RE: meeting minutes--

Subject: RE: meeting minutes--
From: mlist -at- safenet-inc -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 09:01:32 -0400

Around here we are fairly egalitarian about assigning
the recording of meeting minutes. Never EVER has the
term "minutes" meant verbatim, word-for-word transcription.
We are not a court of law.

First, nobody in their right minds would ever read such
Second, nobody who has a real job would agree to performing
transcription (at least, around here). I don't mean that
transcriptionist or court reporter is not a real job, I
just mean that we are a branch of a techy corporation and
transcription has no place in what we do or how we talk
about what we do.

When we want minutes, we want a point-form recap of the
major highlights - what was decided... *maybe* a quick
summary of major arguments for/against an important point,
and we want action items recorded. That's a few words
about the progress of previous action items, and a few
words (what, who, due when) about new action items as
they are assigned.

As Robert P. (and others?) noted, there's usually an
agenda - else, why have a meeting? So we annotate the
agenda and quickly type up the minutes in the half hour
or so following the meeting. If it's a recurring meeting,
then the annotated (typed up) minutes of the current
meeting become the agenda for the next (with option to
add items via e-mail updates before that next meeting happens).

Our minutes usually include a heading "Invited" and another
heading "Present". Names are clicked and dragged as appropriate.
When there are guests, especially via phone from foreign offices,
the minute-taker asks for spelling of names (sometimes with
pronounciation notes to aid later readers).

If somebody is on speaker, we ask them to repeat until
everybody understands. We pointedly ask people to stop
tapping fingers and pencils on tables, crinkling wrappers,
and doing other noise-making that gets propagated by
speakerphone mics.

It's rare that the person running the meeting is also the
person taking the minutes. For big, important meetings, the
minute-taker is a non-participant/non-stake-holder, so they
can concentrate on getting the gist of the action without
worrying about defending or advancing their own points or


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