Write in Style: A Guide to Good English

By Richard Palmer | Go to book overview

15

MINUTES

The taking and writing of minutes is required in a limited number of situations. It is, however, a very precise skill which can demand a different format and style of writing from normal reporting and where different criteria operate.

Companies and organizations tend to have their own preferred style of minuting meetings which should be observed. Most will follow a general pattern. A meeting will be announced by an agenda giving the date, time and venue of the meeting and listing the items to be dealt with. Usually these will formally include the reading and agreeing of the previous meeting's minutes, plus dealing with matters arising from these minutes prior to any new business. Items should be numbered for convenience, the final item being any other business which allows late items to be introduced. The chairman of the meeting will normally follow the order of the agenda for his own convenience, and this will help the minuting considerably.

The depth and detail required in the minutes will depend on the style of the company. Many will wish simply to minute final decisions taken or the major points raised; some situations demand that more detailed notes are kept to record the views of individuals present. On occasion, you could be asked to record a specific point which someone wishes to stress, and this should be given verbatim.

Tone and style are also a matter of taste and choice. The apparent cold formality of minutes can be extremely useful, in that it allows all emotion and personality to be excluded from the record. This means that the minutes will present a sober, impartial report of the meeting, which leaves out arguments and personal attacks which can occur over sensitive issues. While there are times when people insist on having their views recorded, the cooling-off period between meetings often resolves differences, and it can be with a sense of relief that participants re-read minutes that give no hint of a previous battle!

Obviously, specific dates and details need to be given, but many minutes will give the bare bones of a meeting. The actual style and

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Write in Style: A Guide to Good English
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • From the Reviews: vi
  • Contents vii
  • List of Exercises xi
  • Acknowledgements xiv
  • Preface xv
  • Part One - Engage Brain and Ear Before Writing 1
  • 1 - Disasters 3
  • 2 - Triumphs 9
  • Part Two - Foundations 13
  • 3 - Introduction 15
  • 4 - Bone Structure 16
  • 5 - Joints 28
  • Part Three - Style 65
  • 6 - Introduction: Style Versus Fashion 67
  • 7 - Fight the Flab 70
  • 8 - Voice 109
  • Part Four - Tailor-Made 139
  • 9 - Introduction 141
  • 10 - Letters 142
  • 11 - Essays 161
  • 12 - Articles 189
  • 13 - Reviews 192
  • 14 - Reports 194
  • 15 - Minutes 199
  • 16 - PrÉcis and Summary 203
  • 17 - Reportage 225
  • Part Five - Grammar Primer 229
  • 18 - Grammar Primer 231
  • 19 - Inflections 274
  • 20 - Syntax 286
  • 21 - Parts of Speech (Advanced) 294
  • 22 - Punctuation in Speech and Quotation 315
  • 23 - Spelling and Confusibles 327
  • Appendix: Answers to Exercises 343
  • Further Reading 355
  • Authors, Sources and Named References 359
  • Subject Index 361
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