RE: Taking Minutes at Meetings

Subject: RE: Taking Minutes at Meetings
From: Janet Valade <janetv -at- systech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 12:01:16 -0800

If anyone asks me to take minutes, I tell them I am a really poor minute
taker. If they insist, I take minutes. No one ever asks me again. This is
not a strategy. I simply do not have the skills required to listen and write
at the same time. I could not do it in college and so did not take notes. I
still cannot do it. If I am writing, I am not listening, let alone

The best note-taking strategy I have encountered was implemented by a boss
of mine in a previous job. At meetings, a computer and projector were set up
and the minutes were projected for all to see. The minutes were written as
the meeting progressed by the person running the meeting. Thus, the meeting
chair tended to summarize discussions and decisions as we went (in good
meeting chair style). Everyone at the meeting had the opportunity to comment
on and ask for changes to the minutes as they were written--to object to
wording, to disagree with conclusions, to ask for more information to be
included, etc.. At the end of the meeting, the minutes were done and could
be distributed then and there via the closest printer. Since we all could
see and contribute to the minutes, we didn't need to write our own notes on
the meeting, except for private notes.


Janet Valade
Technical Writer
Systech Corporation, San Diego, CA
mailto:janetv -at- systech -dot- com


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