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How to Improve Minute Taking Skills in Your Employees

  • By Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP
  • August 11, 2022
  • 583 Views

minute taking

Being proficient at taking minutes/minute-taking can be challenging as it requires specific skills. To develop minute-taking skills, you need to be well-versed in note-taking and writing and have excellent judgement and memory skills.

Minute-taking is key for the success of many businesses. This soft skill can help improve productivity, strengthen contacts, boost sales, and invest in the workforce’s needs.

Below we explore ways that you can improve the minute-taking skills of your employees.

What Is Minute-Taking?

In essence, minute-taking is relatively simple. It refers to taking notes and summarizing the important points discussed in a meeting and outlining the outcome of such meeting. This note-taking can include any relevant discussions and actions discussed or planned as a result of the meeting. The minutes must be appropriately reviewed and edited before being submitted for approval by a board or members of the organization.

Who Is Responsible for Minute Taking?

Most companies and groups commonly have one person appointed to take minutes at meetings. This designated person creates an accurate, detailed account of the meeting for the organization’s governing body.

Taking meeting minutes is an essential skill that helps keep everyone within an organization informed and on the same page. It’s useful to have a written record of the meeting because sometimes memory can be unreliable, and it’s easy to forget important details discussed in the meeting. Not only does it serve as a legal record of the meeting, but it’s also a great way to keep members unable to attend the meeting informed.

Effective Minute-Taking Tips

Effective minute-taking is a crucial skill to obtain, particularly in the modern world of remote meetings and virtual discussions. More and more companies are holding informal and formal online meetings as employees and management work remotely.

Learning how to take minutes—whether in person or remotely—can help open more doors for employees within their organization.

Here are some minute-taking tips to consider.

Record Online Meetings

Online meetings allow discussion amongst large groups of people—sometimes this could involve hundreds of participants. Because of this, important points and decisions can get lost in translation or missed. Having an online meeting recorded provides an accurate backup to ensure everyone is on the same page. The minute-taker can not only record the minutes, but they can also record the video call should you want to refer back to it in the future.

Create a Minute-Taking Format

To help with remote meetings, create a template that can be used for minutes, agendas, and other documented meetings. Having an outline with proper formatting, classification, and general information can provide a guideline for an efficiently run meeting. In addition, a minute-taking format offers a unified platform for everyone involved.

Team Up with the Meeting Chair

Each meeting has a spokesperson or a meeting chairperson. This designated individual is the one person a minute-taker will contact for verification or answers to concerns they may have about the meeting content or attendance. A chairperson and the minute-taker should work closely together (via phone, video, or in person if possible) to organize and prepare for a meeting.

Keep Track of Attendance

To help formulate a more accurate account of the meeting, keep a correct attendance record. Online meetings with video can make it easy to verify attendees. As minute-taker, it can be mandated that each participant confirms during the call their name and title to be documented. This confirmation helps to ensure all names are correctly spelled and pronounced and that you have a contact list for further enquiries.

Interrupt if Required

During a meeting or conference call, modern technology can create hiccups such as dropped signals or lagging connections. As part of a minute-taker’s responsibility, critical details need to be documented. If at any time communication is paused, interrupt the speaker to ask them to repeat themselves.

Must-Have Minute-Taking Skills

To be a successful minute-taker, several skills are required. Fortunately, these skills can be learned through proper training and practice.

Business Writing Skills

Business writing skills include writing documentation and communication in a professional setting, such as emails, proposals, memos, and notes. The content needs to be clear and concise, focusing on effective communication for all parties.

Organization Skills

It takes good organizational skills to ensure a job is done well in the workforce. A minute-taker needs to have a good understanding of the upcoming agenda, have background information on topics to be discussed, have a record of previous meetings, and know how to organize the minutes effectively.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a top soft skill that helps differentiate between the important matters discussed and what is known as filler. Most meetings only require a detailed summary of the topics discussed and decisions made, so a minute-taker needs to understand how to distinguish between what is relevant and what is not.

Listening Skills

While listening skills may be an obvious part of being a minute-taker, this refers to being able to tune into the meaning of the conversation or discussion. Aside from paying close attention to all speakers, a minute-taker must be able to identify information into appropriate classifications.

Assertiveness

Assertiveness refers to being confident in an assuring way with no presence of aggressiveness. A minute-taking must be assertive when the meeting discussion becomes muddled. Speaking up to have topics clarified or repeated is essential to ensure the minutes recorded are accurate.

How Can TSSG Help with Improving Minute-Taking Skills?

The Soft Skills Group offers comprehensive soft skills training workshops and seminars, both in-person and online, to small and large organizations and businesses. As the demand for professional minute-taking skills grows, we can help your employees obtain the proper skills. Investing in your employees helps establish an accountable structure for your business and creates an efficient and productive environment.

Call our friendly representatives today to discuss how our Business Writing Skills Workshop can improve the communication in your company or organization.

Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP

Diana is President of The Soft Skills Group Inc., and a senior training & development professional with over 20 years of experience in delivery, design & consulting with Fortune 500 companies, Universities & Colleges in Canada, USA, Europe, and Asia. Read More