Posted by: wordsmithsuk | March 25, 2014

Styles of minutes


Few organisations have set rules for minutes. Some may indicate a preference for a somewhatProofreading with red pen archaic formal style, with the names of who said what and full details of the discussion. At the other extreme, others may just require a list of action points. Guidance is often limited to a house style for layout – with little provided on the actual content.

The style you should use will depend on the nature of the meeting and the requirements of the participants the chair and the organisation.

  • Formal ‘verbatim’ minutes may be required when objections could arise and when accountability and protection from liability are more important than succinctness.
  • Short ‘summary’ or ‘action’ minutes may be required for routine or relatively insignificant matters, where the ease of drafting, reviewing, and referencing is more important than the value of accountability.

Example of verbatim minutes

Complaints about café hours

Mr Ashton told the meeting that he understood there had been a bit of a hue and cry and letters of complaint received from regular users of the pool and the gym over the fact that the leisure centre was no longer opening the café at 7am as it had done for some time. Mr Innes added that long distance swimmers like to have breakfast there before going to work. Mrs Singh expressed astonishment that, because the café does not open till 9am, pensioners are not now able to benefit from the reduced rates offered with their privilege card. Mr Ashton pointed out that the café has reduced its opening hours because of necessary budget cutbacks.

The chair proposed that he would investigate the matter further and report back to the next meeting. Members agreed to this proposal.

Example of summary minutes

Complaints about café hours

The committee discussed complaints from pool and gym users about reduced opening times for the leisure centre café. Swimmers like to have breakfast before going to work and pensioners want to be able to benefit from the reduced rates offered with their privilege cards.

The chair will investigate further and report back to the next meeting.

Example of action minutes

Complaints about café hours

The chair will investigate further and report back to the next meeting.

Note that, in general, no-one is interested in who said what, they need to know about outcomes or decisions. There are obviously some legal situations where the details are required, but for the majority of meetings, names and detailed information are not required. Current practice is for minutes to be action-orientated; recording issues, decisions and action only, not discussion.

Which style of minutes do you use? Why is that?

If you want to know more about business writing, get a copy of our audio resource ‘Effective 9780954886035Business Writing for Success’. It’s available from Amazon, audible and from our website

Please get in touch if you have any comments or questions.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: