Taking Meeting Minutes

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The style of minutes has changed a lot over the last ten years – there is less emphasis on verbatim notes and more focus on actions.  The saying goes, “prior preparation and planning can prevent poor performance” and this applies as much for taking meeting minutes as it does for any other task.  So, if taking minutes for meetings leaves you in a cold sweat, here’s a few tips to get you ahead of the game:

Agendas and Papers

If you’re not the person preparing the agenda and papers, ask for copies along with previous minutes and make sure you review them before the meeting.  This will help you anticipate the discussion and decisions that need to be made.  It will also give you a guide as to what actions might arise.


Use previous meeting minutes and/or the agenda to create a template for your minutes. Most meetings will follow the order of the agenda and often the meeting papers will outline the decisions or actions to be taken. You can prep these in your template, meaning you can better focus on what is said in the meeting.

Speak to the Meeting Chair

The Chair will be able to guide you on how formal the minutes will need to be. They will also be the person who has the final sign off on the meeting minutes, so can give you guidance on the level of detail and format they expect.

 Choose your Technology

Some people still prefer to take minutes using paper and pen. Others prefer going straight to the laptop. Personally, I prefer to take minutes on the laptop as I type quicker than I write and if the agenda order changes, it’s easier to shift things around. If you are planning to use a laptop make sure it is fully charged or that there’ll be a plug close to where you are sitting. It’s also helpful to keep your original typed document, creating a new document when it comes to the editing process.  Always make sure you have a notebook and pen just in case your technology doesn’t work!

Arrive Early

Be the first one in the meeting room. Make sure any technology you plan to use is working and, as above, if you’re using a laptop, choose a seat close to a power supply. As people arrive, if you don’t know them, introduce yourself and make yourself a seating plan – this will make it easier to note who said what and who has received actions in the meeting.

Minute taking is a great skill to have, regardless of your role within a company, and it needn’t be daunting.

Proactive business support

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Good executive support is a valuable asset to a corporate office, charity, SME or entrepreneur in their working life. I am sure that you will have complimented or grumbled about support from administration or operational personnel at some point in your working life, even if you knew the problem wasn’t of their making. Continue reading “Proactive business support”

Mistaken Identity – Assistant or Business Support Partner?

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Virtual Assistants (VA) have many roles.  One of the most important for you to remember, is that most VAs are business owners in their own right and are very familiar with the successes and pitfalls that you may meet along the way. Continue reading “Mistaken Identity – Assistant or Business Support Partner?”

How do I communicate with my VA?

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One of the most common questions we get asked when talking to potential Clients is ‘how will you keep in touch?’. Working with a Virtual Assistant requires a different way of communicating, but if it’s clearly defined from the beginning, it’s really straight forward. Here’s a brief overview of how we communicate with our Clients: Continue reading “How do I communicate with my VA?”

Learning to Delegate

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I am a bit of a perfectionist. I like things done and I like them done well. One of the hardest lessons I learned was to be able to let go and delegate. Whilst I have become more effective at delegating since running my own business, this isn’t where I learnt to delegate.

Outside of work I have spent many years as a volunteer reserve officer with the Air Cadet Organisation.  I’ve been lucky enough to work with lots of talented people during that time, but it was working alongside experienced RAF Sergeants that gave me my real training in delegation – their guidance and advice was invaluable.  Here are my tips for delegating within your business. Continue reading “Learning to Delegate”

Building client relationships

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Work is a huge part of our lives, as well as being the most important factor in our financial well-being, it is the place where we socialise and build relationships.  Usually, we spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our families, so while you may think that working and socialising don’t mix, our social relationships with our workmates are a vital part of a healthy and productive workplace.

However, as a Virtual Assistant it’s not possible on a daily basis to meet your client in the office kitchen when making a cup of tea or have your lunch in the cafeteria together.  So how do you make sure that you get to know your clients, allowing you to build a successful working relationship?

Here are some tips for developing a productive and enduring relationships with your clients: Continue reading “Building client relationships”

Outsourcing – when is it the right time?

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As a small business owner you wear a hundred different hats every day. You are the customer services rep, the bookkeeper, the office manager and much much more. Juggling your business with everyday life can be tricky enough, but what happens when life takes an unusual turn. Who do you trust to help you with your business? Continue reading “Outsourcing – when is it the right time?”