FAQ— How to write minutes in a meeting as a secretary
Do I need to be a secretary to master how to write minutes in a meeting as a secretary?
No doubt, a secretary is a professional who performs many administrative duties, including minute-taking. But then, you don’t need to earn a degree in secretarial studies to master the art of minute taking.
But then, you need a practical understanding of the skills required to write good meeting minutes and then practice. PRACTICE.
So that may involve volunteering for a secretarial role in teams or associations to which you’re a member.
Grasping the step-by-step guide on how to write minutes in a meeting as a secretary above, you’re good to start writing excellent meeting minutes. However, do not forget to research the practice for minute writing unique to your company.