The pressures of scribing and minute-taking

Scribing and minute-taking – that is, scribing what people are saying while they’re saying it – is not always a high-pressure role. For example, scribing your netball club’s minutes is not very difficult. But scribing an executive level meeting involving complex subjects and involving people who speak very quickly can place the scribe under a lot of pressure.

The main pressures of scribing or minute-taking are below.

1. The pressure of having to keep going, no matter what

You must continue to type what people are saying, as they say it, even though you know you’re making a lot of minor mistakes and missing some words along the way. This is the only way to work well under the pressure of scribing. Later, when rewriting or editing  your draft, you’ll need to use your memory as well as your notes to work out exactly what was said, or meant, and produce a report that reflects that.

2. The pressure of scribing when you don’t understand what is being said

You have to know which words and parts of the  meeting are the important parts that must be scribed, and which parts are less important. However, if the topic of the  meeting is outside your experience or you have not researched the topic prior to the meeting, you may not understand what’s going on at the meeting. This makes it very difficult to know what is important and what is not, and to replicate or summarise the most important information as you type.  If you don’t understand the subject, don’t stress. Just type what’s being said as well as you can. Afterwards, you’ll need to do some research to gain a better understanding of what you have scribed. You can then look at your draft minutes armed with  that knowledge, work out what the speakers meant by what they said, and edit the minutes or report accordingly.

3. The pressure of having to be accurate as well as very fast

Whilst your first draft of a meeting, interview, workshop or seminar doesn’t need to be highly accurate, it has to be accurate enough for you to rewrite/edit it as an accurate representation or summary of the event. This can be difficult when you have been scribing for two hours already and people are speaking very quickly. But it is necessary.  Even for the fastest typists, the pressure of having to get all the important words down in real time can be intense. This is one of the pressures of being a scribe there is no way around, except that generally speaking, the faster you can type, the less pressure you will be under when scribing.

Other information about scribing and  minute-taking

How to prepare before minute-taking a meeting

The skills you need to be an accurate scribe

Why pianists make good scribes and minute-takers

How to learn to become an on-site scribe

Proofread by Dee Sansom, On Time Typing

Image: Thank you to WOCinTechChat for permission to use this image.

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