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Minute by Minute: Learning the Skill of Taking Meeting Minutes

Educational presentation for administrative professionals just learning, or wanting to improve their minute-taking skills.

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Minute by Minute: Learning the Skill of Taking Meeting Minutes

  1. 1. Minute by Minute Learning the Skill of Taking Meeting Minutes A Guide For Administrative Professionals Beckie Layton Administrative Consultant & Freelance Writer
  2. 2. Objectives & Outcomes A.  Understand the purpose and importance of accurate minutes B.  Learn the three primary components of minute-taking C.  Identify Essential tools and fundamentals for creating your own standardized templates D.  Learn Tips for practicing and improving
  3. 3. A. The Purpose and Importance of Minutes q  To serve as an official permanent record of who was present, what was decided, what actions must be taken, who must take them and when. q  To support decisions around policies & procedures, finance & budget, and staffing (and the like). q  To inform those who are unable to attend of the business that transpired in their absence.
  4. 4. Example #1 of how minutes are used and why it is important they are accurate and complete: In all Magnet® designated hospitals, nurses have Shared Governance Councils where practice decisions are made by nurses. At a Seattle hospital, when writing their Magnet® re- designation documents, they wanted to use an important Guideline of Care (GOC) as evidence in response to one of the component requirements. They had to provide evidence that nurses did indeed make the practice decision that led to the creation of that GOC. When they went back two years to the minutes of the Quality Practice Council where the work was done, they couldn’t find definitive documentation of the work, who did it, or the council approval vote for the final GOC. Result: They were unable to use that GOC to respond to the component requirement.
  5. 5. Example #2 of how minutes are used and why it is important they are accurate and complete: A very busy general contracting company held Job Supervisor meetings every Monday afternoon at 4:00 pm. Since they had jobs all over Western Washington, some supervisors were unable to attend or call in. Minutes of the meetings were to be posted on their work site and emailed to all supervisors by 11:00 am the following day. The admin was distracted during the meeting as they debated an issue that he felt wasn’t important, so he began reading emails. Unfortunately he didn’t record a decision that supervisors would be required to attend a one-time-only safety training on the new equipment by the vendor the following Monday at 2:00 pm. Result: Six job supervisors missed the valuable training
  6. 6. Example #3 of how minutes are used and why it is important they are accurate and complete: The Western Washington Chapter of the Association of Women in Small Business meets on the 1st Thursday of the month. Minutes are distributed via email within five days of the meeting to a membership of over three hundred. At the May meeting, the Chair announced that a respected successful business women would be coming to speak to their membership at the June meeting and all were welcome. They would move the meeting to a larger venue if the membership showed interest, so they were asked to RSVP to the Chair by the end of May. The recording secretary recorded the information but neglected to put in the information requiring that those who wanted to attend should RSVP by May 30th – so the larger venue was not secured. Result: Over 150 people arrived to the regular meeting location that only held fifty people to see the speaker.
  7. 7. B. The Three Primary Components of Minute Taking One: Preparing for the Meeting a)  No less than 5 days prior to meeting secure final agenda from chair/meeting owner b)  If not provided already, contact presenters and ask for PowerPoints or any other documents to be presented c)  Make sure you have full name, title and credentials of all presenters
  8. 8. One: Preparing for the Meeting - Continued d)  Send out Agenda no less than 3-days prior to meeting to participants with meeting reminder (note: if available you can attach documents) e)  Prepare meeting minute template with current date and agenda items. Extract information from documents received when possible and insert links to web sites (internal & external) if available f)  Update sign-in sheet and bring extra pens – print out handouts
  9. 9. Two: The Meeting a)  Arrive at least 30-minutes prior to start time to make sure room is set up correctly and AV equipment is working properly b)  Set up welcome table with sign-in sheet(s) and handouts c)  Position yourself in the front of the room where you can see all participants and screens d)  Make sure you have water and have taken care of any business that might require you to leave during the meeting
  10. 10. Two: The Meeting - Continued e)  Just the facts! Summarize each presentation using Who-What-When-Where-Why and if applicable How •  John Doe, Director of HR, presented the overall findings from our last employee survey. •  He reported that we met our goal in all areas so bonus will be issued to all employees on Nov. 1, 2014. •  You will be receiving full results in an email today and you are being asked to present the results to to your staff sometime in the next two weeks f)  Keep all judgments out of your minutes – even if someone gets ‘frustrated’ or there is a ‘heated debate’
  11. 11. Three: After The Meeting a)  Minutes should be completed and sent to the chair for review as quickly as possible •  If chair requests changes they can be made prior to posting/sending out and change doesn’t need to be noted •  Proofread – it is your job to be accurate b)  Minutes should be disseminated accordingly within 7 days, or sooner if organization requires •  If member of group wants to make a change after minutes are sent out – this would be an amendment and should be called out at next meeting and noted in those minutes
  12. 12. C. Essential Tools & Templates Essential Tools ›  The laptop is the best tool to use for taking minutes - Type directly into your prepared minute template The Benefit is you can quickly finalize and send for approval ›  Keep the agenda and steno pad at hand The Benefit is you are ready to take notes and corrections to aid in a prompt turn-around of your final minutes ›  Prepare tent cards with attendee names – very helpful in more formal meetings The Benefit is you always know who is speaking; this is very helpful during motions and voting
  13. 13. Essential Tools & Templates Continued ›  Have minutes from previous meetings on hand The Benefit is you can easily refer to them as needed or as a resource for the meeting chair/facilitator ›  Create a Meeting Fundamentals sheet listing everything about the meeting (e.g., purpose of meeting, location, recurrence, chair, members, where to save minutes & how to disseminate, timelines for actions, etc. ) The Benefit is if you are unable to attend for any reason, anyone can access this information and fill in with very little disruption, if any ›  Never check your email or do other work during the meeting – stay focused and attentive
  14. 14. Templates Ø  Chances are, you will be asked to use an established template for your minutes and agenda Ø  It is highly probable that these templates were created by another admin and asking the chair/group if you can update or create a new template is acceptable Ø  Having a standardized structure and look to your agenda and minutes is important to the overall professionalism of your contribution to the work of the group Ø  Use same font, colors and style on agenda, sign-in sheets and minutes Ø  Resist making frequent changes to these – consistency is appreciated
  15. 15. Creating Templates Your agenda & minute templates should both contain: 1.  Name of Organization (logo if applicable) 2.  Name of Meeting 3.  Name of Chair or facilitator 4.  Date, Time, Location of Meeting 5.  List of agenda items in order in which they will be presented and by whom q  Agenda only should list how much time each item is being allotted Need help creating templates? Go to BeckieLayton.com. Use “Contact” tab and make request in the comments section – Please reference Minute-by-Minute Presentation
  16. 16. Creating Templates The Minute Template should contain: 1.  On top of page one, all items on previous slide 2.  On top of page one, list of all those in attendance and those absent 3.  First item should be approval of previous minutes 4.  If any corrections to previous minutes are agreed to, they should be noted as an Amendment in item two 5.  Next to each item title and presenter name, area for minutes 6.  Next to minutes should be an area for Action Items or follow up – include who is to do what and when 7.  Last item should be date and time of next meeting 8.  Always number pages “1 of 5”
  17. 17. Creating Templates Your templates can be very basic or more complex. This will be determined by the kind of meeting and the type of information being conveyed. ²  If your committee/group/council is larger with many different things going on, the AID Action Agenda and AID Action Minute Template may be a useful tool. ²  Members know what to expect from each item on the agenda a head of time; and AID can be used on minutes as well ›  A = Action ›  I = Inform ›  D = Requires Decision and Feedback
  18. 18. Sample AID Action Agenda
  19. 19. Sample AID Action Minutes
  20. 20. Commonly Used Words And Phrases Group discussed… It was noted that… Motion approved Motion rejected It was suggested… It was agreed that… It was concluded that… Tabled until next meeting Presented Proposed Opposed Time sensitive Action items The pros are… The cons are… After much discussion… After some discussion… Asking for your input Asking for your approval Forthcoming Defer to In summary
  21. 21. Practice Makes Perfect Anyone can build their minute-taking skills. Here are a few suggestions: Ø  Ask to sit-in on meetings where someone is taking minutes and you take your own minutes – later you can compare to identify areas of improvement Ø  Take minutes at meetings even if not required – ask someone to review to see if you captured everything of importance Ø  Watch on line videos like Ted Talks and take minutes – watch again and see if you captured all the key points Ø  Ask for critique and feedback from your peers Ø  Practice – practice - practice
  22. 22. More References ›  Robert’s Rules of Order – Quick Reference http://www.robertsrules.org ›  Formal Meeting Etiquette http://etiquette-ny.com/formal-business-meeting-protocol/ ›  Administrative Assistant to Board of Directors http://wiki.asuw.org/wiki/ Administrative_Assistant_to_the_Board_of_Directors ›  Bing images of meeting minutes http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=meeting +minutes&qpvt=meeting+minutes&FORM=IGRE ›  Download Meeting Templates http://www.meetingtemplates.com
  23. 23. Beckie Layton is an Administrative Consultant and Freelance Writer with a foundation in the corporate world. As an experienced Administrative Professional with more than 20- years of experience at a world-class organization and a small business owner, Beckie is adept in all aspects of office management, project management and process improvement. Beckie is available for speaking engagements, consulting, project collaboration and content contribution. bdlaytonwa@comcast.net http://beckielayton.com Seattle, Washington