Admittedly, this routine won’t have the entertainment factor of a Glastonbury headline act, the intensity to rival Jack Nicholson on the set of The Shining or the awe inspiring dedication of healthcare workers throughout every single day of this pandemic. However, you could take it as a small plea for all the small jobs that keep the world going while others focus on saving it or trying to put a long awaited smile on our faces. Neither of those things are necessarily on your mind as you eat your cereal and get in your car (or sit at your desk, depending in what stage of lockdown you’re reading this) to head wherever the day takes you, but whether it’s to a Board meeting or a Child Protection meeting, you still hold some hope that you can play a small part in improving someone’s life or at least their day.
While no two jobs are exactly the same, the best part in all of them is the people waiting for you in whatever office, community centre or (significantly less exciting) Zoom meeting room that you’re needed in. Most are happy to get the extra help and have one less thing to stress about, while a few are understandably nervous about the extra set of ears clinging to their every word, but everyone is ultimately content to have an unbiased outlet for their message. There aren’t many other jobs where blending in the background means you’re doing a good job, but human interaction is still important in Minute Taking. Sometimes you know exactly what you have to do, but sometimes you have questions and that’s always okay because like most other jobs, it’s a collaboration and you need to make sure you offer people exactly what they need, or as close as it gets to that.
Beyond the obvious accuracy that you need to maintain when taking Minutes of any meeting, there’s also tone and context that impacts on the end result. At times you record people at their most honest or emotional and that raw reaction can be a challenge to convey in text. You also need to read the room and find the right time to interject without breaking the flow of the conversation. Sometimes the people reading your Minutes are not the same as the ones who contributed to them and you need to make sure it’s clear enough for everyone, with no dreaded acronyms or abbreviations. All of that goes through your mind at 100 miles per hour while you’re trying to keep up with the discussion at over 70 words per minute. Sweet relief comes when the meeting draws to an end and you wrap things up with any final questions and more or less paperwork to do.
You make your way back home (or to the next client) via Greggs and hope that your memory won’t fail you within the next three or so working days, so you can make any necessary amendments or clarifications until you are confident enough to hand in your final draft. There are no fireworks or confetti when you click “Send” and barely any sprinkles on your triple chocolate doughnut, but you can go to bed hoping you played your small part in making people’s voices heard.
Minute Taker for SHL Minutes Limited