For those who check in daily with us, and those who are just getting started: so far we’ve revealed the importance of ruthless timeliness, pre-meeting enforcement to cut off filibusters, and music for successful meetings.
Check, check, check, done.
Now we need to consider, who is the most important person in the room.
Is it the person who called the meeting?
Is it the person who determines the agenda?
Is it the facilitator?
Is it the person who says “Put your phone away”?
Is it the person who makes sure the PowerPoint projector is working?
Is it the timekeeper who ruthlessly lets everyone know, this meeting is over in 8 minutes no matter what?
No, no, no, no, no, no.
Actually, there are TWO most important people:
The One Who Serves The Drinks And The One Who Takes The Minutes
Most meetings only serve coffee and tea – some serve only ice water – but to be in charge of that is a privileged position.
You are pretty much guaranteed contact with every single person in the room. That, and you are the enforcer of the law of reciprocity.
Then, there’s the matter of who takes minutes.
This is a privileged position because you become the recorder, in effect the arbiter, of what happened.
You’re writing a summary, not a transcript. You have to (or should we say, GET TO) decide what makes it into the minutes as “important” and what gets left out as “extraneous”.
Weeks, months, and years from now, anyone looking back will look to your minutes as the official record. Your truth will carry the day. (See the power here?)
Rest assured, your minutes will be put to a vote at the beginning of the next meeting. But how often is there protracted debate about minutes? Usually, at most, someone will ask to include some minor thing you didn’t include, something everyone will agree belongs. So you add it.
But the substance – your substance – remains the same.
Give us the pitcher and the notepad now!