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The Rodney Brim Blog

Meetings, Minutes and Positioning

June 29, 2011

What if I could show you how to get 4x the value out of meeting minutes?
Ok, maybe it’s not 4x the value, maybe it’s 10x, then again maybe it is double
the value;  but whatever it is, it is only partially related to the content
and a lot to do with the positioning… by which I mean the time you
publish (write) them.


Meeting minutes

Let me ask you a question.  If meeting minutes are sent to you, how often
do you read them?  Truthfully.  Right that’s what I thought… rarely, and
a skim at best.

How about when minutes are read at the beginning of a meeting, how
engaged and valuable do you find that?  Or is that your favorite time
to scan emails on your phone, or follow along numbly in preparation
for getting to what you need to talk about in the meeting?

Both are examples of positioning of meeting minutes after the fact,
and both represent (yawn) low value.   Pity the person who has to
write them up each week.

Some people just do away with meeting minutes, but that leaves you
exposed to trying to remember stuff when critical decisions get made in
meetings and aren’t documented.

What should you do?  Here’s the secret to getting it right.

Meeting minutes are best done live! Think of them as an
executive summary that briefly summarizes the options considered
by person or position, and the decision made.    But the magic or the
big impact comes from having them completed in a visual (project
it on the wall or large screen) manner for everyone to see.

At first you’ll be amazed at how many people say, “Hey, I didn’t say
it that way” or “That’s not what I meant” or something else.  See, when
you do it live, it forces a level of clarity that never happens when you
deliver meeting minutes after the fact.

John Tropman in his book, Making Meetings Work, notes that
without a real-time summary, “many times meeting participants do
not really know what they have decided until somebody…”
summarizes it verbally on the screen.

Actually I find the large screen is much better environment than
summarizing verbally, because then you can leverage the information
much better for documentation and follow-up, which you’ll see in my
new book coming out next month on meetings.

The title is Redefining How to Create High Value Business
Meetings –
Everything you have learned is probably correct,

When you do meeting minutes live and visible to everyone,
you lose all the conjecture about “who said what” and you gain
clarity and speed in your decision making.  Do it at your next meeting.

Bottom Line:

Meeting minutes; we don’t read them when they’re sent out,
don’t listen intently when they are read.  Turn boring meeting
minutes into a high value exercise by:
1.  structuring them as an Executive Summary of the issues reviewed
and decisions made on each topic addressed,
2. but the best part, the opportunity to turn them into something
of dramatic value, is to do them live as a wrap-up to the meeting
conversation, not after the fact.

Check out ManagePro as a Meeting Management software that
supports you in both capturing the summary live, but easily
converting that into trackable action items.

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