minutesmadness

Write clear, concise and condensed meeting minutes and still keep your sanity!

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Every now and again I get asked by a minute taker, “Am I allowed to say anything during a meeting?”

Generally the answer is no. I’ve had a number of meeting participants tell me that while their minute taker does a good job they often add, “I just wish she/he understood her/his role a bit more and not contribute to the discussion.”

It’s tough right? Particularly when you feel really strongly about something and you just want to add your piece!

There are times when I believe the minute taker can speak:

To seek clarification

When they need to seek clarification from the chairman on a point or the outcome of an item.

To answer an administrative question

This is really appropriate when the group is unsure on an administrative process within the organisation eg who supplies the catering for meetings.

Meeting procedure

To advise on meeting procedure eg if a quorum is present, when the next meeting is etc.

When invited to

If  you are invited to, then go for it! This happened at one meeting I took minutes for where the group was looking at new logos for their organisation. I so wanted to say something. I had some strong opinions about what logo I liked. But my job was to record the responses to those logos… until the chairman asked me what I thought! I was rapt – they thought enough of me to think that my opinion was important and maybe they also wanted a woman’s perspective as I was the only one in the meeting. I very proudly gave my opinion which was received with thought-proving head nodding (by the way, they didn’t choose the logo I liked, but I still got to have my say).

What do you think? Do you contribute in a meeting and, if so, to what capacity?

 

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5 thoughts on “I’m a minute taker – so can I speak at a meeting?

  1. Lucie says:

    I don’t speak unless I’m asked to – but oh my goodness there are times when I want to! Particularly when it seems like the answer, solution or best course of action is staring people in the face and they just can’t see it 😊

    Like

    1. robynfb says:

      Hi Lucie, Thank you for taking the time to comment. Why is it the obvious answers seem to be only obvious to us? 🙂

      Like

  2. Debbie Gillespie says:

    I find this a tricky one too. I take minutes for a couple of meetings (fairly informal), where the committee members are all really busy people and this committee is secondary to their main work in the organisation. Consequently, people don’t always read the previous minutes before the meeting and often have the action point they’re addressing a bit wrong! (Amazing what people think they have said and what they actually say – I often want to play them what I have recorded them saying!) Can I speak up and tell them what they actually said and agreed to? I don’t usually, but did the other day and it meant we could just get on with the meeting without re-discussing the item that had already been decided on at the last meeting. I’d love to hear other’s experiences. And by the way, I’ve just joined this forum and it’s great – really interesting and useful. Thanks!

    Like

    1. robynfb says:

      Hi Debbie, thanks for stopping by and glad you’re finding the resources helpful. Yes, people do tend to have short term memory loss!

      Like

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