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My job role is no longer the same..advice please..

(24 Posts)
Enidd Mon 27-Feb-23 20:08:42

I work as a part time Administrative Assistant and recently our Office Manager has changed our role to include going into Meetings and taking the minutes.
I’ve never done this before (never wanted to either) but have been told basically to get on with it! There is another Team who already do this but they don’t stay long before moving on, thus creating backlog. I enjoy my job, or used to but now I’m worrying about how I will do this on top of my own work!

Why do companies do this? Has anyone else done this type of work before? How did you find it? Advice welcome.

Katie59 Mon 27-Feb-23 20:16:56

You write everything down that is said by each contributor in shorthand - abbreviations etc then write up a full report to give to your boss to OK.
It’s easiest if you have no interest in want they are saying otherwise you get sidetracked and loose concentration.

Look at a previous set of minutes to get the format.

Enidd Tue 28-Feb-23 07:29:03

Thanks for your reply Katie.

I am told I need to take a laptop in and type as they go along. I’m not looking forward to the content at all or indeed taking the minutes. I’m concerned I’ll be fast enough and can take the information in.

ParlorGames Tue 28-Feb-23 07:33:56


Thanks for your reply Katie.

I am told I need to take a laptop in and type as they go along. I’m not looking forward to the content at all or indeed taking the minutes. I’m concerned I’ll be fast enough and can take the information in.

Does the laptop have a recording app installed on it? If so, you could record the meeting whilst typing the 'conversation', then play it back and edit where you might have missed anything.

Riverwalk Tue 28-Feb-23 07:44:56


You write everything down that is said by each contributor in shorthand - abbreviations etc then write up a full report to give to your boss to OK.
It’s easiest if you have no interest in want they are saying otherwise you get sidetracked and loose concentration.

Look at a previous set of minutes to get the format.

Minutes are not everything said by each contributor!

The chair of the meeting is supposed to round off and summarise each subject/decision reached, that's what is minuted, then the meeting moves on to the next item.

Daisymae Tue 28-Feb-23 07:56:13

Really you only need to note the salient points. Not verbatim. Something like 'a discussion about the state of the tea room took place. Fred agreed to look into creating a rota by the end of the week.' So actions dates etc. Have a look at minutes of previous meetings to get a feel of things.

Riverwalk Tue 28-Feb-23 08:07:19

I like your example Daisymae grin

NotSpaghetti Tue 28-Feb-23 08:39:06

I liked taking minutes. It meant that all voices could be noted (obviously very briefly) in any contentious issue and felt like a real service to everyone there.

"The meeting decided that "x" was proportionate however a number of people were unhappy and would like to revisit this decision in 6 months."

I always made "actions" obvious and clearly noted the person taking the action. I wrote their name in bold as it's easy to skim meeting minutes afterwards that way.

Not saying my minutes were fantastic (and I never learned shorthand or had to type it there and then) but being a fair record of the meetings was important to me. I was genuinely quite passionate about the decisions being made. Perhaps that's why I felt it was important to note down outliers!

Yes, do look at how it's been done in the past.
Good luck. It's not scary. I have been to higher-level meetings where people have asked "please can you minute this as "y"" and some where the chair has read an item back or actually said "are we all happy if we minute this as x?" - everyone has an interest in accurate minutes and will want to help you if they can I'm sure.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 28-Feb-23 08:41:17

Spot on Daisymae. There is no need to record everything that is said.

Doodledog Tue 28-Feb-23 08:53:46

There is definitely no need to literally record it, and you could be in trouble for doing so without the consent of everyone there.

Also, if anyone agrees to do something (or is told do do it by a senior person) it’s helping to note Action Points. After the notes for the topic you could just put something like:
Action Doodledog - write report on gizmo production targets and circulate by 15 March.

That way everyone can see what is expected of them and the Action Points can be referred to at the beginning of the next meeting to ensure they have been completed.

Siope Tue 28-Feb-23 09:06:34

The actual Minute taking is one issue. The other, much more important, is discussing with your boss that this is an increase in your workload which needs a revision of your job description, and possibly a pay rise.

To add to what the others have said: do t be afraid to ask, during a meeting, what they want recorded or to say you missed something.

Don’t worry too much about typos and using abbreviations whilst taking the Minutes, as you can tidy them up afterwards.

Dizzyribs Tue 28-Feb-23 09:14:01

There are some excellent templates for typing minutes into available free on line. There may be a good one included in the office package you use anyway (e.g. Office Word has some useful ones) they tend to give you ready made table with space for who was invited / present / sent apologies etc, time of meeting and focus of meeting. (You can fill that bit in beforehand so you get the names right and just adjust which box they go in if they don't attend) It also has columns like "discussion" and "action" for you to summarise and show clearly who is going to be responsible for achieving the action.
Have a look and see if they suit your company format and could work for you. I find that they make it much easier for me, they just might work for you.

eazybee Tue 28-Feb-23 09:18:46

I agree with Siope about your job description and extra workload, and I would also ask if there is some training available. I take minutes for a small committee (voluntary) of which I am part, and with no secretarial training I find it hard to keep up with what is said and make my own contribution as well.

Enidd Tue 28-Feb-23 16:46:35

Ok. I’ve spoken again with the Manager who tells me she will arrange for me to ‘shadow’ in the meetings. I’m not relishing the idea but will certainly give it a go.
No, can’t record them as it’s not allowed.
Thanks everyone for your input.
I hope the minutes get easier for you easybee.

Jaxjacky Tue 28-Feb-23 17:00:28

Just make sure you note all attendees and apologies, check afterwards if not sure, I left someone out, just the once!
Get an agenda, it should help with headings.

62Granny Tue 28-Feb-23 17:06:02

This also happened to me while I was working in the NHS before I retired , I wasn't happy about either, I "took over " the role from others who were on a high grade than me, and was told it would work in my favour as I was trying to get my post re-graded in line with others doing the same job, it never happened at the time I seemed to accumulate a lot of this person job role , who knows what she ended up doing , she was very good at hiding that. I was glad when I went into hospital for an operation and ended up on long term sickness, (3 months) and it was passed onto another person who funny enough was also a higher grade than myself. I was sent on a course on how to do them but hated it everytime.

Nannarose Tue 28-Feb-23 17:11:39

Minutes are the one admin task I can do OK. Do not be afraid to 'interrupt' ie: ask 'can I clarify, was it Fred or Freda who is going to do the rota?'
I find that a few times of doing that makes all participants ensure that they are clear.
If, when writing up, you do need to check, then go to the Chair / Facilitator - don't just ask someone else (unless very minor ) as you might not get an unbiased answer!
Good luck - like NotSpaghetti, I like ensuring accuracy.
Your organisation will have a policy about how minutes are to be taken / circulated. I have only ever done this as a volunteer (albeit at quite important meetings) and I always circulate a 'draft' for comment. Some have a policy of sending a draft to the Chair to ensure accuracy.

NotTooOld Tue 28-Feb-23 17:12:33

There will be an agenda for the meeting, so look at that before you go in and it will give you some idea of what is to be covered and in what order. Look at minutes of previous meetings to learn the format required. You'll be fine. Good luck!

winterwhite Tue 28-Feb-23 17:23:14

An important function of the minutes is to tell those who weren't there what happened. Those who were there will/should take care to remember accurately the points that apply to them.
If there are 'actions' it should be the responsibility of the chair to make sure it's clear who's going to undertake them.

Madgran77 Tue 28-Feb-23 17:40:20

1. Ask if any training is available, even if only from tge team that already does this

2. Look at previous minutes to get a handle on requirements and style

2. Before the meeting set up the document with Agenda headings in place including sub headings if any under each section. This will help you to just focus on the discussion. If numbers/bullet points needed include first of those in each section so will be in sequence as you press enter for next one

3. Don't type verbatim

eg if Ben says "I think we need A and B if we are going to achieve C" you type - "Ben - A & B needed to achieve C"

Or if names not usually included you type " A&B needed to achieve C"

After the meeting you "tidy up" with any necessary additional words - and, the, suggested that etc but keep brief.

Good luck. I think it will be a bit daunting but will get easier for you, you will find

Palmtree Tue 28-Feb-23 18:35:31

Try not to worry. Just tell them it is your first time taking Minutes and be confident to interrupt if anything you don't understand and ask them to slow down if necessary. They will want the Minutes to be accurate so hopefully won't mind at all.
In my last job role my duties were always changing and I think that happens quite often. Sometimes it works to your advantage, sometimes not.

Nannarose Tue 28-Feb-23 22:07:07

I should add that I'm not sure why you have to type directly on to a laptop. I've observed a lot of meetings and note that some people really like to do this (usually the ones who can touch-type) but others, like me, are much more accurate with note-taking and typing up afterwards.
Would it be normal work practice to dictate how this is done? Shouldn't the person doing the task do it as they prefer?

notgran Wed 01-Mar-23 06:07:16

I hated being asked to take Minutes which in one instance was usually a job for whoever the Chairman appointed, at the start of the meeting. Basically I used to make a mess of them and laughingly was told I had made such a mess I would never be asked again. Result! It didn't hinder my career in any way. Also if ever asked/told to do the coffees for a meeting, they would be a mess, forgot the sugar, milk was off etc. Passive aggression always worked well for me in the workplace grin

biglouis Sun 19-Mar-23 13:05:04

Yes I was going to suggest doing it badly so that someone else it given the job. Men get off with their share of running a house by this means.

There were times in the past when someone went on maternity leave or long term sick. Instead of employing a replacement they would try to offload the work onto everyone else. I used to prioritise my own work and let the other person's pile up. I would naver have done unpaid overtime to get it done.

If there was an issue I just asled my manager which tasks I was to prioritise.