Business English: Making decisions
Business English: Making decisions

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Business English: Making decisions

2.3 Taking minutes

A record of a meeting is made by taking minutes. These are notes about what happened and a list of decisions taken.

Minutes are:

  • an official record of what happened at a meeting;

  • an official record of decisions taken;

  • an agreed version of the meeting;

  • information for people who did not attend the meeting;

  • a point of reference for people who have to take action as a result of the meeting;

  • a point of reference for future meetings.

The minutes should include:

  • the date and venue of the meeting;

  • the title of the meeting;

  • people attending;

  • a record of events which should follow the order of the agenda;

  • any future action and/or details of the next meeting;

  • a circulation list.

Notes

  • The style of minutes will vary according to the organisation. In some organisations a few notes may be enough; in others very detailed records are required.

  • Notice that indirect speech is generally preferred when writing minutes.

Activity 11

There are mistakes in the record of what the first five speakers said at the relocation meeting. Read the following extract from the draft minutes carefully then listen to the audio clip, making a note of any mistakes in them.

Click 'view document' to open the image for printing.

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Download this audio clip.Audio player: Extract 16
Skip transcript: Extract 16

Transcript: Extract 16

Heather Horner
Extract 16
The relocation is discussed at a staff meeting.
Katie Campbell (Chair)
Ok can we move on to Item 3 in the agenda: "Brainstorming". The idea is for you to give your opinions about the different options. Please say your name when you speak so we know who’s who. Yes?
Amanda Abington(Sara Ritchie)
Um. Sara Ritchie. W... well I think for most staff Milton Keynes is the best option. It's nearer to our homes. It’s got better transport links - and the choice of housing is greater. There's better housing in Milton Keynes than in Preston.
Veronika Hyks (Diana Lees)
My name’s Diana Lees, I'd like to point out the attractions of Lille. France offers significant financial advantages. Taxes are lower than in the UK, land and buildings are cheaper, and there's very generous financial assistance from the government. Financially speaking, Lille is a far more attractive option than either Milton Keynes or Preston.
Nigel Greaves (Jerome Griffin)
Jerome Griffin. I agree with Diana. The quality of life in Lille is much higher, and it's further from London than Milton Keynes - I don’t like London.
Charles Dale (Brian Jumla)
Brian Jumla. I'm afraid I can’t agree with Jerome. Moving to Lille is the most expensive and least convenient option. The UK options would mean less disruption.
Stuart Fox (Steve Vance)
Steve Vance from RELOC. What is very clear is that companies that take their staff to the new location do better than companies that recruit new staff. Initially, moving staff is more expensive than recruiting new staff. But local staff are not as highly trained as existing staff so in the long run moving with the staff is better.
Katie Campbell (Yasmin Lamak)
I'm Yasmin Lamak. If we move within Britain then I'm not sure that Preston will be cheaper than Milton Keynes. OK the houses are cheaper in Preston but the company will be further from its suppliers and customers.
Charles Dale (Fred Gooch)
Fred Gooch. We should decide which factors are most important. The staff are more important than the business. Secondly, relocation costs are the least important factor, they're costs for only a year or two. To me it's very clear, the best option for the staff is the best option for the company.
End transcript: Extract 16
Extract 16
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Answer

You should have found the following errors. The correct version is given in bold.

Activity 12

Complete the minutes including what Yasmin Lamak and Fred Gooch said. Listen to them in the following audio clip and take notes of what they say, then write a short paragraph for each of them. Remember to use indirect speech.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: Extract 16
Skip transcript: Extract 16

Transcript: Extract 16

Heather Horner
Extract 16
The relocation is discussed at a staff meeting.
Katie Campbell (Chair)
Ok can we move on to Item 3 in the agenda: "Brainstorming". The idea is for you to give your opinions about the different options. Please say your name when you speak so we know who’s who. Yes?
Amanda Abington(Sara Ritchie)
Um. Sara Ritchie. W... well I think for most staff Milton Keynes is the best option. It's nearer to our homes. It’s got better transport links - and the choice of housing is greater. There's better housing in Milton Keynes than in Preston.
Veronika Hyks (Diana Lees)
My name’s Diana Lees, I'd like to point out the attractions of Lille. France offers significant financial advantages. Taxes are lower than in the UK, land and buildings are cheaper, and there's very generous financial assistance from the government. Financially speaking, Lille is a far more attractive option than either Milton Keynes or Preston.
Nigel Greaves (Jerome Griffin)
Jerome Griffin. I agree with Diana. The quality of life in Lille is much higher, and it's further from London than Milton Keynes - I don’t like London.
Charles Dale (Brian Jumla)
Brian Jumla. I'm afraid I can’t agree with Jerome. Moving to Lille is the most expensive and least convenient option. The UK options would mean less disruption.
Stuart Fox (Steve Vance)
Steve Vance from RELOC. What is very clear is that companies that take their staff to the new location do better than companies that recruit new staff. Initially, moving staff is more expensive than recruiting new staff. But local staff are not as highly trained as existing staff so in the long run moving with the staff is better.
Katie Campbell (Yasmin Lamak)
I'm Yasmin Lamak. If we move within Britain then I'm not sure that Preston will be cheaper than Milton Keynes. OK the houses are cheaper in Preston but the company will be further from its suppliers and customers.
Charles Dale (Fred Gooch)
Fred Gooch. We should decide which factors are most important. The staff are more important than the business. Secondly, relocation costs are the least important factor, they're costs for only a year or two. To me it's very clear, the best option for the staff is the best option for the company.
End transcript: Extract 16
Extract 16
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Answer

Different ways of expressing what Yasmin and Fred said are given here. Compare what you have written to these versions. Pay particular attention to your use of verbs.

  • 3.7 Yasmin Lamak said that a move to Preston would/could be as expensive as a move to Milton Keynes. The houses were cheaper in Preston but the company would be further from its suppliers and customers.

  • 3.7 Yasmin Lamak said moving to Preston would/could be no cheaper than moving to Milton Keynes for the company. Though housing was cheaper in Preston the company would be further from its suppliers and customers.

  • 3.8 Fred Gooch said that the staff were more important than the business, relocation costs were the least important factor and that we should remember that the best option for the staff would be the best option for the company.

  • 3.8 Fred Gooch said that the staff were the main factor to consider. Relocation costs were not very important/were only short-term costs. What was best for the staff was also best for the company./The interests of the staff and the company were the same.

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