The Etiquette of Meeting Minutes
Unlike the business world a few decades ago, meeting minutes are no longer taken by administrative assistants in most cases but rather by an attendee of the meeting.
Being asked to both record and participate in a meeting may seem daunting, but with an understanding of meeting minutes etiquette the task becomes quite manageable as you learn what’s expected of you. Use this opportunity to dazzle everyone with your organizational and communication skills.
The meeting minutes’ recorder should be one of the first to arrive at the meeting. Try to get there approximately 15 minutes before the meeting is to begin. Use this time to get organized, begin to take attendance and review the agenda.
If you will be unavoidably late to the meeting, arrange for another attendee to fill in the minutes until you arrive. Immediately notify the meeting’s lead of your delay and let her know who has agreed to cover for you.
Come prepared with a current copy of the meeting agenda, an attendance sheet and any materials you will need to take the meeting minutes. If you are using equipment such as voice recorders or laptops, make sure they are operational and the batteries are full prior to the meeting.
Be aware of any specific formatting requirements for the meeting minutes. When there is a formal, corporate format for meeting minutes, you must become acquainted with it and be prepared to adhere to that format.
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Perhaps the most important aspect of meeting minutes etiquette is accuracy. Choose a central seat, if possible, to allow you to better hear the attendees while you take notes. Make a seating chart to assist you in remembering who said what should any questions arise.
It is not improper to ask someone to repeat what he’s said or for clarification. Do pay attention and try to keep interruptions for clarification to a minimum.
As soon after taking the meeting minutes as possible, while the information is still fresh in your mind, sit down and review your notes. Draft a copy of the meeting minutes and send it to the meeting lead for review. Ask the lead if anyone else should review the draft meeting minutes before preparing the final, circulated copy.
If anything is unclear in your notes, do not make assumptions. Ask the appropriate meeting attendee to address any questions you may have.
Meeting minute etiquette calls for you to expedite the turnaround of the minutes. Stay focused on the task and attempt to send out the completed meeting minutes within one to two business days. If you will be much longer in getting the final copy of the minutes out, talk to the meeting’s lead about why it may be late and when it can be expected.
If the meeting minutes are returned with corrections and/or amendments, address the issues and, if any changes were made, send out a new version the same day.
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