As someone who manages projects for Autodesk, when I send out meeting minutes, I use a format that includes the following sections.
- Action Items
I have been doing it this way for years. Old dogs can't really learn new tricks. Actually, maybe I should not say that because years ago, rather than just put the date, I decided to put the date along with a fun fact about something that happened on that day.
March 25 - On this day in 1668: The first horse race in America took place.
I use the SiteScope site to get a list of events that happened on a particular day.
I pick an event that I feel would be of interest to the recipients of the minutes. Not too long ago I started adding a "quote of the day" to go with the minutes. I get the quotes from:
Here are some examples of what I have used:
- January 24 – On this day in 1899: Rubber heel patented by Humphrey O'Sullivan.
- Quote of the day: “Humor is a rubber sword — it allows you to make a point without drawing blood.” – Mary Hirsch
- January 24 – On this day in 1722: Edward Wigglesworth appointed 1st US divinity professor (Harvard).
- Quote of the day: “America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week.” – Evan Esar
- January 31 – On this day in 1871: Millions of birds fly over western San Francisco and darken the sky.
- Quote of the day: “A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.” – Fred Allen
- February 15 – On this day in 1842: 1st adhesive postage stamps used in the US (private delivery company), New York, NY.
- Quote of the day: “I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our government but civilization itself.” – Gerald R. Ford
- February 17: On this day in 1878: 1st telephone exchange in San Francisco opens with 18 phones.
- Quote of the day: “The only really good place to buy lumber is at a store where the lumber has already been cut and attached together in the form of furniture, finished, and put inside boxes.” – Dave Barry
- March 18 – On this day in 1972: Cornell NCAA hockey team shut out for the first time in 225 games by Boston University.
- Quote of the day: “Shut out all of your past except that which will help you weather your tomorrows.” – Sir William Osler
Our CEO, Carl Bass, graduated from Cornell.
My hope is that by spending 2 minutes to add a little interest to my meeting minutes, people will actually read them. Come for the tidbits, stay for the action items.
Stenography is alive in the lab.