Mina’s Guide to Minute Taking

Mina’s Guide to Minute Taking

Mina, Eli

Minute takers are often expected to produce concise and coherent summaries out of disorganized meetings. Many arc directed to take minutes without documented guidelines and without a prior explanation of issues and technical terms.

Five quick tips for effective minute taking:

1. Objectivity: [Minutes] should not include subjective interpretations of the mood of the meeting or the tone in which comments were made. Phrases like “There was a heated discussion” do not belong in minutes.

2. Consistency: Minutes across trie same organization should share the same general look and style, and should comply with content and format standards. Such standards should be approved as a policy of the organization.

3. Professionalism: A knowledgeable person should proofread technical terms for clarity before draft minutes are circulated to members.

4. A logical Oow: Minutes should be logically organized, even if the meeting itself was fragmented and confusing. If the group addresses an agenda item sporadically throughout the meeting, all events that relate to the same item should be grouped in one place.

$. Archivability: Minutes should be easy to archive and retrieve electronically. The coding of decisions and motions should make it easy to track their history.

If you want to know more about effective minute taking, you may want to read Mina’s Guide to Minute Taking, which is available through www.elimina.com. The book offers principles, standards, and practical tools for minute takers. Specific topics include: identifying key principles for minutes; establishing minute-taking standards for use across the organization; and creating concise and objective summaries, even from poorly run meetings.

By Eli Mina, M.Sc., PRP

Eli Mina is a Vancouver-based consultant who specializes in chairing contentious meetings, building better decision-making bodies, and demystifying the rules of order. He regularly leads PD seminars for the ICABC and is the author of several books and numerous articles.

Copyright Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia May 2004

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