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
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