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Take Minutes: OCR NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Business and Administration

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Taking minutes is vital in any business.

Taking minutes is vital in any business.

Minute-Taking Basics

This unit is a Group B optional unit at Level 2 with 4 credits. This unit helps the candidate with a good understanding of tasks while taking minutes, the role of the chair and minute taker in meetings, the procedure to take minutes, preparing for taking minutes and how to follow organisational procedures, policies and guidelines while taking minutes

Please find a personal statement relevant to this unit!

1.1 What Is the Purpose of Meetings?

The main purpose of meetings is to share ideas and express different thoughts. Meetings are used in almost every organization as a way of communicating information to other people where their principal functions are to inform, seek ideas, seek clarification, resolve problems, discuss proposals/ways of working, take decisions and settle disputes.

Minutes should be an exact portrayal of the meeting’s agenda. The structure of the minutes follows the list of items on the agenda. In order to take minutes in an efficient manner, you need to have the template ready based on the agenda items. Leave plenty of space to write down notes as the meeting goes on. This will help you not get confused and move across items smoothly as the meeting goes on.

Minutes are legal documents that serve as a proof for future references regarding any discussions made in a meeting. The minutes should contain the title, time, date, place of meeting, names of attendees, apologies, visitors, items, actions required and date for the next meeting.

Make sure to write down actions for each agenda item and by whom. Minutes have to be accurate, because people will refer to them in the future, and they should be able to understand exactly what happened in the meeting.

1.3 Why Should the Minutes Be an Accurate Record of Discussions and Decisions?

The minutes should be written accurately and concisely so that any person, whether or not they attended the meeting, would be able to know what took place.
Minutes serve as the official record of the actions that occurred at a meeting and form a historical record for a team or a department. Even if people forget to recall what happened in a meeting or what was discussed and decided, minutes will help them refer back and gain that information. Minutes also record actions taken and actions that need to be taken. So it acts as a reminder stating the deadlines that have to be met. Minutes also give information to the people who were not present in the meeting.

1.4 What Is the Purpose of Documents and Terms That Are Commonly Used in Meetings?

Meeting documents are created when the business is meeting to discuss matters pertaining to the present operation and future operation of the business.

Three common meeting documents are:

  • Notice of meeting (details such as date, time, type of meeting, location, and the purpose of the meeting)
  • Agenda (detailed listing of the agenda for the meeting)
  • Minutes (The record/proof of meeting with details like place and time of meeting, purpose of meeting, attendees, meeting chair, apologies, agenda, review of previous meeting minutes, date, time and place of next meeting and time of closure of meeting)

2.1 What Is the Role of the Chair and Other Formal Responsibilities Within Meetings?

The role of the Chair is to ensure that an accurate record of a meeting is made. The chair of the meeting has a responsibility to

  • Help the minute taker with agreeing on agenda items.
  • Follow the agenda items in sequence.
  • Informing the minute taker of any items to be removed from the agreed agenda.
  • Summarise specific points, decisions or actions agreed upon for each agenda item before moving on to the next item.
  • Agree and provide a summary for long discussions.
  • Review the minutes when they are written as a draft.

2.2 How Do You Work in Partnership With the Chair When Taking Minutes?

I discuss with the chair before the meeting starts to approve agenda items, and also regarding any visitors that are attending the meeting. I get advice on the time and venue for the meetings if the regular room where the meeting is held is not available. When in doubt, I ask if a particular discussion needs to be added to the minutes. I also clarify any technical terms discussed in the meeting so as to avoid recording wrong information. After the meeting, I draft out the minutes at the earliest possible and get them to be approved by my manager before distributing them to the members.

3.1/2 Why Should You Listen Actively When Taking Minutes and How Do You Do That?

I should listen actively while taking minutes because they serve as a record of decisions and details for anything that is discussed and agreed upon in a meeting.

The following are some ways I do that:

  • I need to listen analytically, looking for the main ideas and details.
  • I clarify things I do not understand or ask the chair to repeat facts that I do not understand.
  • I take into consideration the feelings of the speakers and the attendees.
  • I am proactive and ready to respond.
  • I eliminate distractions (noise, interruptions, etc) and concentrate on the speaker so that I do not miss out on important points and actions that need to be recorded.

3.3. How Do You Take Notes During Discussions Held at Meetings?

I get to the meeting early, I make sure I know who the chair is, I sit next to the Chair and check that everyone has all the papers (agenda) and take spare ones. I read through all the papers well before the meeting and ask for the names of those people present. Listen carefully, write down keywords and write down decisions. I ask for clarification and check my notes with the chair.

3.4/5 Why Should You Get Clarification and How Do You Do That?

Any doubts arising while writing down the minutes have to be clarified because they are decisions taken as a group and they aid with future reference.

I clarify things by asking the chair or the group to repeat or talk a bit slowly if I am in doubt about any discussions. I give myself time to listen and eliminate distractions.

The purpose of meetings varies from one type of meeting to another, so the layout of the minutes may vary, too.

The purpose of meetings varies from one type of meeting to another, so the layout of the minutes may vary, too.

3.6 How Do You Sort, Select and Structure Information to Produce Minutes?

I use a consistent template to produce minutes. The purpose of meetings varies from one type of meeting to another, so the layout of the minutes may vary, too.

The template used will also make it easy to locate important information, and it should be consistent across a series of meetings.

I structure the minutes as follows:

  • The title of the meeting.
  • The date and time of the meeting.
  • A list of all those present under the title "Present".
  • A list of all those not present but who have sent their apologies, this list should come under the title "Apologies".
  • Confirmation that the previous meeting's minutes have been agreed upon. The date of the previous meeting should be included.
  • Any amendments or actions arising from the previous meeting's minutes should be written down.
  • Any matters arising from the previous minutes should be included under the title issues to be discussed.
  • Minutes should always follow the same order that was followed in the meeting.
  • The date of the next meeting.

3.7 What Is Meant by Using the Correct Tone and Professional Language in Minutes?

Minutes are a record of what exactly happened in the meeting, so it should have a record of discussions and actions. It should focus on the items that were discussed and have clear information about what was decided for each item. Minutes have to be written in complete sentences and in sufficient detail. Doing so will help any reader not present in the meeting to understand what was actually discussed.

P.S: On a kind note, please do not copy anything submitted here and display them in your file. This has been published here, purely to help you gain an idea/understanding of what they expect you to write and how you have to write. You will have to relate to your own work area and organisation and stick with it while preparing the files. Thank you for your co-operation.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Scott Leech on April 01, 2016:

Hello. Why is it important to record the names of the 'mover' and 'seconder' during formal business meetings?

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 06, 2016:

Hello Sam, you're welcome. All the best! :)

sam on September 29, 2015: