The Correct Way to Take Minutes at a Meeting

by Ruth O'Neil - Updated September 26, 2017
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Meetings take place just about everywhere there are people. Churches, schools and businesses all hold meetings for one reason or another. When minutes are properly taken they can easily be relayed to other members of the meeting who need to hear something specific again, especially a day or two after the meeting. As much as we may try we will never remember everything. That is why taking minutes correctly at a meeting is so important.

Taking Minutes

Check to see if your business, church or school has a required format for taking meeting minutes. Some places of business have a certain way they like to do things, even if it varies from the standard a little bit. Make sure you follow the format requested.

Sit in a place where you can see and hear everyone. It is hard to write down the minutes when you are looking for who said what. Sitting in a central location is best if the room is fairly large with no amplification. Sit at the front of the room when large groups use microphones.

Write the date on your paper. Have your paper and pen ready before the meeting begins to prevent you missing something important at the start. Also, write down if this meeting is about a specific topic or problem. Also, quickly jot down the seating arrangement if the members are relatively few. This will also help you later when taking note of who said what.

Record everyone who is there. Make sure to write down the one in charge of the meeting as well as those who were not able to attend for some reason or another. If possible, prepare an outline of the topic beforehand to give you something to follow while taking minutes during the meeting.

Write down who said what, idea or topic discussions and decisions on those discussions. If a vote takes place, write down who presented the vote, who seconded it and also what the outcome of the vote was, such as 4 no’s to 9 yes’s.

Do not record absolutely everything said during the meeting. Just write down the ideas and the topics in summary. You will drive yourself crazy if you try to write down every word every person says.

Recopy your minutes as soon after the meeting as possible. This prevents mistakes and memory losses. Make sure to double-check your spelling before printing the minutes and handing them out to those who were at the meeting.

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