Meeting Minutes Matter
Monday 13th June 2016
The success or failure of a meeting is often defined as much by what happens after it’s finished as it does within the meeting itself. The meeting might produce an incredibly powerful new strategy that could change the fortunes of your organisation forever, but if that strategy isn’t applied - it will have no impact at all.
That’s why Meeting Minutes are so vital.
We’re well aware that taking Meeting Minutes isn’t a glamorous job, but it’s an incredibly important one. Meeting Minutes hold everyone in the room to account. Meeting Minutes are a public commitment that everyone will do what they said they’d do when they said they’d do it. Accurate Meeting Minutes that reflect the true nature of the meeting can drive everyone forward towards a shared outcome.
It’s important that the right person takes the minutes. I once worked in a business where the meeting leader insisted on taking the minutes as well - this never works. The leader of the meeting needs to be engaging to keep the participants engaged. This can’t be achieved if they are frantically scribbling down minutes while simultaneously chairing the meeting.
Having a dedicated Minute Taker is vital, as is choosing the right person for the job. Some organisations choose to have a rota in place so that everyone gets the opportunity to be the Minute taker. A far better approach is to find someone who is good at capturing minutes accurately AND enjoys the task.
The format of the Meeting Minutes taken will vary from organisation to organisation, but the key thing is to have a ‘Minute Meeting’ house-style that works for you. Having your template ensures that you have a consistency to how you manage meeting minutes.
It also means that because everyone is familiar with the structure, that any member of the team can step in should the original minute taker be unavailable In my experience having a format that everyone can buy into has the added benefit of making minute taking less painful.
Minute Sharing and Follow-Up
Taking wonderful meeting minutes is a waste of time if they are never shared. It’s difficult to hold people to account if the meeting actions aren’t shared with those who’ve been assigned them. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But I’ve been at excruciatingly embarrassing meetings where only a handful of attendees received the minutes.
Simply sharing the meeting minutes isn’t enough, though. To make sure minutes work effectively and drive the business forward, it’s important that they are followed up. People are busy, so if the next meeting isn’t for another month - actions can slip through he cracks. Sending out the minutes again after two weeks will act as a gentle reminder.
A necessary evil?
Like them or loathe them, Meeting Minutes are critical to your goal of leading effective meetings. They are more than just a record of what was discussed in the meeting - they are the key to making every attendee accountable for the actions they need to take.
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