RE: Taking Minutes at Meetings

Subject: RE: Taking Minutes at Meetings
From: Kat Nagel <kat_nagel -at- rte -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 10:22:22 -0500

My response is going to anger a lot of people out there, I'm afraid. When
this happens to me, I generally agree, especially if I care about the

You see, most meeting minutes I receive miss a bunch of stuff I feel is
important, and use such fuzzy language for the rest that it isn't always
clear who is responsible for what. I appreciate the opportunity to
emphasize issues I think are critical, and put down in black and white the
decisions that are made and the responsibilities that are assigned and
agreed to.

Of course, I make sure that I charge the editing/distributing time to the
project. No charge number? Then they get a photocopy of my scribbled
abbreviations or an unedited printout of my laptop notes. And I usually
only do this for meetings I'd be attending anyway.

I had a freelance client, though, who hired me to produce business strategy
documents for an IT department. The original plan was to provide me with
notes from their weekly team strategy meetings, from which I was to produce
the final documents. These notes, written on a rotating basis by
participants in the discussions, invariably presented the individual's own
point of view in a positive light, and omitted or ridiculed the views of
people who disagreed---not very useful, since this week's 'conclusions and
recommendations' contradicted those from the week before.

I volunteered to attend all the meetings and produce and distribute the
minutes, as an unbiased observer with no private agenda. In that situation,
I looked at the meeting minutes as a way of getting immediate feedback on my
interpretation of their strategy.

Kat Nagel Kat_Nagel -at- rte -dot- com
(New Yorker cartoon 2/21/94) Boss to angry hippopotamus:
"The bunny did not get the job because the bunny is cute.
The bunny got the job because the bunny knows WordPerfect."

-----Original Message-----
From: Carol Anne T. Wall [mailto:mmpc0014 -at- pclink -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2001 11:03 AM
Subject: Taking Minutes at Meetings

Our small group of writers would like to get the perspective of other
writers on our situation.

We've just be instructed by management that we are to take minutes at the
meetings at the meetings we attend. These meetings generally discuss
business requirements and outstanding issues for the projects we work
on. The meetings also cover items that do not go into the documentation we
develop and frequently include task updates and assignments.

We're feeling undervalued and demeaned by this change -- the first time
this unit has ever taken minutes. Are we nuts to feel this way? Is it
typical for tech writers to take minutes? Words of advice?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Carol Anne

Carol Anne Wall, FLMI, CL
Technical Writer, Minnesota Life Ins. Co. - Individual Business Technology
St. Paul, MN USA
mmpc0014 -at- pclink -dot- com


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