Course Outcomes

This minute-taking course will:

  • Outline the difference between a transcript and meeting minutes.
  • Allow participants to develop a template to make taking minutes easier.
  • Prepare participants to take professional minutes during formal and informal meetings.
  • Offer time to practice new skills throughout the session.

Course Overview

If a meeting happens and no minutes exist, did the meeting occur? Of course it did. However, the likelihood that anyone will remember with great accuracy what happened a year, a month, or even a week later is slim to none. Meeting minutes are required at most shareholder meetings and board meetings, and they’re a good idea for many gatherings where no formal requirement exists. This minute-taking workshop explores best practices for distilling and documenting information. The hands-on course provides time to learn and practice skills throughout the session. This program is offered in both a half-day and full-day format. The difference between the two options is the extent to which business writing skills are addressed.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Describe different types of meeting minutes.
  • Decide the elements that should be included in minutes.
  • Follow the ANT model for taking minutes.
  • Avoid listening traps.
  • Hear clues to ideas of importance in the words speakers choose.
  • Use abbreviations.
  • Capture the essence of a meeting’s content.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

The Basics: The Role of a Minutes Taker

To begin, participants will work in teams to answer a few fundamental questions about the purpose of minutes, what minutes should include, and the challenges that arise when documenting what’s said at a meeting. Following that discussion, we will look at three types of minutes: formal minutes, informal minutes, and action minutes. We will also examine the minute-taker’s responsibilities, the meeting chair’s obligations, and what is required from participants in order for a minute taker to produce a quality document.

A Minute-Takers Model: Accurate, Neutral, Timely

Our next program segment examines the elements meeting minutes should include, skills for remaining neutral when documenting discussions, and techniques for ensuring minutes are complete and issued in a timely manner. Working through an exercise, participants will test their skills at documenting activity.

Taking It In: Exploring Listening Skills

Strong minute takers know how to listen and filter what they hear at the same time. This portion of the workshop explores common listening traps, clues for identifying what is and isn’t important, and questions minute takers should ask themselves throughout a meeting. Following those discussions, participants will work in teams to craft solutions to several case studies.

Note-Taking Know-How: Documenting Skills

Good minute takers have a system. This seminar segment shares best practices and tips for taking meeting notes and using tried and true minute-taking tactics. First, we will discuss recording information on paper versus taking notes electronically. Specifically, we will talk about the benefits and drawbacks of each choice. Next, we will explore various apps that can assist with the process. Then, we’ll explore such tools as abbreviations, color codes, and personal shorthand. This module ends with a discussion around templates and industry style guides.

Practice Makes Perfect: Show What You Know

To wrap up the session, participants will take minutes for a meeting. If possible, the facilitator will use a recording of one of the meetings for which participants would be responsible for generating minutes. If a recording is not available, participants will practice their skills using a meeting from outside the organization. 

At the program’s conclusion, participants will have a clear understanding of what good minutes look like and tactics for generating formal and informal notes for their organization.