Many people tell me that taking the minutes is a mundane activity and as they gain more senior roles, it is not in their bailiwick. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Taking minutes, in general, is important. It doesn’t matter if it is for business and the whole team is counting on you or for yourself; to remember what is on your “to-do” list and who you may want or need to follow up with.
After all, the main purpose of minutes is to put everyone on the same page about what happened and then what will happen next.
Meeting notes are a critical tool for the team and for your career, no matter the stage you are currently in. The notes become the memory of the organization. If it falls on you to take the notes, it’s a more important role than you think. Usually, in work settings, there is a format to follow. Your job is to follow that format and document what is important.
Business Management Daily wrote a foundational article in 2017 on taking minutes by Caroline Kaufman My advice is front and center and it rings even more true today. If you are responsible for the minutes, you have a heavyweight on your shoulders. Your words will become the institutional memory. Be clear, consistent, and most of all “un-annoying” as you take notes and make sure you memorialize the gist of the discussion and key decision points of the conversation.
The full article on taking notes can be read by clicking this link to Business Management Daily.
You may also need to take personal notes. This can happen in many settings, such as at the Doctor’s office or with the refrigerator repair people (that’s a whole other topic for me), or at a community meeting. In these instances, it is even more critical that you are clear, consistent, and can read what you wrote. And of course, make sure the notes you take are legible and make sense.
In this digital world, I’ve found that it helps to put your notes in your phone. I text (technically it’s type but it feels like texting) my notes, in the notes section of the contact. I usually put something I will remember like, “Walmart clerk with red hair and rugby shirt said buy this Roku”. This reminds me of the conversation and what was said and usually what next steps I need to take.
Remember, when you can’t remember that’s why we have the written minutes. Keep track of what happens at meetings. If you are not the minute taker, make sure you read the minutes and make any corrections. Take note of anything that impacts you or your department and learn to use it to your advantage.
The minutes are the memory. Use the memory.