The role of minute taker is not confined to that of just of attending the meeting. The individual performing this role has certain responsibilities that must be met to ensure that communications are efficient and timely.

Responsibilities of the Minute Taker

The basic tasks for the minute taker are:

  • Taking rough notes that accurately reflect the decisions and discussion that took place during the meeting.
  • Writing up these notes in an agreed format (whether electronically or in hard copy) so that information can be easily discerned and communications are clear, thus avoiding any confusion. Responsibilities and ownership must be clearly indicated within the minutes.
  • Copying and distributing the minutes to all relevant people as detailed in the Participants section.
  • Ensuring that a copy is filed appropriately, keeping all minutes together in a file for future reference.

One of the most difficult things about taking minutes is knowing what is most pertinent to make a note of and which information is superfluous and should be left out, as it is only noise required to help aid in the final decision. It is key that you concentrate on WHAT has been decided and WHO is going to do it. In certain circumstances it may be relevant to précis the reasons behind why a decision has been made. These are the most important things to have records of.

The level of detail required can often be gauged by looking at previous minutes of meetings. If this is a new meeting then what to include or exclude should be judged by how important the fact or message itself is in terms of communication to ensure your successful completion of the task or project.

Taking high quality meeting minutes

There are certain steps you can take to ensure that your task as minute taker portrays you in the most professional way.

1. Ensure that you have a copy of the meeting agenda , which you can use to help structure each section of the minutes and enables you to follow the thread of the meeting as you make your notes. It is essential that the agenda is produced in advance of the meeting so that you have the opportunity to read it carefully and discuss any issues with the meeting chair prior to the event.

2. Make up an attendance sheet in advance based on the Participants section. You can then identify anyone unable to attend, and pass the sheet around for people to sign as everyone settles down for the meeting so that no one is distracted during the event. This enables you to have an accurate list of those who actually came to the meeting. This is especially useful if you are responsible for the minutes at a meeting where you are unfamiliar with the attendees.

3. Ensure that you are familiar with and take the file of previous minutes with you so that if there is a need to refer back for information you can locate it easily. You will also be able to provide the answer to any questions that arise about decisions made during previous meetings.

Don't forget to include the name of the organization, name of the committee, type of meeting (daily, weekly, monthly, annual, or special), and purpose of the meeting. Always proofread the minutes before submitting them.

Before the Meeting

1) Choose to use our checklist or select a tool. Then you need to decide how you will take notes, i.e. pen and paper, laptop computer, or tape recorder.
2) Make sure your tool of choice is in working order and have a backup just in case.
3) Use the meeting agenda to formulate an outline.
4) Produce your attendee list and check off those who have sent their apologies.
5) Review previous meeting minutes to highlight any key areas of concern or potential issues.
6) Where possible liaise with the Chair to agree the format of the meeting and what will be acceptable behavior.
During the Meeting
1) Pass around an attendance sheet.
2) Get a list of committee members and make sure you know who is who.
3) Note the time the meeting begins.
4) Confirm that the previous minutes were signed off and note any announcements made in connection with this item.
5) Don't try to write down every single comment - actively listen to select the main ideas discussed, what decisions were agreed and those responsible for delivering these decisions.
6) Write down motions, who made them, and the results of votes, if any.
7) Make note of any motions to be voted on at future meetings.
8) Record the date, time, and location of the next meeting, if appropriate.
9) Note the ending time of the meeting.

After the Meeting
1) You should type up the minutes as soon as possible after the meeting, while everything is still fresh in your mind.
2) Remember to collect any flip chart notes made or save any electronic notes taken. These can be used to consolidate and clarify your own notes.
3) In some cases, a meeting may be recorded and this recording will serve as the record, or it may be used to transcribe the information to the meeting minutes template at a later time.
4) Where possible quickly review your notes with the Chair to ensure the accuracy of your information.
This Meeting Minutes Tasks Checklist covers those tasks you need to complete before, during and after the meeting if you are taking the minutes. This Meeting Minutes Template provides a structured means to record all essential discussion details and findings. Once you have written up the minutes you can then distribute them to all participants in the knowledge that you have performed the role of minute taker in a professional manner.

You may also be interested in:
Taking Meeting Minutes | Elements of Meeting Minutes | How to Take Meeting Minutes | Potential Problems When Taking Minutes | Meeting Minutes Checklist .


Key Points

  • Take rough notes that accurately reflect the decisions and discussion that took place during the meeting.
  • Write up these notes in an agreed format (whether electronically or in hard copy) so that information can be easily discerned and communications are clear, thus avoiding any confusion. Responsibilities and ownership must be clearly indicated within the minutes.
  • Copy and distribute the minutes to all relevant people as detailed in the Participants section.
  • Ensure that a copy is filed appropriately, keeping all minutes together in a file for future reference.

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