A business meeting worth having deserves to have meeting minutes worth keeping. Too frequently meeting minutes consist of nothing more than a copy of the meeting agenda, occasionally with some notes scribbled in the margins. Managers striving to improve the quality of their meetings can benefit from the following tips for getting the most value out of business meetings.
The person holding the meeting cannot do a good job of conducting the meeting and recording the information discussed in the form of meeting minutes. Assign a detail oriented person familiar with the subject matter of the meeting to make a record of the basic information covered during the session.
The most valuable information that results from a business meeting is the decisions made and the responsibilities assigned as a result of the discussion carried out during the meeting. The meeting secretary should review the agenda in advance and highlight specific points in the meeting that are likely to produce a result and a corresponding task delegation.
A productive meeting leads to a consensus to move in a specific direction regarding the subject matter discussed. This resolution is very likely to involve assignments to meeting participants. Effective meeting minutes will document the determination of the group or management, what is expected as a result, who will carry out the task and when the job is projected to be completed. If each individual part of the process is not detailed then speak up and seek clarification on the omitted component. Taking minutes need not be a silent responsibility, if something is left incomplete, participate by keeping the meeting focused on a productive outcome. If no decision is made on a specific item, note that the discussion was tabled and deferred for later resolution. Uncompleted tasks are just as important to record as successful conclusions.
Even the most dedicated employees can occasionally forget a responsibility. Properly summarizing meeting minutes and distributing them to participants helps keep everyone on track with their assignments. Printed copies are often overlooked, misplaced or buried in a stack of desktop papers. Using a digital meeting recording medium helps to keep key meeting points in proper focus for all involved. Timelines, progress charts, email reminders, and critical data recording are all vital parts of any project that can be more easily managed with meeting software tools.
Meeting minutes that are neglected and forgotten are likely to be a foreshadowing of the results that can be expected from the items discussed. Well documented meetings produce effective results and most importantly make meeting participants feel that value was gained for the time spent in the session.