6 reasons to use a professional minute taker!
There are several reasons why our clients choose to use a professional minute taker to capture the content of their meetings, such as ensuring they are thorough, precise and impartial.
Within this blog, we highlight the 6 main reasons to use a professional minute taker.
Before I get into the benefits and value to use a professional Minute Taker, I’m sure some of you may be thinking…. why not just audio record the meeting, it’s on-trend, there are lots of software options, and surely it more cost-effective? Unfortunately, this is not strictly true.
Many people feel with all the technology available, and audio recording options, surely it is more effective and efficient than having someone attend the meeting to take minutes?
However, with only having an audio recording of a meeting, anyone who needs to refer to a single discussion point in the meeting quickly or identify decisions and assigned actions will come across several problems:
- They will need to remember the exact moment in time (Eg. 32mins into the meeting) when the topic they want to refer to was discussed.
- Alternatively, they will need to listen to the entire recording to locate the discussion point, action or decision.
- It is also not legal to audio record a meeting unless you Inform everyone in the meeting that you are recording it and inform of the specific purpose of the recording. Plus, you must get explicit consent. You will need the attendees to either provide written consent or fill out a form, which they must sign. But importantly, you must be aware that consent is freely given.
- There is no way to group all the actions agreed during the meeting, unless, someone is “capturing actions only and someone verbally repeats them” again this defeats the purpose and still requires someone taking notes/minutes and someone having to repeat points to help ease the burden of relying on audio
Here are 6 reasons to use a professional minute taker:
If you use a minute taker from within the business, they can sometimes face the criticism of showing preconception or bias. No matter how objective they try to be, others may not feel comfortable with an internal person attending and recording the minutes, which could lead to doubt regarding how factual the record of minutes are.
Choosing an external minute taker, with no personal interest in the outcome of the meeting, will always provide a factual, impartial and accurate account that ALL attendees have no reason or basis to challenge or question.
Experience and Knowledge
Minute taking is a highly professional and refined skill, something that is not necessarily one you can pick up and do. Without experience and knowledge, you will find the chair of the meeting, is likely to need to give the minute taker more direction. Whereas using a professional minute taker they know how to capture a clear and concise statement of what was said, identify key topics of discussion, decisions and action points with very limited if any direction.
A professional minute taker can support meetings of any size, type, format, and industry. They are highly adaptable, have good written English skills, will be a good listener, understand the importance of confidentiality and impartiality, be alert, able to sift through the information discussed and transcribe it in a factual and unbiased manner, have strong proofreading skills and adapt to the clients’ needs.
Professional minute takers will often have a background as a PA, secretary, senior administrative roles or writer. At Oasis Minute Taking many of our minute takers have undertaken training, to perfect their skills.
Quality, Continuity and Consistency
Continuity and consistency across a series of meetings over an ongoing period.
Organisations often find that the quality and thoroughness of in-house minutes varies. Some minutes may be comprehensive and clear; some may not. Some minute takers may write more, some less. Inconsistency becomes especially noticeable in an extended series of meetings, where all the minutes will be reviewed together during and after the series. Inconsistency looks unprofessional, and in extreme cases, it can cast doubt on the validity of the written record.
Professional minute takers work to a defined template, style, and will always provide a thorough and accurate account of what was discussed.
The requirements of the meeting should be communicated with the minute taker before the start of the meeting(s). To ensure clarity and accuracy of the content and topics to be captured in a meeting
It frees up internal resources meaning that no member of staff, needs to sit in to take minutes, which takes them away from their main role.
Sometimes businesses will choose to outsource all their minute-taking functions, on either a regular or ad-hoc basis, because they cannot afford to remove a member of staff away from the day to day business.
Therefore with a professional minute taker, they can support a business whether on a one-off, ad-hoc or regular basis, avoiding reallocating internal resources/staff. Some examples of situations where a professional minute taker can be particularly beneficial are.
To support a new series of meetings, where there is no internal resource available and the business wants to have consistent minute taking support for every meeting.
Due to changes in business activities or major organisational changes where there could be a need for many more meetings to take place, where they need an accurate report and full details against progress but with no internal resource available to cover
If the meeting relates to a change that affects all staff, it is always advisable to use an outsourced and unrelated minute taker, to avoid any claims or misrepresentation.
Conflicts of interest
In many circumstances such as HR matters, business tribunal issues, or contractual matters, things can become contentious or considered high risk, therefore having a professional minute taker that is in no way related to either party can be a very beneficial and provide a true and unbiased transcription. Also, it removes any potential conflict of interest.
In these meetings that discuss sensitive matters accurate, impartial and thorough meeting minutes are particularly important. We often find that organisations use our professional minute takers in these situations, even when they would have the resource internally for the following reasons:
- They will remain unbiased and have no direct connection to the discussion, and if heated disputes arise, there are no direct personal relationships or background to cause any concerns.
- If all the individuals involved in the meeting are senior within the organisation, all attendees could be peers or at the same level of authority, therefore the minute taker is completely unrelated and will take true and factual information regardless of hierarchy.
- Perhaps the items being discussed cut to the heart of the organisation and could be deemed highly confidential where you wouldn’t want to risk anything leaking outside the meeting.
- Decisions must proceed quickly, and all attendees must provide input, with a minute taker in attendance all participants can focus on the purpose of the meeting without the needs of distraction and can freely focus on the topic at hand.
- If the meetings are controversial, an impartial minute taker will help to reassure attendees that an unbiased record will be provided. This often helps elevate concerns and helps people to be open and ensure speedy decisions, saving both time and money.
If an employee has requested a meeting to discuss employment or HR matters, the employee may think that a recording will provide evidence of unfairness and help support their case if minutes are provided by someone outside of the business or HR function.
Need for a prompt turnaround of minutes.
Creating good meeting minutes takes time: time for preparation, time for attending the meeting, time for writing up and polishing the minutes, and time for editing.
When staff members are utilised for meeting minutes alongside their other responsibilities, completing the minutes can stretch to days, if not weeks. This can hold up decision-making processes, sometimes at great cost. Professional minute takers can move faster because their focus is delivering your minutes.