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.
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?