Understanding what is being said, what is really being said, and what is not being said – a minute writer must have many skills!

The purpose of the minutes is to provide an accurate, impartial and balanced record of the business transacted at a meeting. But how do you write meeting minutes that capture key points and actions without getting lost in details or missing critical information? 

Drafting minutes requires a professional approach and knowledge, and the minute writer should be diligent and discrete. Effective minute-taking also requires personal, interpersonal and administrative skills.

Professional and knowledgeable

The minutes should be an accurate and truthful summary of the meeting. That said, the minutes should be neither a verbatim transcript nor a bare-bones outline. The length of any specific item in the minutes should reflect the relative importance of that item to the meeting agenda.  

It is very difficult to draft minutes if you do not understand the topic being discussed. The discussion will be fast-paced, and participants will use jargon, abbreviations, and terms that, if you are unfamiliar with the topic, are difficult to understand. Statutory or legal references may only include the article number, but you should cite the full reference in the minutes. For context, you should also provide the background that attendees reference in their fast-paced conversations.

Personal and interpersonal skills

When it comes to interpersonal communication, impressions are formed in three different ways, and each of them is crucial in understanding the message.

  • Verbally (what’s being said) – vital aspects of the minutes can be lost if you don’t understand the technical terms used by the participants. To rephrase what is being said in “technical minute language”, you must also understand the meaning.
  • Vocally (how it is said) – understanding the meaning of what is being said and reading between the lines will help you understand what was meant.
  • Visually (the body language when it is said) – you can miss critical signs if you are too focused on your notes.

Listening is naturally very important for effective minute-taking. This requires deep concentration to cut out distracting thoughts or sounds. It is essential that minute takers have the ability to truly ‘listen’ to what is being said instead of merely ‘hearing’ it. In addition to listening, one must be able to understand what is being said.

The minute writer must summarise the key points of the discussion and the actions that were agreed to. It is also important to listen to what is not being said.

Active listening is important as it helps you retain and remember information.

Empathy is also incredibly valuable. Understanding why someone says what they say, and seeing things from their perspective, will enable you to translate and summarise their remarks in the minutes.

Auditory Memory Skills

It is important to be able to type what has been said while simultaneously listening to the next thing being said because you will need to take notes of what is said throughout the meeting. Once that has been typed, you should listen to the next statement while typing the last statement you heard a moment ago. As a result, your notes are always playing catch-up with the conversation.


By taking a step back and listening in a block, we can reduce the amount of writing we do in meetings. For a bit, stop writing and actually listen to what’s being said. Whenever you feel you have sufficient information or can understand what is being said, write down what the speaker is conveying.

How Virteffic can help your business

Virteffic Limited is an independent, privately owned business in the Channel Islands that provides secretarial support and administration services. Our virtual assistants specialise in drafting minutes, preparing board packs, and day-to-day administration services. The team consist of experienced, qualified professionals with hard-to-find skills and long experience in the regulated financial industry. We pride ourselves on being flexible, efficient, diligent, knowledgeable and discrete. 

Simply put, we help businesses and charities by doing tasks they don’t know how to do, are too busy to do, don’t want to do, or that would be better outsourced.

We have become a trusted support firm that assists businesses of all sizes, including many of the larger regulated firms (funds and trust companies, wealth advisors and insurance companies), non-profit organisations, and charities. Our clients are based in Jersey and Guernsey, the Cayman Islands, and the UK.

How does it work?

Virteffic can assist as an extension to your on-site employees.  Or as an alternate, more flexible solution to hiring a permanent administrator or secretarial officer. Using a virtual assistant means lower operational costs without compromising the quality of service. Our virtual assistants act efficiently and professionally with the utmost confidentiality, sometimes eliminating the need for staff members altogether. Virteffic is invested in every client that is taken on, and we will always do our utmost to deliver excellent services.

Our team can work securely in our Cyber Essentials validated secure Microsoft Office environment. Alternatively, you can give us access to your software technology (Citrix, Microsoft Office, VDI or another solution), allowing us to integrate seamlessly with your personnel and systems.

We will simply raise an invoice based on the agreed fee once the services have been performed or raise monthly invoices for longer engagements. As a virtual assistant is not an employee, there will be no additional charges that would be payable if you hired an administrator or secretarial officer. Virteffic is transparent with its pricing and fees, and a detailed timesheet is always provided with the invoice.

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Visit the news and insights page on our website to discover what is new at Virteffic and learn more about our team and the services we provide. We also share our thoughts, tips and tricks with regard to minutes, meetings and corporate governance.

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