Start up business loans advisor from Max Funding, Shane Perry says, “All businesses need to document critical meetings on occasion, whether it is a strategy meeting, a board meeting, a stakeholder meeting, or an HR meeting. The choice of whether to record meetings via email, audio, or video recording or by taking minutes will depend on the sensitivity of the information conveyed along with the need for consistency across the attendees.”
She adds, “That is why I think having a professional minute taker would make sure of the accuracy of the documentation and take this worry off of your company’s shoulder.”
Businesses that have a meeting with a sensitive or legal aspect to them will usually have a minute taker who provides comprehensive notes. Also, according to 2018 statistics, 21% of the time of an average worker is spent in a meeting and the figures are constantly increasing.
Sometimes, it is difficult to focus on the meeting while formulating accurate transcripts at the same time. This is why a lot of companies are now hiring and considering a professional minute taker.
What’s Minute Taking?
Minute taking refers to the act of recording all important notes during meetings and a minute taker is a person who’s responsible for the recording. The information provided is referred to as the “minutes”.
Minutes aren’t just a transcript of absolutely everything that was said during the meeting, but rather a document that contains a summary of all the key points addressed by meeting attendees as well as any agreements reached.
Minutes should be provided in a way that’s both easy to read and makes sense to the person or organization that document is delivered to. The recipient may or may not have been in attendance when the meeting was held.
According to the University of Western Australia, the minute taking job can take up a lot of time and effort and needs careful consideration to details and skills, wherein the transcript will go through a series of steps and sorting for it to be considered accurate and relevant.
The key responsibilities of a minute taker include:
– Listening carefully
– Understanding the topic of the meeting
-Taking meeting notes
– Providing properly formatted minutes
Why Can’t You Rely on Technology to Take Minutes?
People feel that with all the technology that’s currently available, including audio recording options, it should be more efficient and effective to use such as opposed to having someone attend the meeting just to take minutes.
If you have just a meeting of audio recorded conversations, however, you will run into several problems if you need to find out a single point of discussion in the meeting instantly or need to identify the decisions and assigned actions. Here are some of those issues:
– You will have to remember the exact moment in time when the topic you wish to refer to was discussed.
– You might have to listen to the entire recording to locate the decision, action, or point of discussion.
– It will not be illegal if you just start recording a meeting without letting everyone know the reason behind the recording or why you need to record the conversation.You will also first get explicit consent from attendees. You also need to be sure that the consent is freely given and it should be in the form of a signed document
– It is impossible to group all the actions agreed to during the meeting, unless, somebody “captures actions only and somebody repeats them verbally”, which beats the purpose and still requires somebody taking minutes and somebody having to repeat the points to help lessen the burden of relying on audio
Benefits of a Professional Minute Taker
The problem with using a minute taker from within the business is that they can sometimes show bias or preconception. No matter how objective they might try to be, others might not be too comfortable with a staff member taking the minutes and this may lead to doubts being cast regarding the factuality of the transcripts. It would be better to simply hire a professional minute taker from a specialized firm.
Specialized Knowledge and Experience
Meetings of any format, type, size, and industry can be supported by a professional minute taker. They are adaptable and have remarkable communication skills. Well-trained minute takers are alert, can sift through the information discussed and later transcribe it in an unbiased and factual manner, and understand the importance of impartiality and confidentiality.
Consistency, Quality, and Continuity
Organisations often find that the thoroughness and quality of in-house minutes tend to vary. While some minutes are clear and comprehensive, others simply aren’t. Some minute takers may write more while others may write less.
Inconsistency becomes particularly noticeable in an extended series of meetings, where all minutes are reviewed at the same time during and after the meetings. Inconsistency is always unprofessional looking and may even cast doubt of the written record’s validity in extreme cases.
The requirements of the meeting need to be relayed to the minute taker before the start of the meeting to ensure the accuracy and clarity of the content and topics to be discussed in the meeting.
Using a professional minute taker helps to free up the internal resources, which means that no staff member has to sit in to take minutes since it takes them away from their primary role.
Businesses sometimes prefer outsourcing all their minute-taking functions, either on an ad-hoc or regular basis, because they can’t afford to remove a staff member away from the day to day business operations. A professional minute taker, on the other hand, can support a business whether on an ad-hoc, one-off, or regular basis, avoiding the re-allocation of internal resources.
A good example of a situation where it would be beneficial to use a professional minute taker is when you need to support a new series of meetings, but there’s no available internal resource and the business would like to have minute taking support consistently for each meeting.
Need for a Prompt Turnaround of Minutes
It takes time to create good minutes: time for preparing for the meeting, time to attend the meeting, time to write up and polish the minutes, and time to make edits.
If staff members are utilised for taking minutes alongside their primary responsibilities, completing the minutes can take up to several days, if not weeks. Unfortunately, this can hold up decision-making processes, sometimes at great cost. A professional minute taker can move faster since their focus is on delivering the completed minutes.