Words, they can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Some of us find it easy to put sentences and words together others have a hard time communicating. Why? For the first time the other day at work I was ‘forced’ to take minutes for a meeting as my colleague, that was meant to, was suddenly taken ill. I was terrified! I was thinking what points do I note down, how will I remember who said what? And the list goes on! I was literally having a meltdown!
Now, I love to communicate and I love writing, but it has nearly always been in response to clients at work, personal business letters and my inner thoughts and feelings. No problem there at all! I can be extremely articulate in those specific instances. But the thought of ‘making notes’ during a meeting, where sometimes, you have more than one person talking at a time, and trying to remember which person said what, and was that an important comment that needs to be noted and I miss it. Arrrgh!! The time came, I dialled in, oh yes, did I mention that the meeting was at our Head Office in another part of the UK! So, I wasn’t even in the room with the other participants! All members introduced themselves, noted. One member went over what they had done since the last meeting, noted. I started to think, this is not too bad, smiling to myself and feeling very slightly confident.
Then the meeting really starts to pick up. My smile and what little confidence I was gaining, slowly started to dwindle away. Everyone started making comments, I wasn’t sure who it was that was talking, was I supposed to make a note of all comments made by everyone? I was so busy TRYING to write EVERYTHING down, I didn’t really partake in the meeting (didn’t feel as though I was able to offer much input). I was listening but not listening, if that makes sense? Trying too hard to make sure I captured everything.
The next step was writing it up and making sure it made sense. I looked at the last minutes written by another colleague to see what comments were captured, (which in hindsight, I probably could have done before the meeting, coulda, woulda, shoulda, as the saying goes). With trepidation I followed my notes and wrote the minutes. I read them over and over again, in fact, I am ashamed to say, I read them over for 2 days before I had the courage to send them over to the relevant participants (normally the minutes should be sent directly after the meeting!).
I read them one last time pressed sent and off it went. I waited for a response, waited and waited. Not sure if I was waiting for someone to respond saying, ‘you did not capture all the relevant points’ or that was fantastic, well done!’ I eventually did receive a response from one of the team, who said thanks. I replied and ‘fessed’ up to her that this was completely out of my comfort zone. She reassured they were fine and that minute taking was also an issue for her! Really??? So it’s not just me then??
Sharing – Tell us about a time when you had to write something that has put dread in you and the outcome, good or bad. Any special techniques you used to get you started/motivated. Did you learn anything after completing the task that you feel may help anyone else that faces this dilemma?