Just a Minute:
The key to effective meeting notes

If you’re a minute taker, or one of your colleagues is in that role, you’ll know that the job carries lots of responsibility – but often little support or credit. It is commonly assumed that anyone can take minutes.

But minute takers are frequently unsure what to write and many meetings are poorly chaired. There is much more involved in minute taking than simply scribbling everything in a notepad – including active listening and the ability to summarise accurately.

Why is minute taking difficult?

Few people enjoy taking minutes because they think the job involves noting down every word spoken in a meeting. However, it becomes a lot easier once you start to see that the purpose is usually just to capture the main issues discussed, decisions made and actions agreed. In most cases, minutes do not need to record exactly what everyone said.

The minute taker makes an important contribution to the success of any meeting. Efficient meeting notes:


It helps to try to see minute writing, not as a chore to be endured, but rather as an opportunity to develop your skills, increase your confidence and enhance your visibility in the organisation.

Jane SmithLearn how to tackle the vital role of minute taking with skill and confidence with Word Smiths’ Effective Minute Writing workshop. We can run this on your premises or in a conference venue of your choice. We are happy to incorporate your own requirements in terms of course content, minutes styles and report templates. Our new workshop programme features a specially-made training film with realistic meeting scenarios. Contact us for costs and availability.

Our website has details of all Word Smiths’ workshops, including Speed Reading, Mind Mapping, Memory Techniques and Business Writing. You can download our 2013 brochure here.