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



As a minute taker you can utilise a number of time saving techniques before and after a meeting to ensure you’re well prepared.

1 Briefing meeting with the chairman

Having a briefing meeting with the chairman before the meeting gives you a heads up and an ability to be able to clarify anything you’re unsure of. A briefing meeting discussion points could include:

  • background to agenda items
  • a reminder to the chairman to summarise discussion at the end of each agenda item
  • an idea of any contentious agenda items
  • a run through of the agenda to confirm break times and guest speaker spots
  • how much time should be allocated to each agenda item if this is not already indicated on the agenda.

2 Meeting invites accepted

Follow up those people who haven’t responded to any meeting invites. This will ensure there is full attendance at the meeting and essential people have confirmed they will be attending. This is particularly important for formal meetings when a quorum is required before the meeting can start.

3 Equipment to take minutes all ready

  • Pen (x 2)
  • Highlighter
  • Notepad
  • Lap top/iPad (battery fully charged)
  • WIFI/passwords etc tested
  • Agenda, minutes and any other documentation (conflict of interest register, decisions register, terms of reference)

4 Scheduled time out after the meeting

Schedule time out in your calendar to complete a first draft of your minutes. This will help you dedicate time to the task and prevent procrastination.

Eliminate desk distractions by either working from home, closing your office door (or using red time if you’re working in an open plan office), closing down e-mail and switching your phone to do not disturb.


The above of some of the ways a minute taker can be more productive, efficient and effective in the meeting forum.


Do you have any time saving tips that helps you as a minute taker?


2 thoughts on “Minute taker’s toolkit: Series 4 – Four tools that will help you save time

  1. Debbie Gillespie says:

    What’s “red time” for an open plan office? Sounds like this could be a useful tool for me.


    1. robynfb says:

      Hi Debbie, Red time is where you indicate to others in the office that you’re working uninterrupted. There’s a number of ways you can do this – a simple sign near your desk saying you’re working uninterrupted for a couple of hours, a small red flag up on the desk or any other creative way you can think of. The key to this is that your colleagues have to recognise and respect that this is your time to focus on your work without interruptions. Of course, the rest of the time we are working is called green time. Hope this helps.


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