RE: Taking Minutes at Meetings

Subject: RE: Taking Minutes at Meetings
From: "Christensen, Kent" <lkchris -at- sandia -dot- gov>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 08:21:57 -0700

Of course taking "minutes" is a lot like taking "notes" in your college
class or, more to the point, in an engineering meeting discussing the use of
your firm's product that you'll eventually document in a manual or help
system, etc. It's clearly a viable skill for a tech writer.

If, however, the minutes in question are simply record keeping of day-to-day
company activity, I suggest you show your professionalism by ...

1. ensuring you fully understand the legal implications of such record
keeping, if any, and that this understanding be mutual with those asking you
take the minutes, and that you be afforded the legal training that's related

2. requesting that you be in charge of the design for systemizing the
process, including how minutes are taken, how they are presented, how they
are distributed, and how they are archived. Think about common look/feel
and even things like white space and graphics. Somewhere there is a text
that indicates the tried and true and best format for minutes--find it and
show it to your boss and tell him/her you'll be using that style or
designing your own based on it, etc. Hey, the engineers likely have a
"drawing" format (defined in a drawing) that they follow and consider the
height of professionalism (just ask them), and you should too for your

Do these things like a tech writer and not like a stenographer. Ensure that
the quality of your work is noticed and that this becomes an item for
consideration for your performance review and ensure said performance review
is based on the sort of performance that would be expected of a professional
tech writer as opposed to a stenographer.

Make all this a formal proposal, and if your proposal is rejected, consider
the original request demeaning. "Taking one for the team" is always
demeaning after, say, the first time, but that's hard for many to get, it
seems. Yes, "be careful out there," applies to tech writers too.


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