Business Writing

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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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November 29, 2012


Val S.

I think your number 5 is very important - it helps emphasize the points that really need to be recorded and gives the note-taker another chance to make sure they understand what was decided.

During longer meetings, my boss always breaks after about 1 hour so I get to rest my hand (!), and everyone can check their messages or go to the rest room. This keeps people from fidgeting too much later.

Chee Choy

I used to facilitate many public meetings, where many issues are often brought up that do not relate to our intended meeting agenda or purpose. In order to let attendees know we hear their concerns or problems, I designate the top right hand corner of the white board as a "Parking Lot." In the parking lot, I write down the issues raised that are outside of our agenda or charge. This will help the notetaker write down the issues raised while ensuring the meeting stay on track as much as possible. After the meeting I will take time to forward those issues to the relevant departments or persons in charge. Before the meeting minutes are finalized, I update the notetaker about what actions were taken to address those tangential issues so that they can be included as an attachment to the minutes.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Val. Thanks for your echo of Number 5. Summarizing can make the difference between a productive meeting and a waste of time.

The break after an hour is a terrific idea. Thanks for sharing!


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello, Chee. Your parking lot procedure is excellent. I have used it in training programs but not at meetings. I like the idea of including the parking lot issues as an attachment to the meeting minutes, with notes on how they were handled.

Thanks for taking the time to share your best practice.



During some meetings at my company, an organizer will set up an instant message session with all the meeting attendees. Anyone can send an IM to the group at any time. We use these IMs to emphasize points, ask questions, give feedback (too fast, too quiet) and assign action items. After the meeting, the organizer can email the IM record to everyone in the meeting as a reminder. This system works well for group meetings where many attendees are in remote locations, in front of their computers.

Christopher Mesquita

Hy Lynn,

I'm Christopher Mesquita, co-founder of BeesApps, i wrote several months ago about "How to conduct meeting" :
Your ideas are very clear and helpful for anyone need improve his conduct meeting.

we have developed an app called Beesy is provides a smart note taking app that understands the underlying tasks and suppresses unnecessary operations.
It addresses 3 main pain points of business meetings:
- Quickly take notes during meetings and do not miss critical information.
- Send instant meeting minutes right after the meeting in less than a minute
- Easily follow-up on actions with a powerful To-Do organizer reusing 100% of your notes and your calendar.

It's would be a pleasure to discuss with you about meeting conduct, GTD method etc...


Avi Kaye

I second using the parking lot as a way to use all those ideas that come up in a meeting that aren't related to the agenda (and probably need a meeting in their own right).

Also, it's important to have the meeting minutes be sent out relatively quickly (same day is best) as the meeting, when it's still fresh in everybody's minds, and they can start adding tasks to whatever list they have going at the time :)

We've written a post about meeting minutes ourselves:

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Diane. Thank you for the excellent suggestion about instant messaging during meetings. I am certain it will be helpful to many readers.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Christopher, thanks for the information about your product.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Avi, thanks for the information.


how to write a book

you got your points on number 5 and 6..
i think these are the things that should be consider first to help the Note-Takers.. we might think it is a simple task for them but without this important things to consider, this will not work out at all.
thank you for this information..

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