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An Outline of How to Write High Quality Minutes For Secretaries and PAs

Updated on December 11, 2016
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What is Minute Taking?

Minutes document what was agreed, discussed and any action points at a particular meeting. Minutes are useful because they help to clarify points raised in the meeting, what was agreed and the action points for each relevant party. They also provide a record of the meeting , what was discussed, what was decided and who attended.

The Minutes can make a meeting more productive and effective. They also can be used as a source of information for any interested parties, at a later date.

Minute taking is the process of recording the minutes at a meeting. This job is taken by a agreed attendee, often an assistant.

What to Learn and Why is it an important skill

Minute Taking provides any PA, Secretary or other clerical staff with an opportunity to shine in front of senior management. Mastering this skill will ensure that you are confident when called into meeting to take minutes.

Remember when you circulate the minutes, it will be one of the few times that you will raise the profile of your work to a wide audience of managers. This will mean that the impression your minutes leave may determine your promotions, job changes and pay rises in the near future.

Minute Takers

The minute taker will need to send out an invite to all relevant attendees and administer the responses or non-responses. The minute taker should agree the agenda with the chair and send it out the attendees.

This will make it easier for attendees to understand the purpose of the meeting. However, it also helps the minute taker follow the meeting and gives a structure for the minute writing at a later point. The minute taker should read the content and either research any items that they don't understand or confer with the chair.

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Chairperson


In relation to minute taking the most important task of the chairperson is to hold clear communications with the minute taker. They drive all the administration of the meeting. They will brief the minute taker on the point of the meeting and information that they need, the time of the meeting, the place of the meeting and the list invitees.

Chairs are not always keen to help the minute taker, by delivering on these duties. Therefore, the minute taker should try to get the Chair to deliver on these points, if it seems that the chair is not establishing the relationship.

Meeting

The Chair will introduce each invitee at the start of the meeting and the minute taker should clearly note all of these people. They will also not anyone who is absent, which the minute taker must also note.

When summarising each point the chair should guide the minute taker on what are the key points, as in a long discussion it can be hard to get the important points. At the end of the meeting, the main points of the meeting will be summarised and all action points confirmed to all parties. You will be able to then go away and write up minutes, for approval by the chair.

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