Often I get asked if it’s OK to record a meeting. Yes, and no.
Here are the main reasons for both cases:
I’m not sure what they’re talking about
If you’re new to the role or you don’t know the subject this is a good way to be able to record the meeting and then double check for clarification after the meeting. The key word here is clarification. Recording the meeting shouldn’t be the main tool you use to take minutes. It should only be used as a back-up and a way to check parts of a meeting for clarity.
Certain people are telling you you’re recording inaccurate minutes
You know where I’m going here. Does this sound familiar: you take the minutes of a meeting, they’re distributed and someone tells you that what you’ve taken down is not what was said. You know that to be untrue because you recorded the meeting and you could play it back to them to prove that it is what they said. However, these people are very good with coming back with: That’s what I said, but that’s not what I meant! You’ll never win with this lot.
When you’re over-reliant on a recording device
Using a recording device is like blankie! It’s comforting knowing it’s there.
Some minute takers have confessed to me that they’ve taken notes at a meeting, recorded it and then after the meeting listened to the whole meeting again. Painful! And very time consuming (particularly if you’re using analogue devices). There could be a number of reasons as to why minute takers are doing this and would suggest that upskilling in successful minute taking techniques might be required. Please feel free to contact me so I can help you in this area.
When people don’t want to be recorded
With all the devices available to us these days it’s very easy for us to record something without anyone knowing. My advice: don’t go there mainly because it’s illegal. Some meetings which are open to the public are recorded and people are advised of that at the start of the meeting. If you wish to record the meeting you must seek permission first, state the reasons and what’ll happen to the recording afterwards ie it’ll be deleted. There is a very interesting current case here about a council meeting which was recorded without permission.
It’s technology – it can fail
I’m sure those who have used recording devices will have a story about where technology has failed. You need to be 100 percent sure that the device will perform or else it’s a waste of time.
My opinion is that recording a meeting is OK if you have permission. Then only use that recording to double check bits for clarity. As you become more knowledgeable about the subject and your confidence increases you’ll be able to wean yourself off the recording device and fly solo!
What is your opinion about using a recording device?