Do you get stuck when writing meeting notes and minutes because you don't know how much to include? Do you record everything hoping not to miss anything?
Take this true-false test to help you consider what belongs in final meeting notes and minutes.
True or False:
- Generally meeting notes should be a transcript of the meeting.
- It is usually a good idea to tell who said what in final meeting notes.
- If an attendee tells an interesting story or anecdote during the meeting, you should record it to capture the flavor of the meeting.
- If the group agrees on a course of action, you should record the decision.
- If the group agrees on action items, you should capture the actions, the individuals who will handle them, and any deadlines.
- If a presenter at the meeting shows slides, you should record the main points from the slides.
- If a presenter explains the steps in a procedure during a meeting, you should include the explanation in the meeting notes.
- If the meeting leader introduces a new employee at a meeting, you should include details of the introduction in your notes.
- If an attendee announces an event, you should capture the details of the event in the meeting notes.
- If you follow parliamentary procedure (Robert's Rules of Order), you should record both who makes a motion and who seconds it.
How many answers did you label as true?
Of course, you can handle meeting notes many different ways. But my experience suggests that only two items are true. Can you figure out which two before scrolling down to read my answers?
Here are answers and brief explanations:
- False. Nothing needs to be recorded word for word except motions.
- False. With few exceptions, who said what should not be included.
- False. The note taker's job is not to capture the flavor of the meeting. It is to capture what happened.
- True. Decisions belong in meeting notes.
- True. Agreed upon actions belong in meeting notes, with due dates and persons responsible.
- False. If slide content would be useful to those reading the notes, attach the slides or provide a link to them.
- False. The steps in a procedure should be included in a procedure manual, not in meeting notes.
- False. Only the fact that the introduction took place belongs in the notes.
- False. The event details should be shared through email, a web calendar, etc., not in meeting notes.
- False. Only the name of the person making a motion belongs in minutes, according to Robert's Rules of Order.
My answers follow the philosophy that meeting minutes should tell what happened–not what was said.
Which of my answers agree with yours? Feel free to share your views.
Take our online self-study course Meeting Notes Made Easy to gain a greater understanding of what belongs in meeting notes and how to capture it.