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
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Write in Style: A Guide to Good English. Contributors: Richard Palmer - Author. Publisher: Spon Press. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1993. Page number: 199.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.