The word “meeting” seems to elicit a reaction (not usually positive) from virtually every supervisor or manager I talk to. Turns out that most people’s experiences with meetings are not encouraging. This has come up often enough that I have devoted past blogs to this topic:
- Ineffective meetings have a bottom-line financial cost
- One powerful way to run effective meetings
- Agendas are a necessity for effective meetings
- Three key roles are necessary for effective meetings
- Use “the parking lot” to manage unexpected or extended issues that arise in your meeting
So here’s one more critical success factor for effective meetings – always take minutes of meetings, and issue them within 48 hours. Minutes provide a written record of what happened at a meeting, but because it sounds like a lot of work, many people balk at this rule. However, meeting minutes do not need to be long or complicated. An effective and popular approach is to focus only on recording action items. If you take this approach, then you can use an easy table format with a minimum of three columns as follows:
- The action item
- The person responsible for the action item
- The deadline
This makes taking minutes much less overwhelming and thus more likely to get done promptly. And if you hold recurring meetings, begin each meeting by reviewing the action items from the last meeting. Bonus: what you’ll end up doing is creating accountability for action.
What has been your experience with taking minutes? Easy, or do you hate it? Do tell!
Luckily, we work in a company that develops make-meetings-easier software, so taking minutes is second nature to us 🙂
Apart from tasks, it’s also important to record decisions in the meetings. Say, you want to send a newsletter – creating the newsletter requires the same tasks no matter who you want to send it to – that bit you know from the decision. So record those too 🙂