Correct English Usage When Writing Minutes
Writing minutes is a staple job for secretaries.
When I studied in secondary school and in university, I was often appointed as the secretary and I also found that secretaries can be rotated for certain tasks in some companies. It is therefore important to brush up on your English Language to make sure that the correct information is recorded. Who knows, you could be the next secretary!
Among the things a secretary should take note on are:
1. Be specific
- To avoid confusion
- To minimize possible reputation risk, operational risk and litigation risk.
2. Correct vocabulary
- The wrong word could come with a hefty price to pay.
- Certain companies/corporations will use specific words so be aware!
3. Correct sentence structure
- Take a look at this example:
The manual has been approved. As to date, the manual is under review.
The problem with the above sentence is that the reader will be confused as to whether the manual has been approved or not. Perhaps, the manual has been previously approved, but the recent changes done to the manual is under review. So there were some missing words in the sentence.
Other than that, a correct sentence structure also means applying the correct grammatical rules. A written official document isn't like your everyday conversation. Therefore, you shouldn't write minutes like it is a conversation. You are essentially conveying, informing others what happened during the meeting.
As Rossenwasser & Stephen (2009) has said, "Correctness matters deeply because your prose may be unreadable without it. If your prose is ungrammattical, not only do you risk incoherence (in which case your readers will not be able to follow what you are saying) but also you inadvertently invite readers to dismiss you."
4. No direct translations of Malay to English!
- In fact, this applies to everything. I'll give two examples:
1. Dilampirkan di sini, minit mesyuarat pada 15 Oktober 2017.
(Attached herewith is the minutes meeting on 15 October 2017)
2. Borang ini wajib dihantar selewat-lewatnya 21 Mei 2017.
(This form must be sent latest by 21 May 2017)
The correct sentences are:
1. Attached is the 15 October 2017 meeting minutes.
2. This form must be submitted by 21 May 2017.
I certainly hope this helps you in writing minutes!