Minutes are essential for most meetings. Their function is to:
record agreed actions
prompt action from those who attended the meeting
inform those who did not attend the meeting
serve as a record of the meeting's discussion
There are two main types of minutes:
1. Action Points: This type of minutes simply records what actions have been decided upon, who is responsible and what the milestones and deadlines are.
2. Summaries: This type of minutes records the action points but it also includes a summary of the discussion.
Taking minutes is a skilled job because the minute taker has to follow what can be confusing and inarticulate debates and summarise accurately what was said.
The minute taker must be able to understand enough of the subject to be able to follow the discussion. He/she also needs to be able to write clearly and concisely. At the end of the meeting the minutes should be checked with the chair and then circulated to all those who attended and those who will be affected by any decisions taken at the meeting.