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4 Most Common Meeting Minutes Mistakes

meeting minutes mistakes

Meeting Minutes Mistakes To Avoid
1. Not Setting Up The Agenda For The Meeting
2. Not Sticking Up To Timing While Taking Meeting Minutes
3. Having No Agreed Meetings Minutes Format 
4. Not Paying Attention To Detail While Recording Meetings Minutes
Prepare In Advance

Meeting minutes are, in essence, a recording of the meeting’s key points and an account of what went on in a meeting. Why would you want to record meeting minutes? For historic reference, to update those who were absent, and to provide an accurate description of what was said as proof or evidence.

Today, when the coronavirus outbreak is causing organizations and businesses to switch to remote work, a consistent process of recording meetings minutes helps businesses to stay flexible and resilient under quarantine and in the face of fast-changing circumstances.

For example, if you’re holding a meeting with an attorney or an investor, you may want to keep a detailed account of every point you’ve discussed for further reference. The intricacies of your agreement may have a decisive impact on your business or personal matters, so it is essential to keep track of everything. 

In a corporate environment, effective minute meetings are important, since our capacity to remember details is usually limited. Omissions may lead to mistakes and wrong business decisions. That’s why taking meeting minutes requires an advanced ability to focus and an excellent ear for detail. As a rule, and is trusted to a secretary or an assistant. 

Unfortunately, it’s easy to mess things up while recording meetings minutes.  

In this article, we will discuss the most common meeting minute’s mistakes and the solutions that may help you to avoid them.

Meeting Minutes Mistakes To Avoid

To ensure transparency, the US legislation requires corporate boards of directors to take meetings minutes and distribute them among workers. Recording board meetings also helps board members prove that they are acting with the best interests of business at heart, and for taxing, liability and fiduciary purposes. 

Without the correct approach, though, meetings tend to become lengthy and boring. When most attendees start to treat meetings as a waste of time, you know you’re on the wrong track.

As far as the meeting minutes are concerned, the most common mistakes are as follows: 

1. Not Setting Up The Agenda For The Meeting

An agenda defines the structure of a meeting. It is, in essence, an outline of topics you are going to discuss with the list of speakers and the specific amounts of time that you are going to allocate for each topic. A board meeting agenda may look like this:

1. Q1 financial report (Chief financial officer, 20 minutes)
2. Implementation of a new data security system (CTO, 20 minutes)
3. Getting ready for an upcoming product launch press conference (Press secretary, 20 minutes)

A clearly defined agenda gives the meeting direction and purpose by setting limits and boundaries. Even if it’s just a regular weekly meeting, it helps members stick to the point and keep their minds (and speech) from wandering. 

For effective meetings minutes, lack of agenda is detrimental. Taking meeting minutes requires preparation: without a clear agenda, the person responsible for recording minutes doesn’t know what to focus on.

Solution: Always set up an agenda before the meeting. If for some reason, you have failed to do so, transcription software will help you capture what was said. Structuring your meeting minutes, though, will take some time. 

2. Not Sticking Up To Timing And Content While Taking Meeting Minutes

Once you have set up an agenda for the meeting, you must follow it. Sticking up to timing and topics on the agenda requires discipline, and serves an important purpose: it prevents meetings from turning into meaningless discussions.

What happens to the meeting minutes if you fail to keep the meeting within its boundaries? They become lengthy and lacking in structure, and, as a result, can’t be used for reference or deemed trustworthy. Even if a person responsible for meeting minutes has large attention spans, you can’t stretch their ability to focus endlessly. 

Solution: In this situation, meeting ownership is the best remedy. Assign a person responsible for supervising the meeting and making sure everyone follows the pre-established rules and agenda. Timing may make or break a meeting, so don’t leave it unattended. 

3. Having No Agreed Meetings Minutes Format 

Without a pre-established format, meeting minutes may become unreadable or inaccessible. If you don’t agree on a format, your colleagues who don’t have the software for reading these file types may be unable to access them. 

Meeting minutes are meant to be at your disposal instantly, whenever you need them for reference. In a critical situation, you don’t want to waste precious time on converting files into readable formats.

It is also important to decide on a repository for meeting minutes files. Cloud repository accessible from multiple devices is often the best choice for storing meeting minutes transcripts.

Solution: Audext automatically converts recordings into .doc or .txt file formats. On top of that, it supports most of the popular audio and video formats: MP3, M4A, WAV. Transcription software will also instantly upload your meeting minutes files to the cloud and eliminate the accessibility issues.  

4. Not Paying Attention To Detail While Recording Meetings Minutes

No one likes meeting minutes that are too detailed. After all, they are meant for quick reference and should provide a brief account of what was said. 

Not paying attention to details, on the other hand, may result in some grave omissions and may play a bad trick when you’re in dire need of well-backed proof or evidence.

It’s the focus on the most important topics and details that makes minute meetings effective. Above all, the meeting minutes should reflect the core issues and the decisions that the participants agreed on. 

The minutes must not miss anything essential: for example, when the board votes on a decision, minutes have to include a note on who voted on each side.

Solution: Have a meeting minutes template that will help you indicate the meeting type, timing, participants, items on the agenda, the list of key decisions and the meeting’s summary. This template should help you avoid grave omissions and stay focused.

Most Importantly: Prepare In Advance 

Taking meeting minutes requires your undivided attention. Separating topics from one another, distinguishing the essential from the non-essential is a difficult thing to do without relevant practice. So is capturing the decisions that the board made during the meeting, recording them, or putting them down on paper. 

Fortunately, modern transcription software provides you with toolsets for taking effective meeting minutes and rids you of meticulous manual work. For example, the Audext smart speaker identification feature automatically identifies who speaks, which is important for taking meeting minutes. 

With tools like Audext automatically converting audio recordings into text, you can save time and focus on what’s really important. 

Katrin Deres


Katrin runs her own podcast show, and interested in best ways to transcribe audio recordings into text.

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