Meeting Minutes: more than just a task

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Meeting Minutes: more than just a task

Ask people what their least-favorite role is in business meetings, and you’re likely to get a pretty common answer: taking the minutes.

No one likes taking minutes.

Some people see minutes as nothing more than an administrative burden.  Others see them as simply unnecessary.  But I would argue that meeting minutes are actually one of the most important and underutilized project tools.

A good set of minutes provides two main benefits:

  1. They are an excellent tool for communicating and tracking key conversations and action items across the project team
  2. They provide a record of verbal instructions and/or decisions – very useful for helping resolve disagreements among customers, partners, or vendors in the future

But just having meeting minutes isn’t enough.  They need to be good minutes – clear, actionable (if appropriate), and to the point.  Before you distribute minutes to your project team and key stakeholders, ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Can readers who did not participate in the meeting or are not included in the project understand what was discussed?
  2. Did you include the who, what, and when for any action item?
  3. Are the minutes clear and concise so that there is no room for interpretation?
  4. Did you remove minutes that do not pertain to the topic? (Often times, minute takers try to capture everything that was discussed vs. focusing on the results of key conversations)

If you can answer “YES” to all of these questions, your meeting minutes are ready to distribute.  Go forth and spread the good word!

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