Well-run meetings have several things in common: They are planned and announced in advance; they follow an agenda; the right people are present; those responsible for following up on action items are identified; the meeting ends on time; and there is a record of events for reference and follow-up. The recorder shares responsibility with the leader for conducting an effective meeting and ensuring participants' time is well spent.
The most obvious task of a recorder is to take notes during the meeting. This allows the meeting leader to concentrate on leading the discussion without having to write down what’s taking place at the same time. If the discussion veers off course or someone is unclear about a point, it is the recorder’s role to ask for clarification so the minutes accurately reflect the conversation.
The meeting leader may also ask the recorder to be the timekeeper to keep the discussion on track. The recorder follows the agenda and helps the speakers stick to the time allotted to their topics. The recorder may give a signal to let a speaker know he is nearing the end of his time allotment and should wrap up his comments.
At the end of the meeting, the recorder gives an oral summary of the discussion for those in attendance, noting all decisions, action items and those responsible for following up. This allows the meeting participants to add to or clarify the meeting minutes before the meeting ends. The recorder may also be asked to provide a meeting recap at the start of the next meeting.
After the meeting, it is the recorder’s job to type the meeting minutes, noting the meeting time and place, and those present and absent. She is also responsible for distributing the minutes to all participants and posting the document in an online shared database or website for reference and archiving. Type and distribute the meeting minutes within three or four days of the meeting while the conversation is still fresh in attendees' minds. The meeting leader can also use the minutes to develop an agenda for the next meeting.
The leader may assign other administrative duties to the recorder, such as drafting and distributing the agenda, reserving the meeting room, providing a projector and other equipment and inviting guest speakers.