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How Experts Take Meeting Minutes

An article by iBabs - our Gold partner

Meeting minutes are some of the most important documents for a business. They remind you why certain decisions were made and fulfil your organisation’s legal requirements, becoming essential as evidence in investigations.

This makes correctness vital when recording minutes from a meeting. You need to present an accurate account of the proceedings that can prove helpful in the future. This article is packed with helpful advice for meeting administrators and assistants on how to be more effective when taking meeting minutes.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

As an administrator, it is easy to feel as if you should remain in the background to perform your tasks in meetings. However, your task is essential to the governance of the organisation, so don’t be afraid to ask important questions to ensure you carry it out accurately.

Here are some of the questions you might have to ask in a meeting to make sure your minutes are on point:

  • “Can you clarify this?”

If you don’t understand something, just say. The chances are that the point was not clear and others may have also been confused by it. It is better to get it right straight away than to take up valuable time to make sense of it later.

  • “Are there any corrections from the previous meetings?”

Ask attendees to rectify any mistakes from the previous minutes before you get into the next meeting. This saves discussion time in the future.

  • “Can I see a copy of the agenda?”

Having a copy of the agenda helps you create a framework for the minutes, saving you time. Knowing what is happening and when means you can concentrate on what is being said rather than the structure of the meeting.

  • “Do you mind if I record the meeting?”

Having an audio or video recording helps accurate minute taking. However, some meetings might feature private information that attendees do not want on record, so ask first.

Tips for taking expert meeting minutes

  1. Understand the topics

Once you have the agenda for the meeting, research the topics up for discussion. This will make it easier to follow the conversation in the meeting.

  1. Meet with the chair in advance

Another way to ensure you understand the areas of discussion is to meet with the chair beforehand to gain an insight into how the meeting will run.

  1. Create a template

Having a framework that you can use for every meeting you minute takes a lot of the work out of the process, making your life easier.

  1. Listen

It seems obvious, but active listening is essential for following the discussion. If you are clued up on the topics and have a template, you are better able to dedicate yourself to listening carefully.

  1. Be assertive

You need to do all you can to carry out your job properly, and that includes speaking up if you need a point clarifying or repeating.

  1. Check attendees in

As meeting attendees enter the room, mark them off on your minute template. This helps you keep track of attendance for the official record.

  1. Sit by the chair

The seat next to the chair is the best place to ensure you can hear the entire discussion, as attendees direct their speeches towards them.

  1. Take clear notes

Keep the notes brief and clear and ensure they communicate the nature of the discussion as well as the decisions and action points. They don’t have to be word-for-word but should show the nature of the events accurately.

  1. Write the minutes as soon as possible

It is best to write up the minutes whilst they are still fresh in your mind. This helps you make them as accurate as possible without having to wrack your mind to remember key elements of the meeting.

  1. Mix up your language

Keep the minutes fresh by mixing up the language you use. Rather than just saying ‘agreed’, try swapping it for synonyms like ‘concurred’.

  1. Use professional language and grammar

Your minutes need to reflect professional actions, so they should be written formally. Use active language rather than passive, for example.

  1. Adapt for remote meetings

Many meetings take place in a hybrid or fully virtual manner now. Work with the chair to talk about how they will keep attendees engaged and in order, and be prepared to interrupt if there are any glitches or drop-outs.

Technology to help minute taking

Using a board portal, such as iBabs, you can save your minutes directly to the cloud and collaborate with attendees and the chair between meetings. This helps you ensure the previous meeting’s minutes are accurate and approved before the next meeting. You can also annotate the agenda through the portal, making writing minutes faster.


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