Summary of Taking Minutes of Meetings

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  • Comprehensive
  • Applicable
  • Well Structured


The unsung hero of any meeting is the minute-taker, who records the decisions that fuel the engine of business. Minute-taking isn’t merely scribbling notes. A skilled minute-taker distills lengthy discussions to their essence and creates order and harmony from the discordant process of reaching a consensus. In this manual’s fifth edition, office communication consultant Joanna Gutmann explains every aspect of the process, including setting up the meeting, taking the notes and formatting the minutes. Her guide is an indispensable reference for every minute-taker.

About the Author

Office communication training consultant Joanna Gutmann has designed and implemented courses on office skills and communication for secretaries and other office staff members.



Meeting minutes provide a record of discussion topics, action items and outcomes.

Minutes, the essential documentation of a meeting, fulfill several functions:

  • Providing participants with a record of the meeting and its outcome.
  • Filling the gaps for committee members who have to step out of the room, leave the meeting or can’t attend.
  • Listing all the action items and noting who is responsible for each activity.
  • Enabling the audit trail that corporate governance requires.

The learnable skill of minute-taking includes organizing, careful listening and clear reporting.

Most secretaries lack formal training in taking minutes, yet they usually get this assignment. People erroneously believe speed plays an important part in minute-taking and that secretaries who take notes quickly will do a good job of recording minutes. In truth, the job involves “ongoing listening and simultaneous summarizing.” It also includes setting up the meeting, paying close attention and capturing events clearly.

Today, meetings have far less structure than in ...

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