25 April 2017

Looking the Part

I attended an event today on minute taking.  Our organization set it up for Admin Professionals' Week.  Unfortunately, my first impression of the speaker was not very good because she was dressed down and looked rather frumpy.  I don't believe in judging a book by its cover, but I was amazed at how easily my mind went there and how I equated how she looked to what she had to say. 

I was happy that my first impression had been wrong.  The presentation had all the key aspects of basic minute taking, and because that was her audience, it was helpful and informative to the group.  I appreciated the work the speaker had put into the presentation and the fact she made herself available to our group.  She was however a paid speaker so I would have expected more. 

This incident today just reinforced to me again that whether we like it or not, how we present ourselves really does make a difference in how we are received.  We only have a few seconds to make a good first impression and whether we are speaking or going to a job interview, we should make it count, because it really does matter.

That is why I appreciate the charity Dress for Success.  Donations of business clothes are collected for people who are going on an interview or just starting a new job and otherwise couldn't afford clothes for the office.  It can make all the difference before you get your first pay cheque.

This Administrative Professionals' week, if you are able, why not consider donating to this worthy cause.  Or if you are in need, look them up in your city and take advantage of this very needed support.

Happy Admin Professionals' week everyone!

27 February 2017

Reading Other People's Minutes

It is important to read other people's minutes.  Especially from meetings that your boss may have something to do with.  It can be beneficial for a number of reasons:
  • It will give you a broader idea of what your boss is involved in and will help you assist him or her better;
  • It will help you understand the business better, which will help you in taking your own minutes;
  • It can give you pointers are how to minute better by looking at how they worded a sentence or handled a discussion.  You can use some of the words they used.  Whenever I learn a new word or phrase, I add it to my list and if I'm ever stuck, I go back to the list and choose something appropriate;
  • It will also give you good tips on what not to do.  Many times I have read minutes and there was a lot of he said/she said in it, or it was so point form it didn't make a lot of sense.  Looking at it as an outsider helped me to see how that was not the best way to record minutes.

23 January 2017

Annotated Agenda


It is very useful to prepare an annotated agenda when going into a meeting.  For those who have never used one (or heard of it), it is simply an agenda with notes on it.  For the agenda that I send to the meeting participants, I annotate it to let them know why an item is on the agenda or if there are any attachments.  In my example below you will see that I put brackets around the notes and italicize them.

 
Call to Order:
1.  Adoption of Agenda (Motion Required)
2.  Approval of Previous Minutes of December 25, 2016 (Attached) (Motion Required)
3.  ABC Matter (Deferred from November meeting) (For Discussion)
4.  Staff Communications (15 minutes to discuss any concerns from staff)

For the agenda for the Chair and myself, I prepare it as above, but with cheat notes so he will not forget some points he wants to make or that I want to remind him to bring up.  My new boss had never used an annotated agenda before so when I started using it he kept telling me how useful it was.  You will see in my example below that I use red font, but you can use any colour that stands out or highlight it in yellow.  Whatever works for you and the Chair.

Call to Order:
-  Remind them about the upcoming retreat on Feb. 10. 
- Finance Committee signed off on budget.
- Mr. Roberts will be the new Co-Chair of the Finance Committee (Mr. Brown is stepping down as Co-Chair of this Committee as of January 26, 2017).
1.  Adoption of Agenda (Motion Required)  
2.  Approval of Previous Minutes of December 25, 2016 (Attached) (Motion Required)
3.  ABC Matter (Deferred from November meeting) (For Discussion)
4.  Staff Communications (15 minutes to discuss any concerns from staff)
- Dress code
- Opening of new staff parking lot

I highlight it if a motion is required, just so he doesn't forget.  Some Chairs are good at that, while others are not, so it will depend on the Chair you are working with, but it doesn't hurt.

My boss will tell me things he wants on the annotated agenda throughout the weeks and days leading up to the meeting.  The day before the meeting I then print the Chair's annotated agenda and take a copy with me as well. 

The annotated agenda is also helpful for me to refer to when I am typing up the minutes.  Since I know what he is planning to talk about, I am one step ahead of the game when I draft the minutes.