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Business English: Making decisions
Business English: Making decisions

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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.

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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.

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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.