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MB0039 | Explain the purpose of keeping minutes of a meeting. What goes into the contents of minutes of a meeting?

Explain the purpose of keeping minutes of a meeting. What goes into the contents of minutes of a meeting?

Keeping “Minutes” of the Meeting – Since meetings are called to take important decisions concerning the organization, it is important to maintain a permanent written record of the proceedings, which can be referred to at a later stage, or serve as a guide for action. Such a record is known as “minutes” of the meeting and may be done in an informal or formal manner, depending on the type of meeting.

In the case of routine meetings, minutes are written in an informal manner, in the form of a broad summary of the proceedings. On the other hand, minutes for more formal meetings such as board and shareholder meetings are written in a specific format, recording the names and views of the different participants. The minutes may be recorded by any one of the meeting participants.

A sample format for minutes for formal meetings is shown below –

Format for Minutes

So far, we have looked at how meetings should be conducted from a chairperson’s perspective. We will now look at how participants of a meeting should conduct themselves. There is a meeting “etiquette”, or code of conduct that needs to be followed by participants.

1. Be brief and to the point – It is important to focus on the topic mentioned in the agenda and to remember that there is a time limit for the meeting. Do not dominate a meeting by speaking more than what is necessary and do not engage in irrelevant discussions.

 2. Do not say something for the sake of it – Participation in a meeting does not mean just saying something, whether it is relevant or not.

3. Contribute to add value – Adding value may be done by expressing a new idea, through constructive disagreement (e.g., “why not do it this way instead?”), by endorsing another person’s opinion (e.g., “ I agree with you”) or by seeking clarification ( e.g., “ Can you explain that again?”).

4. Give credit where it is due – It is good meeting etiquette to appreciate someone else’s idea, if you think it is good.

5. Keep an open mind to facilitate convergence – Don’t impose your own ideas on others. Give others a chance to express their ideas, so that different viewpoints emerge on a single issue.

6. Do not interrupt – If you wish to say something, always signal this by raising your hand politely at a suitable juncture.

7. Always address the chairperson – Avoid “bi-lateral talks” and “mini meetings”, or discussions with other participants, as well as speaking in another language. Address your questions to the chairperson.

8. Use tools and technology with care – As mentioned earlier, meetings today can be non face-to-face, thanks to technological advances. When using facilities such as internal messaging, teleconferencing and video-conferencing, remember to be brief and to avoid using the tool for its own sake.

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