|Dear Meeting Guru,
"Can you give some advice on taking better
minutes of meetings and how best to follow up after the meeting?"
Here are some tips to help you take better minutes at your next meeting.
||Have a copy of the agenda with you. Follow the agenda closely
during the meeting and use a stopwatch to note when items begin and end.
||If the agenda item has been addressed under
the allocated time, the speaker should finish. The time that's left over
can be used to address any items that couldn't be covered earlier in the
||It's up to the group, with the help of the
facilitator, to decide to keep on the issue or move on. For example, the
group may want to get through the rest of the agenda and then revisit
the extended issue at the end of the meeting. In some groups, the leader
may make this decision. If it's important enough, a separate meeting may
be scheduled to discuss an issue in more detail, which would also give
people time to prepare better for meaning discussion.
||It's the timekeeper's role to let the group
know when a speaker's time is up. When one minute remains, signal the
group non-verbally (raise your hand, ring a small bell). This gesture
should be determined before the discussion begins. When the speaker's
time is up, make the gesture again. Using a non-verbal gesture is comfortable
for the timekeeper since he doesn't have to interrupt and encourages the
speaker to be concise and stay on time.
||The timekeeper should also alert the facilitator and group
members to breaks. You could say, for example, "I just wanted to
let everyone know there are only 10 minutes before our break". You
could also write reminders on cards and hold them up as a reminder.
As follow-up, e-mail an attachment of the meeting notes to each of the participants.
Or save them to the company's network in a meetings folder. This way, all the
meeting participants have access to the meeting notes if there's an idea or
discussion they'd like to revisit. In the e-mail, also summarize the action
items assigned during the meeting. Outline what was assigned, to whom it was
assigned, the priority level and the due date. When a meeting's adjourned, it's
not always clear who's responsible for what, which means action items aren't
always carried through. By summarizing the action items in an e-mail, you can
be certain all participants understand who's responsible for what.
As the wise philosopher
Confucius once said, "When you have gotten your own life straightened out,
things will go well without your giving orders. But if your own life isn't straightened
out, even if you give orders, no one will follow them." In other words,
your inquiry tells me you realize your job is important. It also tells me that
you understand that you can affect others in a positive manner if you do it
well. It takes a meeting room made up of individuals like you to attain a constant
state of meeting nirvana and blissful effectiveness.
may good meeting karma always be with you!