Minutes: How Do They Consume Your Working Hours?
Read on to see what your peers had to say, and see if you can pick up some tips that may help you.
Some Additional Resources for You
Then, if you’d like some ideas on how to turn the task of minutes from a constant challenge to an opportunity to demonstrate enhanced skills, have a look at some of my articles on the topic. Click on Career in the green banner near the top of your screen, and scroll through the drop-down menu to read any of the following, or simply click on the links below – and let me know if they’re helpful.
- Minutes: Less is More
- Evolution of Recording Standards
- Own Your Role as a Recorder
- Action-Focused Verbs
All respondents reported that minutes form part of their responsibilities
- 100% of respondents reported that they are responsible for preparation of minutes
A third of respondents reported that they record for two committees/bodies (“committees”), while some record for up to six
- one committee: 13% of respondents
- two committees: 33% of respondents
- three committees: 13% of respondents
- four committees: 21% of respondents
- five committees: 7% of respondents
- six committees: 13% of respondents
We need to be adaptable, as most deal with more than one Chair; only 15% of respondents reported working with only a single committee/organisational (“committee”) Chair
- one committee Chair: 15% of respondents
- two committee Chairs: 38% of respondents
- three committee Chairs: 8% of respondents
- four committee Chairs: 8% of respondents
- five committee Chairs: 31% of respondents
How do respondents really feel about minutes? I asked people to use a scale of 1 to 5, with “1” representing dread and “5” representing complete confidence and comfort. Here’s what they said.
- 1 (complete dread): 8% of respondents
- 2: 15% of respondents
- 3: 23% of respondents
- 4: 31% of respondents
- 5 (complete confidence and comfort): 23% of respondents
The comfort and confidence some respondents enjoy likely have something to do with their communications with Chairs. I asked if readers have discussed with their Chairs a set of standards/expectations for such minutes, and here’s what they said.
- 64% of respondents reported that they have had such conversations with their Chairs
- 36% of respondents reported that they have not had such conversations
For those recording for more than one committee, I asked if readers have standardised templates for all their committees. Here’s what you told me.
- 79% of respondents reported that they have standardised templates for all their committees
- 7% of respondents reported that they’ve tried, but Chairs’ differing preferences represent a challenge
- 7% of respondents reported that they’ve tried, but different departments/bodies prefer autonomy
- 7% of respondents selected, “Other”; one wrote, “N/A”
An overwhelming majority of respondents enter their meetings with the core document/a template for their minutes pre-prepared
- 86% of respondents reported that they enter a meeting with the core document/minutes template pre-prepared
- 14 % of respondents reported that they do not have such a document prepared in advance
Timing is everything, and more than one in four respondents knock minutes off within 24 hours of their meetings. I asked readers to tell me how soon after a meeting they typically complete draft minutes for review. Here’s what you said.
- Within 24 hours: 27% of respondents
- Within a week: 40% of respondents
- Within a couple of weeks: 7% of respondents
- “It’s an ongoing challenge fitting this in; I complete and circulate them as soon as I can, but never as early as I’d like”: 27% of respondents
How much of your working life do you spend on minutes? I asked readers to select from a series of percentages, and here’s what you said.
- 5 – 10% of your working life: 62% of respondents
- 11 – 15% of your working life: 38% of respondents
Looking for insights from your peers? I asked readers to offer one bit of advice on minutes; where responses were very similar, I’ve consolidated comments or presented below only one version of the same bit of advice.
- Read the package the am before attending the meeting
- Keep it structured, agenda topics, actions, decisions, questions & key facts
- They do not have to be word for word!
- Good preparation is everything. I mark to-dos in red during the meeting.
- Attack them asap following meetings so that everything is fresh; schedule time in your calendar to do so
- Wrap up minutes and follow up as soon as possible while fresh in your mind
- Be brief; include only what is necessary to convey the meaning
- Focus on the decisions made; concise & accurate but keep the blurb short. Decisions & actions important
- Always speak to the Chair about the style (in which) they like minutes taken
- Get along with the committee chair