James (not his real name), a contract manager at a public agency, wrote to me about a delicate situation. His job includes recording the minutes of the meetings his team has with the contractor’s team. James submits the meeting notes to the contractor for review and approval.
According to James, the contractor has tried to change meeting notes into notes for a meeting he wishes had happened, adding topics that he never brought up at the meeting. In the past, James has wisely told the contractor that meeting notes should include only what has occurred at the meeting. James informed him that if the contractor wanted to cover additional topics, he could add them to the agenda of a future meeting. Or he could email everyone and have a "discussion" by email.
James thought the contractor had finally understood the role of meeting notes. Yet for the latest minutes, the contractor has again added topics that he did not bring up at the meeting–or at any meeting. Confronted by James, the contractor insists that he did make the statements, and he wants James to include the statements in the minutes.
What should James do? How should he handle these meeting minutes and the contractor's statements? What can he do to prevent this situation in the future?
Please share your advice for James, especially if you have experienced a similar dilemma. I am traveling all day tomorrow, but I hope to share my suggestions and comment on yours on Thursday.
If you would like insights, tips, strategies, and templates for taking meeting notes and minutes, take my online self-study course Meeting Notes Made Easy.