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Minute Taking Made Easy. By: Rhonda Scharf, CSP Presented by: Robin Cochran, CPS/CAP. Don’t Let the Thought of Doing Minutes Stress You Out!. What Are Minutes? Minutes are the official, written, permanent, formal record of what transpires during a meeting.

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minute taking made easy

Minute Taking Made Easy

By: Rhonda Scharf, CSP

Presented by: Robin Cochran, CPS/CAP


What Are Minutes?

  • Minutes are the official, written, permanent, formal record of what transpires during a meeting.
  • Their purpose is to provide people with:
  • A clear and objective summary of the meeting
  • To update those unable to attend
  • A reminder of future expected actions
  • To provide a rationale and historical background

What Should Minutes Contain?







Group name


The word MINUTES has to be shown

What Should Minutes Not Contain?


Lunch/break details

Personal issues

Actual conversations

The recorders input (give input only if requested)

Side conversations


Types of Minutes


Formal minutes adhere to the strict use of Rules of Order. Large meetings are likely to be more formal than small meetings. The larger the meeting the more control is necessary to expedite the business at hand, to assure legality.

Examples of Formal Meetings:

Annual Membership Meetings

Monthly Board Meetings

Corporate Meetings

State and Regional Conventions

National Conferences


Federal and Local Government Meetings

Definition of Robert’s Rules of Order

Provides common rules and procedures for deliberation and debate in order to place the

whole membership on the same footing and speaking the same language.


Types of Minutes


Modified Formal

As indicated, this type of meeting conducts its business with relaxed Rules of


Example of Modified Formal

Use of formal motions, but informal discussions


Types of Minutes



Informal meetings use few or no Rules of Order to conduct business.

Examples of Informal

Staff Meetings

Management Meetings

Committee Meetings

Social/Civic Club Meetings


Roles of the Minute Taker

Sort out the comments/suggested actions and decisions expressed at the meeting and produce an accurate summary

Keep track of attendance/absence at the meeting

Store the minutes and all related materials

Request the chair to temporarily halt the meeting if the comments are flowing too quickly

Authenticate all the records and documents associated with the meeting by having the chair add his/her signature

Be familiar with the procedures used by the group

A Minute Taker Must Be:

Highly Organized

Be a Good Listener

Be Focused


Check List for Scheduling Meeting

Discuss possible agenda items with Meeting Chair

Draft a tentative agenda

Reserve meeting location

Send meeting notice and tentative agenda

Assemble and take to meeting all necessary materials

Prior to Meeting

Send reminder day before

Make copies of meeting materials

One hour prior to meeting set room up (lights, heat, air, recorder, laptop, etc.)

Prepare template for meeting minutes


Listening Skills

  • Active listening is a skill used to GET information before you GIVE your own ideas.
  • In work situations active listening is critical. Most of us focus on our responsibilities and actions as speakers (senders), and forget our responsibilities as listeners (receivers). We often think of listening as a passive activity. It’s hard work and active listening is the skill that keeps communication moving forward.
  • What Are Active Listening Responses?
  • Paraphrase
  • Reflect
  • Probe
  • Clarify
  • Summarize
  • Remember: Watch the non-verbal communication!

Formats for Taking Minutes

Tape Recorder


Provides comfort zone

Easy to play back if uncertain about topics


Voices hard to recognize

Minutes too detailed

Tapes must be archived with hard copy minutes

Hand Written


Hi-light key words

Use colored inks (for follow-up items)


Tend to write whole sentences, not use key words

Lose track of conversation


Formats for Taking Minutes




Current technology

Faster use of time

Abbreviate better


Clicking noise distracting

Key pads are hard to type on

Not ergonomically correct


Items to be Recorded

Motions and resolutions verbatim

Objective summary of what is being discussed

Record a comment only once

Never inject your own personal opinions

Never give one person’s comments more weight than another’s

Be consistent with reference to the attendees ( Ms. Jane Doe verses Jane Doe)


The Agenda

Preparing the agenda is not part of the Minute-taking process but many recorders help the chair to write and circulate them. The purpose of the agenda is to familiarize all the participants with the topics that will be discussed at the meeting.

There is no correct way to set up an agenda. There are many ways an agenda can be formatted.

The agenda for an informal meeting may be done as a simple numbered list of topics

The agenda for a formal meeting will typically call for a more structured list of topics

The Layout of the Agenda

The heading of the agenda should be consistent with the heading on the minutes

The word “Agenda” can be at the top or bottom of the page

The agenda should be sent out before hand to allow the participants time to reflect on themeeting topics and to do research if needed

Agendas should be sent out at least 3-days before the meeting (a week is preferable)


Organizing the Minutes

Formal Minutes

HeadingThe heading should be 1 inch from the top of the page. Each heading line should be centered and be typed in either capitals or in upper/lower case letters. Use the same style for all of an organizations Minutes and Agendas. The location, time and date may be placed in the heading as well. In a formal meeting the Minutes should state if the meeting is a special or a regular meeting.

AttendanceYou must include the names of people attending the meeting and the people who are absent. The attendance record is necessary to show a quorum.. Guests must also be listed. Meeting chair must also be listed.

Minutes of previous meetingMinutes of the previous meeting should be approved at the beginning of the meeting (this is mostly done in formal meetings). The recorder stands to read the Minutes in a formal meeting. If minutes are corrected the changes occur in the margin near the correction or amendment.

ReportsThis refers to the reports received from any of the group’s members. Committee reports should be submitted in writing and dated. Copies of the report should be received in advance and attached to the agenda for members to review.


Organizing the Minutes


5) FinancesFinances are usually discussed under the treasurer’s report.

6) CorrespondenceLetters sent to the group are usually read by the recorder and then either filed or attached to the appendix of the Minutes.

7) Unfinished businessThis involves motions or issues raised at an earlier meeting and carried forward to the current meeting. Old business is always listed on the agenda.

8) New businessThis portion of the meeting is devoted solely to the introduction of new information. It may also include assigning tasks to members of the group and setting deadlines.

9) AdjournmentThe meeting is closed due to no further business or discussion. This is recorded in the minutes.

10) SignaturesIn the past, the phrase “respectfully submitted” was considered appropriate, now it is considered “old fashioned”, but still used by most organizations.


After the Meeting

Draft the minutes as soon after the meeting as possible

If time does not allow this, reread your notes to ensure they are detailed, so you caninterpret later

Minutes need to be completed in a timely manner

Minute Summary – Small Informal Meetings

Full minutes are not always required

Minute summaries are more useful for staff meetings where a multitude of topics are discussed

The summary simply records the meeting in an abbreviated format

Retaining Minutes

Minutes should be maintained in hard copy form with signatures (minutes should be kept for 5 years)

If you record your minutes, the tapes should be kept and dated

If you use a laptop to record your minutes make sure you always have a back up disk

If there are any questions or concerns about the minutes, the recorded and chair are the responsible parties


After the Meeting


5) After drafting the minutes, they should be distributed to the meeting attendees for review before finalizing and distribution

6) All finalized minutes should contain the signature of the recorder and meeting chair


Connecting Words

Stage of Argument Degree of Certainly Consequence or Result

Initially Certainly As a rule

At the onset Surely Therefore

Up to the present time Indeed As a result

So far Perhaps Hence

Currently Anyway Otherwise

In sum Basically Apparently

Lastly In any case Fortunately

Finally Naturally So far this reason

After all Of course Consequently

In Conclusion Probably Accordingly

First Doubtlessly

Secondly To a degree

Example Summary

Indeed To summarize

In fact In brief

In other words In short

That is On the whole

To illustrate In essence

For example Thus

For instance Briefly


Connecting Words


Relationship of Time Concession Defining

Foremost After all This

Lately Although this may be true Those

Beyond Even though That

Later I admit These

Meanwhile naturally

As soon as granted Contrasting Point

At last Anyway

As long as Similar Point Despite this

Until Moreover Still

At first Similarly While

Presently In addition Then

Next However

In Connection With Also But

Relating to Besides After all

Affecting Once more

Regarding Generally

Pertaining to Again

Noting Likewise

Applying to And