Critical to a meeting’s success, the note taker or recorder documents the meeting for participants, history, and employees who need to know what transpired at the meeting. Without complete meeting minutes, the meeting’s prospects for success are diminished.
The employee who takes the meeting minutes is usually a member of the team and takes minutes while participating in the meeting. In meetings that have legal or government related proceedings, ramifications, or requirements such as hearings, required corporate board meetings, or depositions, a nonparticipating individual takes the official minutes and often records the proceedings.
The employee who records the minutes must have an ear for detail to record accurately. The employee must be able to multi-task effectively to participate in the meeting while recording the minutes.
In some meetings, the same employee takes the minutes at every meeting. In others, the role of minute taker passes from employee to employee. Like meeting leadership, the role of the recorder builds leadership, communication, and effective meeting skills.
The requirements for the recorder or note taker include:
- Record accurately the decisions, commitments, and major discussion points made at a meeting.
- Record the action items that meeting members committed to doing along with the due date that members committed to making. Action items have a name attached but general discussion does not state who said what in informal meetings.
- Review the major decisions and the assignments or voluntary commitments and action items at the end of the meeting so participants can review and agree on happenings and commitments.
- In an ongoing series of meetings, the note taker takes a minute to review the meeting minutes at the beginning of the next meeting.
- Distributing a copy of the meeting minutes within 24 hours of the meeting has been the standard recommendation for years. But, now, when the recorder most likely took the minutes on an electronic device such as a laptop or iPad, minutes should be distributed after a quick review for spelling, grammar, and clarity, often within minutes.
The recorder is a role that a meeting must have to ensure that the results of a meeting are communicated and acted upon. The documentation of a meeting is necessary for the success of a meeting.