Distributing & Revising the Minutes
Within a week after the meeting has ended (depending on how quickly future meetings are scheduled), the secretary typically distributes the meeting minutes with a request for feedback regarding missing or inaccurate items. The secretary would wait a period of time after the first distribution to receive and add changes before distributing a final copy of the minutes.
Meeting minutes can be kept on an organization's wiki. Many wiki-based software products allow user controls to limit who can see, edit or create pages. As a result, the secretary could create a page for the minutes and edit these minutes as per feedback comments received.
Other methods of distributing minutes include:
- On paper, such as a bulletin board that all meeting participants have access to.
- On paper, delivered to each meeting participant individually.
- On a wiki with limited scope (such as a wiki only employees can see, or a wiki accessible only by certain members of an organization), with only the secretary capable of making edits.
- On a wiki, with everyone able to edit the minutes.
- On a static web-page, where only the secretary has the ability to edit.
- By email. Here a secretary may request that all updates be made directly to him or her, rather than to the group as a whole. Alternatively, every modification might be emailed to every participant (not recommended - email threads can quickly become split if many people reply to everyone)
Identifying any outstanding issues
Within the minutes, outstanding issues are typically identified. To ensure that these are dealt with accordingly, it might be prudent to split these into action items for follow-up, or to include these issues in a future meeting. While it's still a good idea to mention these items in the minutes, if they are to be assigned to someone specific as an action item, it is also good to re-iterate these tasks separately.
Identifying action items and their owners
From the minutes, there are typically action items - tasks that need to be followed-up on - that need to be assigned to specific individuals. It is the responsibility of the secretary (or a pre-identified representative) to notify these individuals - either individually (if practical) or en mass - of their specific tasks. Doing so ensures that everyone is aware of her or her responsibilities and expectations.
If tasks need to be completed, but no one was clearly assigned the task, the secretary and chairman should work with the meeting participants to determine who should take responsibility for a task. The secretary or chairman are not necessarily the de facto owners of these remaining tasks. Delegation may be required to insure that outstanding action items are taken care of.
Thanking special guests
Where appropriate, after the meeting a special guest presenter should be thanked with relevant note or thank-you gift. In the event that a guest is paid after attending the meeting, it is appropriate to split up the payment and the thanks. That is, the guest should be paid as agreed upon, and a thank-you card/gift should be sent in a separate package or given in person at a different time. This shows the guest that his or her contribution was appreciated and not just an after-thought borne out of obligation.
Arranging future meetings
While this meeting is still fresh in everyone's mind, it is a good idea to work out a scheduled time for any future meeting, even if it is not until several months in advance. Doing so gives everyone a clear time-frame for their action items.