minutes to a meeting

Sunday, June 25, 2006

minutes to a meeting : How to Hold a Teleconference

Even a well-planned teleconference can go poorly. Some people treat any meeting as a casual social activity instead of as a serious business project. And a teleconference brings special challenges because people attend them in the privacy of their office without being able to see or be seen by the other participants.

Use these techniques to hold a more effective meeting by phone.

1) Begin with a quick round of self introductions so that everyone can find out who is present and hear everyone else's voice.

2) Enforce the rule of "one speaker at a time." Multiple conversations ruin a teleconference.

3) Insist that people announce when they join or leave the conference.

4) If people must leave during the meeting, gain closure on any issues that they participated in before they leave. For example, "Pat agreed to prepare a cost estimate by next Monday. Is that correct, Pat?" Make adjustments in the agenda (if appropriate) based on the remaining participants.

5) Keep everyone focused on the issue being discussed. If someone introduces an idea that seems unrelated, say, "That sounds interesting. How does that relate to the issue?"

6) Record the conference. First, this will help you prepare minutes. And second, it encourages people to make meaningful comments. Of course, you should announce that you are recording the meeting before you start.

7) State your name each time that you speak. This helps everyone know that you are speaking.

8) If you are speaking on your desk phone, use the handset instead of the speakerphone. A speakerphone, while useful, distorts your voice, picks up background sounds (like office equipment), and makes a poor impression on the listener. If you must have both hands free while you talk, obtain a headset. Note: It is more courteous to speak to people through the handset (instead of the speakerphone) on any phone call.

9) Speak clearly to make sure that you are understood. Take the extra effort to enunciate carefully and speak slowly. Of course, you want to sound natural.

10) When stating numbers, write them out while you speak because that defines the rate at which everyone else is capturing them.

11) Then ask the receiving party to confirm numbers (or other critical data) by repeating them. Although this may seem awkward, it prevents misunderstandings. Better yet, send written copies of all critical information.

12) When possible, plan your statements by jotting down an outline of your key ideas before speaking. This contributes to a more efficient meeting, helps you appear more thoughtful, and avoids the embarrassment of making a verbal gaff.

13) Use your best, most focused listening skills. Pay addition to content, as well as inflections, voice tone, word selection, emphasis, assumed intentions, and your intuition.

14) Avoid shuffling papers, moving about, or tapping objects. Everyone else will hear the noise. It's distracting and irritating.

15) Reinforce accomplishments by distributing copies of key ideas and agreements during the meeting. You can send these, for example, by e-mail or fax.

16) Stay fully present during the meeting. Avoid working on other tasks, such as reading mail or filing papers. These reduce your ability to participate intelligently in the meeting.

17) Avoid using the mute button to talk to someone in your office during the audioconference. First, this shows discourtesy to both parties - the person in your office and the people in the teleconference. It also takes your attention away from the meeting, causing you to miss important information. And be warned that people have found themselves in serious trouble when the mute button failed.

18) Prepare minutes soon after the meeting. Send a draft to key participants to confirm that your notes accurately describe the results of the meeting. Minutes should be released within a day or two after the meeting in order to be useful. After that, they become stale.

Properly conducted, teleconferences contribute to the efficiency of effective business. Use the above techniques to make sure your meetings do that.

by Steve Kayehttp

minutes to a meeting : How to Plan a Teleconference

Teleconferences can be a boon or a bust. On the positive side, they allow people at different locations to attend meetings without having to travel. On the negative side, they can degenerate into frustrating struggles with uncontrolled babble. This occurs because people lack visual contact, which hinders effective communication and provides opportunities to misbehave.

Here's how to set up an effective meeting by phone.

1) Plan a simple meeting. Ideally, the meeting should last less than 30 to 45 minutes. People are unable to concentrate on long phone calls. They become tired. Their attention drifts. They need to take a break. Design your meeting so that it is short and to the point. That way everyone can focus on the issues and participate effectively.

2) Write out your goal for the meeting. Then make sure that this statement truly represents the result that you want to have at the end of the meeting. Lack of a clear, well-stated goal is the second biggest cause of bad meetings. Next check if a teleconference is the best way to obtain that goal. Cancel the meeting if you can achieve the goal with any other approach, such as by sending a memo, making a single phone call, or thinking through a solution by yourself.

3) Prepare an agenda. A teleconference without an agenda is like a journey without a map -- in the dark. Without an agenda, you will lose control and waste time. Your agenda should include the goal for the meeting and detailed instructions for each part of the meeting. It should be so complete and specific that someone else could use it to run your meeting.

4) Distribute the agenda at least a day before the meeting. This allows everyone to think about your issues and prepare for their participation. If appropriate (e.g., for controversial or complex issues) call key participants to confirm that they received the agenda and to check if they have comments on how the meeting could be made more effective. Use this as an opportunity to listen their ideas, instead of to work on the issues or argue with them.

5) Distribute any materials related to the issues before the meeting. This includes outlines, blueprints, schematics, product brochures, and data. Then, the participants can use these tools to participate more effectively. For example, they can follow an outline, look at diagrams, or read data during the meeting. This helps compensate for the lack of visual contact in a teleconference.

6) Invite only those who can directly contribute to the meeting. Ideally, this should be fewer than eight people. If you invite more people, it becomes very difficult to hold an effective meeting. With a larger group, some of the attendees will become lost as silent listeners, which is a waste of their time. You can always send a copy of the minutes to the people who need to know about the work accomplished during the meeting.

A teleconference is more than a phone call. It is a meeting. And a meeting is a business activity that should be driven by a well thought out goal supported by a detailed plan. With proper planning, your teleconferences will distinguish you as an effective leader.

by steve Kaye

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

minutes to a meeting : Advisory vote endorses school recommendations

Residents seemed to agree Saturday that figures the School Committee settled on last week will be the figures put before voters.

During an advisory vote at the town meeting, residents decided that $43,500 should be spent for technology at the school, $280,000 allocated for operations and maintenance, and $387,845 raised in additional local funds.

The advisory vote happens to fall in line with the adjusted figures the School Committee members voted on during their meeting last week.

This year's school budget was up 6.1 percent from last year's, but the proposed cuts would bring the school's $4.7 million budget down to $4.6 million.

A date for the second vote on the school budget has not been set, but it can't take place until 45 days or more from the last vote.

The most discussion at the meeting came just after a motion to pass an anti-littering ordinance was put on the floor.

Resident Steve Hoad, who is blind, stated that he was not adequately informed on the ordinances to cast a vote.

"I would like to request that the town of Windsor send out the materials ahead of time so that I can properly vote," Hoad said.

Moderator Jeffrey Frankel offered a short recess so that Hoad could be read the various ordinances but said anything more than 30 minutes would not be allowed.

After Town Manager Carl Pease read one ordinance in its entirety, Hoad said reading of ordinances was not necessary.

Copyright © 2005, Blethen Maine Newspapers, Inc.

minutes to a meeting : Voters approve spending for street improvements

About 100 residents at the town meeting Saturday approved an estimated $3.1 million municipal budget and agreed to spend $450,000 for improvements to High Street.

The budget represents an increase of roughly $230,000 from last year's budget.

The work on High Street will begin at the railroad tracks and extend to the veterans' home, and will include adding a 5-foot-wide sidewalk.

The project is being funded by a $300,000 grant from the Maine Department of Transportation.

Residents defeated the article last year, said Selectman Ray Glover, adding that the sidewalk will be built alongside South Paris Elementary School.

What made the difference this year, he said, was that supporters were more vocal.

Voters decided to waive foreclosure on three properties, including A.C. Lawrence Leather Co. Inc.

They voted to raise $187,854 for the Fire Department and $466,661 for the Police Department. They also designated the athletic fields, parks, and playgrounds as "drug-safe" zones.

In a significant change, residents rejected the Budget Committee's recommendation for $2,500 for the growth council and approved the council's request for $12,000.

Residents also voted to spend up to $300,000 to buy a new firetruck to replace a 1974 truck. Glover said the truck bid was $279,000.

Copyright © 2005, Blethen Maine Newspapers, Inc.

minutes to a meeting : elect new fire chief

Residents at the town meeting on Saturday approved an estimated $3 million municipal budget and elected Scott Hunter as fire chief. Hunter will replace Fred Knightly, who has held the post for about 26 years.

Voters approved every article as it was written. They agreed to raise $406,208 for the administrative account, $369,311 for the Police Department and $433,915 for the Highway Department.

Residents voted to spend $200,708 for the Fire Department, $168,921 for the Rescue Department and $75,750 for the fire and traffic protection account. Hunter, a nonresident, will serve as fire chief for three years.

Laurence Sanborn, a resident since 1956, said the turnout was small, with 110 residents out of around 4,100 attending, but the meeting went well.

Voters agreed to raise $413,100 for the capital-improvement projects account. The town also passed a cemetery ordinance.

In the elections, residents re-elected Floyd Thayer and Dennis Sanborn to the Board of Selectmen for three-year terms. Sanborn and Thayer also were elected as assessors for three-year terms.

John Palmer was re-elected to the board of directors for School Administrative District 17 for a three-year term. Penny Lowe was re-elected to the water district.

Copyright © 2005, Blethen Maine Newspapers, Inc.

Friday, June 16, 2006

minutes to a meeting : How to Take Minutes at a Business Meeting

Business meetings may be conducted formally or informally, depending on the company and the circumstances. The following guidelines are based on Robert's Rules of Order.

Taking Minutes

1. Obtain the meeting agenda, minutes from the last meeting, and any background documents to be discussed. Consider using a tape recorder to ensure accuracy.

2. Sit beside the chairperson for convenient clarification or help as the meeting proceeds.

3. Write "Minutes of the meeting of (exact association name)."

4. Record the date, time and place of the meeting.

5. Circulate a sheet of paper for attendees to sign. (This sheet can also help identify speakers by seating arrangement later in the meeting.) If the meeting is an open one, write down only the names of the attendees who have voting rights.

6. Note who arrives late or leaves early so that these people can be briefed on what they missed.

7. Write down items in the order in which they are discussed. If item 8 on the agenda is discussed before item 2, keep the old item number but write item 8 in second place.

8. Record the motions made and the names of people who originate them.

9. Record whether motions are adopted or rejected, how the vote is taken (by show of hands, voice or other method) and whether the vote is unanimous. For small meetings, write the names of the attendees who approve, oppose and abstain from each motion.

10. Focus on recording actions taken by the group. Avoid writing down the details of each discussion.

You do not need to record topics irrelevant to the business at hand. Taking minutes is not the same as taking dictation.

Consult only the chairperson or executive officer, not the attendees, if you have questions.

The person taking minutes does not participate in the meeting.

Transcribing Minutes

1. Transcribe minutes soon after the meeting, when your memory of the event is still fresh.

2. Follow the format used in previous minutes.

3. Preface resolutions with "RESOLVED, THAT..."

4. Consider attaching long resolutions, reports or other supplementary material to the minutes as an appendix.

5. Write "Submitted by" and then sign your name and the date.

6. Place minutes chronologically in a record book.

© 1999-2006 eHow, Inc

minutes to a meeting : Meeting Management

Meeting can be very productive. They can also be a waste of time. Here are some ways to improve your meeting management skill.

Stand PAT
I use a "PAT" approach to meetings. A meeting has to have: a Purpose, an Agenda, and a Timeframe or I don't do it.

You should be able to define the purpose of the meeting in 1 or 2 sentences at most. "This meeting is to plan the new marketing campaign" or "this meeting is to review shipping's new policy for handling returns." That way everyone knows why they are there, what needs to be done, and how to know if they are successful.

Set an agenda. List the items you are going to review/discuss/inspect. I like to assign a time limit to each agenda item (see below) and identify the person responsible to speak or moderate the discussion.

Set a timeframe. At the very least set a start and end time. I also recommend setting durations for each item in the agenda. These should total to the overall meeting timeframe.

Don't Wait
Meetings need to start on time. Don't wait for stragglers to show up. When someone arrives late, don't go back and review what has already been covered. That just wastes the time of the poeple who showed up on time for the meeting.

If the meeting organizer/sponsor doesn't show up on time, consider the meeting cancelled and go back to work. How log to wait for the organizer to show up varies among companies, but I wouldn't wait any longer that 5 minutes.

Keep and send minutes
Someone, other than the meeitn organizer, should keep minutes of the meeting. How detailed these are depends on the nature of what is being discussed and the skill of the available note taker. If you set an agenda in the first place, as you should have, the note taker can use that as an outline. The minutes should record who attended, what was discussed, any agreements that were reached, and any action items that were assigned.

Soon after the meeting, usually within 24 hours, the minutes of the meeting should be distributed to all who attended, any invitees who did not attend, and anyone else effected by the discussion. Email is a great vehice for distributing them. Distributing the minutes informs those not at the meeting of the progress that was made and reminds everyone of their action items.

Stay Focused
Every meeting should have a "topic keeper". I like to ask for a volunteer at the beginning of the meeting. The topic keeper's job is to interrupt whenever the discussion stray from the topic under discussion. These new topics can either be tabled until later or shceduled for their own meeting. There is a fine line between what are amplifying remarks about the topic under discussion and what is a tangential topic. The meeting organizer can decide. It never hurts to say "let's take that up off-line".

Be more productive
I believe these things will make your meetings more productive. If you have other meeting management tips to share with your peers, you can post them on our About Management Forum

©2006 About, Inc., A part of The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

minutes to a meeting : Minutes

Minutes are the instant written record of a meeting or hearing. They often give an overview of the structure of the meeting, starting with a list of those present, a statement of the various issues before the participants, and each of their responses thereto. They are often created at the moment of the hearing by a typist or court recorder at the meeting, who may record the meeting in shorthand, and then type the minutes and issue them to the participants afterwards. Alternatively, the meeting may be audiorecorded and the minutes typed later. The minutes of certain entities, such as a corporate board of directors, must be kept and are important legal documents.

Most public meetings and governmental hearings follow prescribed rules. Often speakers' words are recorded verbatim, or with only minor paraphrasing, so that every speaker's comments are included.

There is considerable debate over what to include in minutes from a non-governmental meeting. Within certain limits, businesses and private organizations may follow whatever rules they choose. Minutes may be as detailed and comprehensive as a transcription, or as short and concise as a bare list of the resolutions adopted or decisions made. While most non-governmental minutes are not in practice seen by the public, many stakeholders find a bare list of decisions to be frustrating, as they want more information about which individuals supported (or didn't support) their particular pet issues.

However, in a large group that deals with many different issues, it may be very difficult to present a happy middle ground, as people are likely to have slightly different ideas about the tone of any given discussion, or the importance of a specific topic, and so on. Consequently, most organizations go to either extreme, depending primarily on their notion of privacy (speakers may want to ask questions without fear of being perceived as ignorant) and accountability (members may want to know who to blame).

Generally, minutes begin with the organization name, place, date, list of people present, and the time that the chair called the meeting to order. Minutes then record what actually happens at a meeting, in the order that it actually happens, regardless of whether the meeting follows (or ignores) any written agenda.

Since the primary function of minutes is to record the decisions made, any and all official decisions must be included. If a formal motion is made, seconded, passed, or not, then this action and the vote tally must be included. The part of the minutes dealing with a routine motion might note merely that a particular motion was "moved by Ann, seconded by Bob, and passed unanimously." Usually it is sufficient to record the number of people voting for and against a motion (or abstaining), but requests by participants to note their votes by name are always allowed. If a decision is made by roll call vote, then all of the individual votes must be recorded by name. If it is made by consensus without a formal vote, then this fact is recorded.

It is also often common for adherents to the "less is more" approach to include certain facts: for example, that financial reports were presented, or that a legal issue (such as a potential conflict of interest) was discussed, or that a particular aspect of an issue was duly considered, or that a person arrived late (or left early) at a particular time. The minutes end with a note of the time that the meeting was adjourned.

Minutes in businesses and other private organizations are normally submitted by and over the name of an officer of the organization (usually the Secretary, and never the typist, even if the typist actually drafted the document) at a subsequent meeting for review. The traditional closing phrase is "Respectfully submitted," (although that phrase is slowly falling out of use) followed by the officer's signature, his or her typed (or printed) name, and his or her title.

If the members of the committee or group agree that the written minutes reflect what happened at the meeting, then they are approved, and the fact of their approval is recorded in the minutes of the current meeting. If there are errors or omissions, then the minutes will be re-drafted and submitted again at a later date. Minor changes may be made immediately, and the amended minutes may be approved "as amended." It is normally appropriate to give a draft copy of the minutes to the other members in advance of the meeting so that the meeting need not be delayed while everyone reads and corrects the draft. It is not usually considered appropriate to vote to approve minutes for a meeting which one did not attend. It is also not wise to approve minutes which one has not read.

Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc

Friday, June 09, 2006

minutes to a meeting : Writing Minutes and Meeting Notes

This one-day workshop is designed to improve your note-taking skills. Those who read meeting notes complain that minutes hide nuggets of action and decision inside pages full of wordy, often useless text. In this workshop, you'll learn how to condense meeting hours to minutes - minutes that meet the needs of today's reader-in-a-rush.

Topics will include:

preparing to take notes

gathering and organizing the raw material

writing clearly and concisely

formatting the final draft

indexing minutes for quick recovery.

With guidance from the instructor, you will think through and create your own unique tools for these tasks. This will be a workshop - so bring a sharp pencil and a writing pad.

Performance Objectives: Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

Identify what information your readers will need
Take notes efficiently
Decide what does and does not belong in the final draft
Arrange material in an inviting format
Word the final draft clearly and concisely
Index notes for easy access to any subject

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

minutes to a meeting : The Perfect Meeting Guide

So you've never been in charge of a conference or seminar before? Are you nervous yet?

If you've started working on the paperwork, I bet you've noticed the enormous task that is ahead of you. And if when I say the word "paperwork," if you ask "what paperwork...?"

...then you've got an even bigger challenge ahead of you. Knowing all the small and often overlooked details involved with running a successful conference or seminar is near impossible.

Near impossible if you don't have experience on your side. The best way to alert yourself to the coming situations, problems, and conflicts that are bound to happen in only a short time...

...is to track down some solid information that will warn you of impending disasters before they happen. When you're the one they'll hold responsible, it's best not to hold back when getting prepared!

My name is Peter Penny, and I have been producing sales meetings for corporations big and small for over 25 years . These meetings have taken place literally around the world, from most major North American cities, to corporate events in tropical destinations such as St. Thomas, Nassau, Cancun, and many other exotic destinations as well.

I have produced meeting for groups as small as 25 attendees, and for corporations with attendance topping 3,000 people! These meetings range from a single evening, for an awards banquet, or special dinner, to an AGM (Annual General Meeting), to a full week, usually for a National Sales Meeting. Regardless of the size or length of the event, the basic planning structure is the same.

One of the first items of business I take care of when a new project begins is to prepare a document for my client outlining the steps necessary, and timeline that must be followed to ensue the event will proceed as expected. It is the accumulation of all this information I have gathered over the years that I have compiled into a comprehensive report for you...

by Peter Penny

Monday, June 05, 2006

minutes to a meeting ; Taking Meeting Minutes

At some point your boss may ask you to take minutes at a meeting. This task isn't reserved for secretaries only. Any person who attends a meeting may be asked to do this. Since the minutes will serve as an official record of what took place during the meeting, you must be very accurate. Here are some pointers to help you master this skill.
Before the Meeting
Choose your tool: Decide how you will take notes, i.e. pen and paper, laptop computer, or tape recorder.
Make sure your tool of choice is in working order and have a backup just in case.
Use the meeting agenda to formulate an outline.
During the Meeting
Pass around an attendance sheet.
Get a list of committee members and make sure you know who is who.
Note the time the meeting begins.
Don't try to write down every single comment -- just the main ideas.
Write down motions, who made them, and the results of votes, if any; no need to write down who seconded a motion.
Make note of any motions to be voted on at future meetings.
Note the ending time of the meeting.
After the Meeting
Type up the minutes as soon as possible after the meeting, while everything is still fresh in your mind.
Include the name of organization, name of committe, type of meeting (daily, weekly, monthly, annual, or special), and purpose of meeting.
Include the time the meeting began and ended.
Proofread the minutes before submitting them.

©2006 About, Inc., A part of The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.

minutes to a meeting : ComputerScript Meeting Minutes Taking

It is estimated that up to 70% of small and medium size corporations in the United States are not in compliance with their State or Federal Requirements. They do not document their corporation meetings with minutes, have them recorded, signed, and installed in their corporation record's book. One of the main reasons is that their meeting minutes incomplete and improperly recorded due to the lack of appropriate systems and tools to accurately record meeting minutes.

Introducing EasyScript/ComputerScript to write and type faster, easier, and more efficiently than any method you have ever used. This revolutionary way to learn speed writing and typing will enable you to take meeting minutes quickly and accurately. It doesn't take long to learn, just a few hours, and you can become effective taking meeting minutes and more comfortable with this work assignment.

Real Time Speech-To-Text Processing, Transcription & Captioning

Real-time captioning and speech-to-text systems provide an accurate transcription of words as they are spoken into text. These systems are mainly used in the courtrooms and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals to provide real time translation from speech to text and a written record that can be reviewed later. Currently, two major options are available to provide real-time captioning and speech-to-text processing:

Steno-based systems. They use a 24-key machine to encode phonetically spoken words and to enter them into a computer where they are converted into readable text and can be displayed on a computer screen or television monitor in real time. These systems are also called CART (computer-aided real-time transcription) because they are often transported from one location to another on wheels. Due to the high cost of equipment and steno typist training steno-based systems are mainly used in courtrooms when verbatim is required.

Computer-aided note taking systems (CAN). A standard keyboard is used to input words in an abbreviated form as they are being spoken and transcription software translates the abbreviations into readable format.

For non-verbatim applications such as meeting minutes, tape and message transcription, and order/message processing computer-aided note taking systems are more cost effective. The method of abbreviating words is a major factor how efficiently you can process and enter verbal information in an abbreviated form.

Existing typing abbreviation systems (Instant Text, Productivity Plus, ShortCut Windows and Abbreviate) assign a unique code to each word. You will need to memorize tens of thousands of abbreviations to type efficiently. If you don't remember the codes you will not able to retrieve a corresponding full word. In addition, these systems do not provide codes for all words and the user has to create additional abbreviations.

In contrast, ComputerScript assigns all words to five basic categories and you only need to learn one rule per specific category. As a result, learning curve and memorization volume are drastically reduced and attaining proficiency can be achieved in a short period of time.

Copyright ©2004-2006 Legend Co. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 02, 2006

minutes to a meeting : Taking Meeting Minutes

An Important Skill
At some point your boss may ask you to take minutes at a meeting. This task isn't reserved for secretaries only. Any person who attends a meeting may be asked to do this. Since the minutes will serve as an official record of what took place during the meeting, you must be very accurate. Here are some pointers to help you master this skill.
Before the Meeting
Choose your tool: Decide how you will take notes, i.e. pen and paper, laptop computer, or tape recorder.
Make sure your tool of choice is in working order and have a backup just in case.
Use the meeting agenda to formulate an outline.
During the Meeting
Pass around an attendance sheet.
Get a list of committee members and make sure you know who is who.
Note the time the meeting begins.
Don't try to write down every single comment -- just the main ideas.
Write down motions, who made them, and the results of votes, if any; no need to write down who seconded a motion.
Make note of any motions to be voted on at future meetings.
Note the ending time of the meeting.
After the Meeting
Type up the minutes as soon as possible after the meeting, while everything is still fresh in your mind.
Include the name of organization, name of committe, type of meeting (daily, weekly, monthly, annual, or special), and purpose of meeting.
Include the time the meeting began and ended.
Proofread the minutes before submitting them.

©2006 About, Inc., A part of The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.