The structure of meeting minutes varies with each organization and each group within an organization, but there are some general practices that help a reader understand meeting minutes. For example, minutes should contain a description of the group holding the meeting, the purpose of the meeting, attendees, records of votes and summaries of discussions. Sometimes the list of attendees will include people listed as observers.
What is an Observer?
Although the exact definition of an observer will depend on the group holding the meeting, a useful definition is a meeting observer is someone who is not officially part of the group holding the meeting. For example, if Accounts Receivable were to be holding a meeting and a representative from Information Technology (IT) attended, she would an observer.
What is the Purpose of a Meeting Observer?
The reason to call an observer into a meeting will depend on the group's goals. Some groups might need input from another department or group and the observer serves as a voice for this outside group. The observer might also be a trainee and attending the meeting to learn how to conduct a meeting and/or record meeting minutes. Additionally, the observer could be attending the meeting to report information back to his department on what took place in the meeting.
Do Observers Participate?
Some observers might just listen and take notes about the meeting, while others might play an active role in the meeting. In the later case, the observer is likely attending to provide a different perspective to the group or providing key information from another group or department. Even if the observer is watching the meeting to report back to another group she might ask clarifying questions to the group during the meeting.
How is an Observer's Participation Recorded?
If the observer does participate in the meeting, then his comments should be included in the meeting minutes. Meeting minutes record a summary of the conversation thus, the observer's comments should be included in the summary. However, keep in mind that the minutes are not a recording of the conversation, but a record of what was accomplished at the meeting. As such, every comment of an observer does not need to be recorded.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
How to Take Minutes at a Business Meeting
Whether it's an employee meeting or one that involves managers, employees, CEOs and investors, someone needs to be there to record the...
How to Write AGM Minutes
The annual general meeting (AGM) is a meeting with board members, shareholders, investors and senior management to review fiscal information and cover...
How to Write Board Meeting Minutes
During the course of a busy workday, it's easy for important details to get lost or forgotten. Careful recordkeeping is imperative --...
How to Write Minutes of Meetings
Minutes are a detailed record of a meeting. The minutes record topics of conversation, actions needed and decisions made. Minutes ensure that...
How to Keep Construction Meeting Minutes
Meeting minutes are formal, written summaries of discussions and decisions made in a meeting. They are legally required at board meetings, but...
Agenda Format Examples
Agendas are like high-octane fuel for meetings--they can greatly improve the efficiency and productivity of any decision process. One good agenda can...