Modern Minute Taking
This article is designed for people who take minutes in meetings. It gives a modern day perspective on minute taking and recording the content of meetings. It s suitable for any type of meeting from the board room to the meeting room.
Just twenty years ago most of the technologies available in the world today were absent. It is very apparent that minute taking has moved together with the technological advances. Taking minutes today is not the same as it was twenty years ago; even ten years ago. Today's effective minute taker makes use of both the advancements in technologies and the changing cultural environment of our world. The effective minute taker moves along with the changing times and stays ahead of the changing curve. Are you sure your organization records its minutes in the most effective way today? Here are a few points to consider about taking minutes effectively in today's fast paced and changing world.
Half the Job is in the Agenda When most secretaries or personnel involved in taking minutes for an organizations are asked whether minutes are important to the organization, they'll firmly state that they are. However, not many people realise that over half the task of taking the minutes is done in the preparation of the agenda. Effective minute takers today know that the meeting's agenda is just as important as the minutes they are going to take. After all, the meeting's discussion will be run on the schedule of the agenda. The effective modern minute taker knows that the relationship of the agenda and the meeting's minutes is very strong and thus takes a key role in the preparation of the agenda.
It is actually estimated that between 60% and 70% of the modern minute taker's work is done before the meeting begins. That seems to be so different from the "traditional" way of taking minutes where about 80% of the work is done during the meeting. The 60% to 70% involves making preparation for taking the minutes. Most of this work involves preparing the agenda. Preparing the agenda will allow you to know the flow of the meeting and thus prepare a document on which your minutes will be written. The other work involves studying previous minutes and documents passed around so that you can anticipate where the next discussion will lead. Preparing for the meeting this way will allow you to take down the minutes faster during the meeting than you would if you prepared without anticipation.
The Laptop Vs the Hand The world of business and organizations has become much faster ever since email became so widespread. Businessmen and -women have become so accustomed to email that they now want all documents completed much faster. This desire for speed has also spread to minute taking. Time is so critical today that holding up an organization's progress because of incomplete or slowly-done minutes could conjure up serious trouble. The task of the modern minute taker then is not to shy away in defeat at this global desire for speed but to adapt to it and learn to take minutes faster than ever before.
The coming of email also brought with it the laptop computer. The laptop computer allows you to take minutes much faster than using your hand. Typing is much faster and much more efficient than writing. Today's effective minute taker knows this. Save up for a laptop and learn to type at a speed of at least 40 words per minute. Not only will you be able to take your minutes faster, but you will also be able to correct any mistakes and make any edits right on your laptop. Are you worried that your typing will disturb everyone else at the meeting? You don't have to. Laptop keyboards are created to be much quieter than desktop computers and typing is virtually silent.
Fast Completion Techniques Today's time critical world means that not only do you have to take down your minutes faster than ever before, but that you also have to complete them faster than ever before. Among the technologies that have been enhanced since the past twenty years is air travel. Today's world is much more interconnected than ever before. Meetings are held in various cities across the globe and many of the participants come from different cities or even different countries. Very few businessmen and -women will wait for minutes that will take a day to complete. All this means that to be an efficient minute taker, you have to have the minutes completed that day.
You can complete your meeting's meetings that very hour if you learn a few techniques. Firstly, you should use a laptop to take your minutes. Typing is faster and much more efficient than writing. Then because you're taking down the words faster as you are typing, you should use whole words and whole sentences and not shorthand. Using whole words and sentences will ensure that the minutes of the meeting are completed just the meeting is ending. All you'll need to do is some quick editing after that. But you don't end there. You could print the meetings out and hand a copy to each participant. Not only will you have completed all your work right there and then, but the participants of the meeting will be glad to receive the minutes that very hour and will consider you an efficient minute taker indeed.
Today's Smart Minute Taker To be an effective minute taker today means more than just working quickly and getting the minutes done on time. You also need to use certain smart techniques to make your job easier. Today, many organizations are adopting the table format of recording minutes. This format allows the minutes to be displayed in a table and makes them easier to read. How you record the minutes is also changing today. With a small number of exceptions, recording the names of people and restating what they said at the meeting's discussion is no longer necessary. Modern minutes are action oriented. They focus on actions taken, issues undertaken and decisions made only. They do not record the discussion. You should also never tape record your meetings. Tape recording your meetings may seem easier at the onset but it actually creates more work than it saves.
Businesses and other organizations survive and die depending on how well they adapt to changes in the market and in the general environment. The same applies to minute takers today. The world is changing faster than ever before. You ability to stay ahead of the changing curve and keep up to date is critical to your success. Because your job as a minute taker is so critical to the progress of the organization, it is absolutely essential that you stay a step ahead of the changing world. To constantly be effective you need to keep looking for fresh ideas and methods of doing your job better. You need to constantly try alternative methods until you find one that keeps up with the modern times. Doing this will ensure you always remain the effective minute taker.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Julian Price is "Mr Meetings". He trains, coaches and consults with organisations in Australia and throughout the world on every aspect of meetings, particularly minute taking, chairing meetings, managing and organising meetings to get results, and governance. He can be contacted at http://www.davidprice.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.