How does work get done in organizations? By people; and, frequently, by people working with other people to achieve some mutual goal. In the process, these people need to communicate with each other. This can be done in a variety of ways, but one quintessential and seemingly green team communication tool is meetings.
Why We Need Meetings
Meetings are an essential part of effective communication within organizations. While a great deal of discussion can get accomplished—and well documented—in a long e-mail chain, including all the pertinent players, communicating via e-mail (or, increasingly these days, via text) just isn’t the same as having everyone in the same room so all can discuss issues in real time. Having everyone present and actively engaged can go further to ensure buy-in, commitment, and appropriate action.
That said, as every business person likely knows, meetings can be a big drain on time. Just look around the room the next time you’re in a meeting and calculate how much that meeting cost in terms of staff time. This doesn’t even begin to take into account the lost opportunity time that meeting participants have relative to other work they could have been getting done.
That’s why, we don’t just need meetings—we need meeting minutes! Meeting minutes are essential to making meetings as effective as possible and to ensure that the effort put into these meetings pays off. Here are just a few reasons why.
… and Meeting Minutes!
Have you ever attended a meeting and, after the fact, racked your brain to remember exactly what was discussed at the meeting? As noted above, meetings use up a lot of valuable time. The last thing you want is to have to repeat a meeting with all those key staff because nobody can remember what was decided.
Even if the entire meeting isn’t reheld, smaller groups of the attendees having to spend time recapping what was discussed or agreed on is a major waste. Meeting minutes can be used to provide clarification and serve as a historical document to ensure that rework is minimized, if not eliminated.
Meeting minutes can also be used to keep things moving. Bringing minutes from a previous meeting to the next one can help eliminate the tendency to rehash topics that have already been addressed. Along with a set agenda, using meeting minutes to drive progress can add value and avoid waste.
As we’ll discuss in a follow-up post, meetings should have action items. When a decision is made that something needs to be accomplished, it’s easy for it to simply not happen if it isn’t assigned. Meeting minutes are the perfect place to record such assignments.
In this post, we’ve discussed several reasons meeting minutes are crucial to getting organizational work done efficiently. In a follow-up post, we’ll talk about what should be included in all of your company’s meeting minutes. Finally, we’ll take a look at some best practices for enforcing the use of meeting minutes in your organization.