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A Secretaries’ Guide to Meetings and Minute Taking Short Course

Unit Standard

13934 (4 credits) in the Business Administration Level 3 Qualification


1 day


Classroom or Online


If you work as a secretary, administrator, PA, executive assistant or office manager, you will undoubtedly be involved in all aspects of meetings management. Not only are you required to organise meetings, but you are also expected to be present, take notes, summarise action points and distribute comprehensive, accurate minutes.

This intensive 1-day Secretary’s Guide to Meetings and Minute Taking course will demonstrate the best way to arrange a meeting, from making physical arrangements and preparing the agenda, to confirming attendees and seamlessly moving in

You will undertake practical exercises on taking comprehensive notes and discuss techniques for turning these notes into clear, concise and accurate minutes that clearly identify actions and responsibilities.


  • Understanding the most commonly used meeting terminology and jargon
  • Understanding various types of meetings and the roles and objectives of the people who attend them so that you can prepare the right type of minutes
  • Differentiating between your activities at a formal versus an informal meeting
  • A checklist of the key things to arrange before, during and after a meeting
  • Knowing how a basic meeting should run, and how it achieves its objectives
  • Appreciating the objectives of the “Notice of a Meeting”, writing an effective Notice and gaining guidelines for distributing
  • Notices of Meetings
  • Understanding how to prepare a meeting agenda and how to compile and distribute effective agendas
  • Becoming familiar with various types of minutes and practicing effective minute taking techniques during a structured role-play situation
  • Gaining more advanced minute taking skills using an unstructured role-play exercise
  • Being familiar with the workings of formal meetings, such as Annual General Meetings, and the role of a Secretary at these meetings


This course is essential for Secretaries and PAs who are responsible for formal meetings management and would like to become more effective in all areas of arranging meetings and taking minutes.


Understanding the Role of Meetings

  • Discovering what constitutes a meeting, and what it should achieve
  • Identifying the different types of meetings: Committee, AGM, Working group, Informal meetings
  • Familiarising yourself with the language of meetings
  • Defining your role in a meeting

Organising Effective and Productive Meetings

  • Compiling and sending out the notice of a meeting
       – Keeping it short, simple and to the point
       – Distributing notices  who should get a copy
       – Suggestions for more productive meetings
  • Designing a comprehensive checklist of arrangements that need to be made
  • Discovering what you should take with you, and where you should sit

Preparing a Working Agenda

  • Understanding the objective of an agenda
  • Standard sections that need to be included
  • Using headings that get people to think and prepare for the topic
  • Knowing when to attach information to the agenda
  • Utilising agenda formats available in MS Word

The Procedures During a Meeting

  • Checking attendance
  • Reading previous minutes etc.
  • Motions, discussions and agenda points
  • Calling in guests or specialists
  • Brainstorming and idea generation
  • Voting and decision making
  • Summarising and setting future dates

Identifying the Type of Minutes, you are Expected to Take

  • Verbatim minutes  copy of a speech
  • Resolution minutes  formal type meetings
  • Narrative minutes  telling the story of the meeting
  • Action minutes  for working groups etc.
  • Techniques and templates for these types of minutes

The Secret to Good Minute Taking

  • Understanding the relevance and use of minutes
  • Methods of preparing yourself to understand what will be said
  • Getting acquainted with terms likely to be used
  • Concentrating on what is being said / discussed and agreed upon
  • Picking out the main ideas, points and actions
  • Discovering the vital do’s and don’ts when taking minutes
  • Mastering the summarising skills essential to minute taking
  • Knowing when and how to interrupt to clarify information you are unsure of

Techniques for Writing up Minutes

  • Looking at the different minutes format options you can use
  • Tips for making your minutes “reader friendly”
  • “Summarising your summary” to keep the minutes to the point
  • Utilising the correct tenses for reported speech
  • Options for highlighting action points
  • Calm, clear and quick  typing and distributing the minutes efficiently

A Secretary’s Responsibility of Formal Meetings

  • Identifying the types of meetings that must be run formally
  • Understanding the rules and regulations governing formal meetings
  • Knowing and supporting the roles of key stakeholders at a formal meeting
  • Reading minutes and recording those present
  • Recording resolutions and voting results