Minute taking courses, minute taking training, 15th year.

Atherton Training Consultants Ltd

Sixteen years of running courses on Minute Taking.
One-day courses, at your premises for groups of your delegates.


Full-day course at your premises. Up to 12 people. Public or private sector.

Email direct to Tony Atherton or phone 07976-390960


Minute Taking courses at your premises for up to 12 people.

Now in its 16th year, this one-day in-company course is run at your premises for up to twelve delegates. Minute taking can be tough and many people try to avoid what they see as a thankless task. However, minute taking can be made easier if you understand the processes involved and how to use them to help you.

Sorry - we do not run "Open" or "Public" courses. All our courses are for groups of people from the same organisation and are run at the client's premises.

COURSE AIM - Minute Taking Courses- Full day

To help delegates to take and write better minutes of meetings and to do so faster and more easily.

These minute taking courses cover the various styles of minutes, working with the Chair, your preparation, formatting the agenda, formatting the minutes, taking good (but not copious) notes, summarising, the two-column approach to note taking, and finally - turning the notes into clear and concise minutes. Lessons learned are applicable to most types of meetings.

These are popular courses in both the public and private sectors, and with both junior and more senior staff. Minute taking practice is built into the courses.

Organisational benefits of the Minute Taking courses include: better minutes - often shorter too, better communications and a saving in time and effort for Chairs and committee members as well as minute takers.


There is, the course is now in its 16th year. Tony presented his first course in Minute Taking on 16 November 1998 for a group of 11 delegates at Railtrack in Swindon. Since then he has run the course for housing associations, colleges, councils, social services, NHS Trusts, Oxfam, the Salvation Army, the Royal Free Hospital, the Open University, the Royal Veterinary College, the Insolvency Service, the Social Care Institute, Rutherford-Appleton Laboratories, Europol, the Greater London Council, and many others.

Although Tony now only presents this course on his own behalf, he has previously presented it many times on behalf of Reed Learning and Fielden-Cegos Ltd, two of Britain's largest training companies.


Please email or phone for a quote. Email direct to Tony Atherton or phone 07976-390960. Please note that we do not use any sales pressure.

COURSE CONTENT - Minute Taking Courses - Full day

  • Minute taking - writing minutes
  • Purpose of meetings and the purpose and styles of minutes
  • Determining how much detail is needed
  • Formats and content of the agenda
  • Formats and content of the minutes
  • How to prepare before taking minutes
  • Who is responsible for what?
  • Working with the Chair - getting his/her help with your minute taking
  • Listening skills
  • Improving note taking
  • Turning notes into minutes
  • Editing your draft minutes
  • Summary and action plans
  • I've been on three minute taking courses in the past and this is by far the best one; so many practical tips.
  • 100% score on their feedback forms.
  • Really useful course. Tutor was superb. Presentation, etc. clear and to the point. My attendance on this course will make life easier for me. Thank you Tony.
  • The session went really well and I have received some very positive feedback. Many thanks.
  • Thank you very much for conducting a really great course for us.
  • I really enjoyed the course and will be recommending it.
  • I attended your minute taking course at ... which I have to say was most informative, structured and interesting - thank you!
  • Just a quick thank you for sending us Tony Atherton for our staff training day yesterday (on minute taking)... everyone has commented on how useful it was.
  • An easy to listen to and plain talking trainer who made the training enjoyable.
  • Was dreading today, however I have gained a lot from this Taking Minutes course.
  • I have had very positive feedback from the attendees, who are now busy minuting all over the place!! Thank you for such a successful training exercise.

COURSE DESCRIPTION - Minute Taking courses


  • Your issues, your objectives for today.
  • The purpose of your meetings and your minutes.
  • How much detail is really needed in your minutes?
  • Who decides the level of detail?
  • What minute style is best for your meetings?


  • The purpose, content and structure of your agenda.
  • The terminology, what it means and how it should be used: Committee Business, Matters Arising, Any Other Business, etc.
  • Do previous minutes need to be approved?
  • Writing the agenda as a control tool for the Chair.
  • Structuring the agenda.
  • Levels of detail in agendas.


  • What goes where?
  • Making the minutes useful but easy to read.
  • More terminology such as Present, In attendance, Apologies, In hand, etc.
  • Coping with visitors, part-time attendance, etc.
  • IDDA - a simple formula for writing individual minutes.


  • You and the Chair - roles and responsibilities
  • What to do before, during and after the meeting.
  • Good preparation.
  • Choosing where to sit.
  • Working in partnership with the Chair.
  • If, how and when to interrupt.
  • Seeking clarification.
  • Building a working partnership.


  • Barriers to good listening. What gets in the way? Overcoming the barriers and distractions.
  • Tips for improving your listening when taking minutes.
  • Workable ideas for improving note taking.
  • Identifying key points.
  • Getting summaries.
  • Keeping up. Dealing with points you have missed.
  • Being selective, using the 80:20 rule.
  • Avoiding being the messenger as well as the minute taker.
  • Shorthand: useful or not?


  • Adapting a technique used by professional writers to make writing minutes easier and quicker.
  • Converting notes into the draft minutes - just one draft!
  • Editing the draft minutes into the final version.
  • General points on writing good business English.


  • Editing your minutes - spelling, paragraphs, sentences, words, active and passive verbs, etc.
  • Editing your minutes - punctuation issues.


  • Informative and entertaining practice sessions are built into the course using DVDs.

TRAINING STYLE Minute Taking Courses

The training style uses a mixture of talks, discussions, group work and individual work in a mix that is as appropriate as possible to the delegates. DVDs are used for practice. The actual course may differ slightly from the fine details above as the training is adjusted to match as accurately as possible the needs of the delegates. For this reason, we will discuss your priorities with you and build them into the day as best as possible. Delegates are often asked to help one another to achieve their action plans. Full course notes are provided which also serve as reference books for later. The normal maximum number of delegates is 12.

THE TRAINER Minute Taking Courses

Over 9000 delegates have attended Tony's courses on various topics. He has been presenting Minute Taking courses since 1998 and has helped many hundreds of delegates with taking minutes.

As a training consultant and published writer, Tony draws on a career in both the public and private sectors including employment in the Royal Navy, GEC-Marconi, the Independent Broadcasting Authority and the University of Hong Kong. For five years he was the Training Manager at NTL. Since 1997 he has been an independent trainer and writer. He has also inspected government-funded training on behalf of the Training Standards Council and the Adult Learning Inspectorate (now part of Ofsted). As a published writer he has four books and around 90 articles to his name.


The smallest number of delegates on our minute taking courses was at Mercury Health in Reading for just two delegates, although one for the Drugs and Homeless Initiative, a charity based in Bath, ran it very close with three delegates. Seven or eight are more normal numbers. At the other end of the spectrum was a contribution to an Away Day for the Worcestershire Schools Governor Services where we almost filled a ballroom with a bite-size fun-filled session on minute taking for 86 people.

Who are typical delegates? There are different types of "typical" delegates. Many are young people who have never taken minutes before and will be starting with team meetings. Others have some experience and take minutes at departmental meetings, governor meetings and even board meetings. Some take minutes at sensitive meetings such as in welfare services for vulnerable people or at disciplinary hearings. All usually have two things in common: they have a tough task to perform and have never had any training in minute taking. Even many experienced PAs have attended the course and benefit from it.

Most delegates learn a huge amount which they then apply at work. Possibly one of the hardest lessons to learn is that perfectly good minutes can be produced without scribbling down everything that is said at the meeting. The practice sessions, using carefully selected video sequences, are an important step in improving this skill. Another hard issue to cope with when minute taking is trying to prioritise what people are saying when you simply do not understand what they are talking about.

Why do a few experienced PAs come on the course? Usually they have taken minutes for years and the course is not aimed at them. So why attend? What they tell me is that minute taking is often a lonely discipline; maybe they will pick up a few tips. Usually they do but, most importantly, they get reassurance.

One of the most important learning areas of the course is the need to build a relationship between the Minute Taker and the Chair. A Chair who acts like the proverbial Victorian father, believing that minute takers should be seen and not heard, can be a nightmare to work with. In the best circumstances, the relationship is more like a partnership - how do we achieve that? A good chair is a great help to the minute taker, and vice versa. Being a good chair involves more than merely running the meeting.

All in all, these minute taking courses produce real benefits for the minute taker and for the organisation. It solves some problems and builds confidence. Chairs will need to give time to the minute taker but will ultimately save their own time and therefore the organisation's money. Generally, minutes will be shorter but better, more focussed on what really matters for that committee - thus saving time for committee members and for other users.

'Was dreading today, however I have gained a lot from this [minute taking course].'


Call 07976-390960
E-mail Tony Atherton



The Trainer


'You will be pleased to know your seminar on Minute Taking was well received and very helpful for those who attended. All the evaluations I received from the attendees have been very positive.'

A selection of our clients for various courses:


E-mail direct to Tony Atherton

Phone 07976-390960

Covers: United Kingdom


Minute taking courses: Updated 5 August 2014