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Your staff meeting is done.  Now it’s time to write up some minutes to keep for future reference, right?  WRONG!  Used correctly, meeting minutes should serve as an important tool that helps to provide organization, accountability, and recording of your practice’s collaboration process.  Use these quick tips to make sure your staff meetings are effective and impactful.

  1. Organize minutes into functional areas.  Meeting minutes are only as good as their ability to provide a succinct reference for you and your staff.  Organize minutes into functional areas such as Finance, Marketing, Operations, and Human Resources, in order to make finding relevant ideas and concepts easy.
  2. Store minutes electronically to allow them to be searchable.  Can’t remember the exact meeting where the concept for a new balance program was discussed?  Storing your minutes electronically (.PDF format recommended) will allow you to quickly search your computer or server for keywords such as “balance program” to get to the concept quickly.
  3. Always assign action steps and due dates.  Discussion of business matters usually revolves around some specific change or improvement that needs to be made to improve the practice.  Assigning a specific person to be accountable to each improvement item will infuse accountability into the meeting process, allowing your practice to make purposeful strides each meeting.
  4. Use a parking lot for future items.  Every have an idea come up during a meeting that can’t be addressed immediately, but could be important for future consideration?  Include a “parking lot” section of your minutes for topics such as this that will allow you to revisit important ideas when the time is right.

Making your meetings meaningful requires that the documentation of minutes are organized, readily available, and provide accountability to those responsible for making changes within your practice.  Implement these meeting minutes tips today, and see how quickly you can affect change within your practice.

An edited version of this article was published in the May 2012 issue of Impact, a publication of the Private Practice Section, APTA.