Difference Between Minute Taking and Note Taking

There are several differences between Minutes, Note Taking and Audio Transcription.

Note-taking at a meeting is a completely different task than minute taking. Note-taking tends to be for personal reference, while minutes are for official record-keeping purposes.

Minutes may take shape as a list of actions, a narrative of discussions, or a verbatim record of the proceedings. It purely depends on the requirements of the meeting and details that are required to be recorded.

The real difference between meeting minutes and meeting notes is how they’re used in relation to the meeting. Meeting minutes typically connotate a more formal report of the meeting whereas meeting notes tend to refer to shorter, less formal documentation. Either way, the intent is still the same: to document what you discussed.

Minutes

Good minutes are vital to the success of any meeting. After the meeting, attendees should be able to verify what decisions were made and what actions are to be taken

Minutes are more formal in content and structure and detail.

The Minute takers job is to sort through what is being said and to record the important decisions and actions in the minutes. Good minutes will follow the order of the agenda.

Minutes serve to record what happened in a meeting. Opinion and speculation do not belong in the minutes of a meeting.

People don’t need to know the lengthy he said/she said details. But they must capture the rationale for important decisions.

When minute taking you will find the minutes identify actions, discussions and decisions and will state a person or persons accountable or responsible for different agreed actions, which is important for the context of the meeting.

Minutes provide the context that would not normally be captured from notes being taken. Minutes ensure that what is recorded can still be understood easily at any point in the future, so they will be more thorough and provide more information to ensure that what is written can still be actioned at a future date, or by someone who was not at the meeting. know the rationale for a decision.

Meeting minutes become part of a company’s official record, so they should be formatted the same each time. This not only creates a more cohesive look but also makes it easier to locate points during the meeting from each set of minutes. Minutes, unlike notes, must always be approved at the start of the next meeting, to ensure agreement of the record.

Detailed minutes are the only format that is accepted in situations such as board-level meetings, charitable committee meetings and HR meetings. Meetings, where the records become legal or obligatory record, must be formal and detailed and therefore, only through minute taking is sufficient, notes would not be considered acceptable. Minutes are always formally approved and signed off and become a permanent record.

Note Taking

Meeting minutes become part of a company’s official record, so they should be formatted the same each time. This not only creates a more cohesive look but also makes it easier to locate points during the meeting from each set of minutes. Minutes, unlike notes, must always be approved at the start of the next meeting, to ensure agreement of the record.

Detailed minutes are the only format that are accepted in situations such as board-level meetings, charitable committee meetings and HR meetings. Meetings, where the records become a legal or obligatory record, must be formal and detailed and therefore, only through minute taking is sufficient, notes would not be considered acceptable. Minutes are always formally approved and signed off and become a permanent record.

Also, Note-taking, would not capture people by name, or capture accountability or names related to actions, they are just a record of an action completed or something someone needs to take forward after the meeting.

The difference to be aware of is that minutes are always approved by the chair of the meeting and approved before the next meeting and are then presented to the attendees and any other stakeholder whereas notes are informal and would not have the same check or approval process required. Therefore, impartiality can be put into question and you would not normally expect a person to share their notes with other people as they are a personal record and observation.

Audio Transcription

Audio transcription allows for a full verbatim based record which is typed. However, there is no summarising of the grouping of the discussion as it’s a pure direct typed transcription from an audio recording, normally undertaken by an outsourced Audio transcription service.

This means that the person will be presented with a typed document that will have long paragraphs of text, but the formatting is likely to be purely sentences and paragraphs unless it is dictation and the person recording the audio clarifies. This is not a standard approach for general business or organisational meetings, however, they do remain very beneficial for conversational situations where every detail must be documented, such as HR meetings, marketing research activities such as workshop feedback groups.

Audio transcription is a notation or record of an audio recording of one or more human voices speaking or communicating with each other.

A slight difference to audio transcription is dictation. This is the transcription of a single human voice is usually described as ‘dictation’, which is where one person’s voice is recorded.

Audio transcription is the typing up of multiple people conversing together, such as a ‘focus group’, ‘workshops’ or during a meeting.

The audio typist is not in attendance at the meeting, workshop or event and therefore, they will not know the names of the attendees to distinguish between different voices. Therefore, audio transcription can be a difficult record to use for referring back to meetings, as no names, accountability or actions can be assigned. It will be a verbatim record unless everyone in the meeting announces themselves before they speak, which is rarely the case.

Discussions will not be typed up in a grouped manner or by topics as this is not possible to decipher. The transcription will be direct typed record of the conversations and therefore when referring to the document it will provide an identical verbatim record of what was said and therefore hard to follow if conversations went off in different directions and jumped around, they can be harder to identify key topics of discussion unless they are for a detailed verbatim conversational record.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you call them meeting/discussion minutes or notes, it’s important to keep a running record of the meetings you’re having. It will help keep individuals accountable, align the team or business on goals and keep your meetings organized and productive.

A key thing to consider when deciding which method is most suitable minute taking, note-taking or audio transcription for your business or situation is to ensure you understand what type of record you want to produce. Minute taking is best for recording your discussions, meeting in a formal and structured environment and are easy to refer back to format. Whereas notes are an informal summary that would not normally record actions and accountable to be shared. Then finally if you wanted a verbatim style to ensure every word was captured then audio transcription would be ideal, however, this creates a very long document and again with no clear format or grouping of topics or discussions which can create a less constructive and user-friendly document.

If you would like to find out more about any of the above meeting support services or audio transcription, then please feel free to contact us at Oasis Minute Taking Ltd. We are able to provide services for all of the above, either in person or virtually.

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