Taking minutes at a technical meeting
by April Connors
I am looking for some advice on how to take minutes at a meeting where technical things are being discussed in varied disciplines, many of which I have little knowledge of. Any good advice?
Comments from Lyndsay:
That's a great question! Often, taking minutes is delegated to junior or less experienced people, which can be tricky when you are not familiar with what is being discussed.
My pointers would be;
- before the meeting, ask a more senior or experienced person to sit beside you and coach you as you go. Also, get them to check the notes you've taken to ensure you've captured the key points, such as who "owns" an action and when it is "due".
- feel free to ask clarifying questions during the meeting. For example if there is a lot of discussion, and it's not clear what the outcome is, ask someone to summarise what should be recorded in the minutes.
- relax! It's in the meeting attendees interest to have accurate, usable minutes, so remember it's a shared responsibility! A relaxed mind has more spare capacity to listen, and is less likely to panic in the face of senior colleagues.
- be prepared. Make sure you know how you are going to take minutes, for example, are you going to write notes, if so, do you have enough paper and does your pen work? If you are using a laptop, is your battery going to last? Can you go into the meeting early to make sure everything is set up and you can hit the ground running?
- circulate the minutes as soon as possible after the meeting so that any errors or omissions can be picked up quickly and corrected. It also looks good :o)
Good luck with your meetings, and let me know how you go.