Are a set of Minutes always enough?

Can you prove exactly what was said at a later date?

For some interviews or meetings, taking notes to turn into a set of Minutes is fine, however, there are certain times when having an audio (or video) recording would be far more beneficial.

A set of Minutes rely on the note-taker’s accuracy and memory of the meeting. Also, Minutes don’t always convey exactly what was said by a person, nor how they said it.

So, recording and a getting a transcript of that recording, ensures accuracy. Should the need arise, it can be used to ascertain exactly who said what and how it was said.

The main types of interviews to consider recording are:
  • Work/performance related meetings
  • Disciplinary and grievance interviews
  • Termination of Employment interviews
  • Focus groups/Brain-storming sessions
Some interviews and meetings can be highly emotional and people do forget what they have said. At a later date, if there is a disagreement over accuracy of the Minutes, you cannot go back and check. Whereas a recording can be played back.

In one appeal meeting we transcribed, the subject of the disciplinary complained that the transcript of the previous meeting hadn't recorded what they had said accurately. They were determined to prove the entire process, including the typist, was biased against them. The interviewer was able to access the audio recording and play the relevant sections to the subject.

With focus groups and brain-storming sessions you have a large number of participants who will, at times, interrupt and speak over each other. While, admittedly, listening to the recording and trying to hear all that was said in these situations would be hard, attempting to take handwritten notes at the time of the meeting would be almost impossible.

If accuracy is important, make sure an audio recording is made, from which a verbatim transcript can be produced.

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