Governance

How to make your minutes reader-friendly

While the main requirement of minutes is that they are accurate and succinct, it is a very welcome bonus if they are also pleasant to read.

Let's look at a couple of ways in which you can make your minutes reader-friendly.

  1. Varying the verbs
  2. Varying the structure 

Varying the verbs

Minutes can be very tedious to read if the same verbs are used over and over again. Make a habit of looking for alternatives to the words which immediately spring to mind. For example, if you have already used "The Chair stated." you might later use "He/she pointed out that.."

Trying to widen your minute-writing vocabulary can also help to make the process of producing them more entertaining for you.

Here are a few verbs that you might find useful:

  • accepted
  • acknowledged
  • advised
  • agreed
  • argued
  • believed
  • commented
  • complained
  • considered
  • explained
  • expressed (the view that)
  • felt
  • informed
  • noted
  • objected
  • observed
  • outlined
  • pointed out
  • proposed
  • put forward (the view that)
  • reiterated
  • reminded
  • queried
  • questioned
  • rejected
  • reported
  • stated
  • summarised
  • suggested
  • supported
  • told
  • took the view that
  • voiced

Varying the structures

Your minutes will be more enjoyable to read if you vary the sentence structures used.

Here are a few examples of the many different ways in which you might introduce a sentence:

  • The Chair introduced the item by
  • While acknowledging the importance of. a member argued that
  • Given that the budget was very tight this year
  • Although the point made had some validity
  • After outlining the background to the item, the Chair
  • Summarising debate, the Chair made the following main points
  • Having outlined the rationale for the proposal, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor then
  • In response, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor explained
  • In answer to a query, the Dean stated
  • In reply, the Head of School summarised
  • Asked to explain the background, the Dean outlined

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