The taking of minutes always seems to be such a chore that there is almost a palpable sense of relief when one finds out that it is not his turn to take the minutes for a particular meeting.
While it may be possible for some meetings to have a minute taking schedule to allow rotation of people jotting the minutes, it may not be possible for some project meetings which are small or where the project manager (PM) is actually the lowest-ranked in the corporate hierarchy amongst the attendees — which means that the PM always ends up as the one taking the minutes.
I find this practise to be quite ineffective as it is difficult to be paying attention and being active in the discussion whilst jotting down notes for the meeting at the same time. Some of my colleagues have resorted to voice recording the meeting proceedings in order to participate actively in the discussions and write the minutes at a later time. However this also does not make good use of the PM’s time.
In the ideal situation, there will be a Project Coordinator who will be able to assist the PM in such administrative tasks so that the PM can focus on actual project tasks, but that may be an impractical request in the current cost-cutting world.
My approach to this problem is to use a mind-mapping tool like Freemind to record the minutes so I can easily group the topics of discussion in a quick fashion and flesh out the meeting minutes at a later point in time. I can even send out the mindmaps as meeting notes if the attendees are receptive to it. In fact, some of the attendees have even approached me to find out how to use mind mapping tools as they have seen how effective it can be for note taking!