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The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 8 – AgileBits

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 8 – AgileBits

    Well, we have reached the last week of our 12 Days of Giveaways. It’s been an exciting 7 days of some of the best productivity apps, services, and products that help you get things done, and today we are going to offer you one of the the best apps to keep your passwords and information secure from AgileBits.

    But, before we do that we want to announce the winners of the David Allen Company’s three GTD Notetaker Wallets. Here are the three winning comments. The first is from Carl T. Holscher:

    “The iPhone can be great for many things but I’ve never liked it for quick note taking. I love the feel of paper and the smooth ink as it glides across the page.

    My wallet is 10 years old and falling apart and this will fill both voids, proper note-taking on the go and a lovely wallet I can be proud to own (and my wife will stop making fun of!)”

    The next is quick and to the point from our friend Ammon:

    “The addition of a ubiquitous capture tool would mean that 2012 will finally be the year I stop procrastinating and start “Getting Things Done”!”

    And then this comment from our Facebook fan, Tim Stueve:

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    “I’ve been using my smartphone to capture things, but it would be more convenient to use the wallet/notepad, which I’ve been eying for some time. Goodbye battery failure/uncertainty, hello old reliable pen/paper!”

    Hopefully your new notetaker wallets will help all of you capture things anywhere you are in 2012. Congratulations!

    Today’s giveaway

      Try to guess that password!

      AgileBits, the creator of the much loved password manager, 1Password and Knox, a leading solution for securing data, is today’s partner for the 12 Days of Giveaways. I have been using 1Password ever since I got my first Mac and like many of the other tools that we have given away, 1Password is an app that I can’t live without.

      Most web users have more than one online account, whether it be for email, banking, social networks, forums, etc. But, the reality is that most people keep the same password for all their logons. This is a bad idea (hopefully as a savvy Lifehack.org reader we don’t need to tell you why!), but keeping a bunch of unique, secure passwords can be sort of a pain, especially when you have many online accounts.

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      Enter 1Password. 1Password is a secure password manager that allows you to create and store unique passwords that are protected by one master password. 1Password also integrates with your browser to allow for one click sign-on to any website that requires authentication. Another cool feature is that you can store credit card and bank account information securely. Also, if you have 1Password for your iOS device you can securely sync your password file with Dropbox.

      Today, AgileBits is offering 100% off a single order up to $50 from their online store for one lucky Lifehack.org reader. That means you can pick yourself up a copy of 1Password (for Mac or Windows), or you can even pick up Knox if you are so inclined.

      How to Enter

      In order to enter to the giveaway, you need to leave a comment below or on our Facebook fan page that answers the following:

      “What are the first 3 online accounts you would secure with 1Password and why?”

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      Leaving a comment on both our Facebook fan page and here at Lifehack.org will get you 2 entries, so but you need to give us two items that you like the most – no copying and pasting!

      The Fine Print

      Employees of AgileBits and of Stepcase (including current independent contractors of both) are not eligible for this contest. The winning entry will be judged by the Stepcase Lifehack editing team and the winner will be notified on the platform in which their winning entry was placed (either on the Lifehack.org Facebook wall or by email through our commenting system here on the website). For those entering the contest with a comment on our site, in order to be considered eligible, you MUST leave a contact email when leaving a comment (it’s the only way we’ll know how to contact you). Entries must be submitted by 10 am Eastern the following weekday and winners will be chosen by 12 pm Eastern time on the same day. The winners will be announced the same day on Lifehack.org, and will be notified beforehand.

      Good luck!

      More by this author

      CM Smith

      A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

      How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better Why Getting Things Done is the Best Productivity System For You To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

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      1 How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples) 2 How Are Daily Rituals Different from Daily Routines? 3 7 Essential Success Tips to Achieve What You Want in Life 4 Deep Work: 9 Grounding Rules to Stay Focused 5 7 Reminders When You’re Making Life Choices

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      Last Updated on September 30, 2019

      How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

      How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

      Minutes are a written record of a board, company, or organizational meeting. Meeting minutes are considered a legal document, so when writing them, strive for clarity and consistency of tone.

      Because minutes are a permanent record of the meeting, be sure to proofread them well before sending. It is a good idea to run them by a supervisor or seasoned attendee to make sure statements and information are accurately captured.

      The best meeting minutes takers are careful listeners, quick typists, and are adequately familiar with the meeting topics and attendees. The note taker must have a firm enough grasp of the subject matter to be able to separate the important points from the noise in what can be long, drawn-out discussions. And, importantly, the note taker should not simultaneously lead and take notes. (If you’re ever asked to do so, decline.)

      Following, are some step-by-step hints to effectively write meeting minutes:

      1. Develop an Agenda

      Work with the Chairperson or Board President to develop a detailed agenda.

      Meetings occur for a reason, and the issues to be addressed and decided upon need to be listed to alert attendees. Work with the convener to draft an agenda that assigns times to each topic to keep the meeting moving and to make sure the group has enough time to consider all items.

      The agenda will serve as your outline for the meeting minutes. Keep the minutes’ headings consistent with the agenda topics for continuity.

      2. Follow a Template from Former Minutes Taken

      If you are new to a Board or organization, and are writing minutes for the first time, ask to see the past meeting minutes so that you can maintain the same format.

      Generally, the organization name or the name of the group that is meeting goes at the top: “Meeting of the Board of Directors of XYZ,” with the date on the next line. After the date, include both the time the meeting came to order and the time the meeting ended.

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      Most groups who meet do so regularly, with set agenda items at each meeting. Some groups include a Next Steps heading at the end of the minutes that lists projects to follow up on and assigns responsibility.

      A template from a former meeting will also help determine whether or not the group records if a quorum was met, and other items specific to the organization’s meeting minutes.

      3. Record Attendance

      On most boards, the Board Secretary is the person responsible for taking the meeting minutes. In organizational meetings, the minutes taker may be a project coordinator or assistant to a manager or CEO. She or he should arrive a few minutes before the meeting begins and pass around an attendance sheet with all members’ names and contact information.

      Meeting attendees will need to check off their names and make edits to any changes in their information. This will help as both a back-up document of attendees and ensure that information goes out to the most up-to-date email addresses.

      All attendees’ names should be listed directly below the meeting name and date, under a subheading that says “Present.” List first and last names of all attendees, along with title or affiliation, separated by a comma or semi-colon.

      If a member of the Board could not attend the meeting, cite his or her name after the phrase: “Copied To:” There may be other designations in the participants’ list. For example, if several of the meeting attendees are members of the staff while everyone else is a volunteer, you may want to write (Staff) after each staff member.

      As a general rule, attendees are listed alphabetically by their last names. However, in some organizations, it’s a best practice to list the leadership of the Board first. In that case, the President or Co-Presidents would be listed first, followed by the Vice President, followed by the Secretary, and then by the Treasurer. Then all other names of attendees would be alphabetized by last name.

      It is also common practice to note if a participant joined the meeting via conference call. This can be indicated by writing: “By Phone” and listing the participants who called in.

      4. Naming Convention

      Generally, the first time someone speaks in the meeting will include his or her name and often the title.

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      For example, “President of the XYZ Board, Roger McGowan, called the meeting to order.” The next time Roger McGowan speaks, though, you can simply refer to him as “Roger.” If there are two Rogers in the meeting, use an initial for their last names to separate the two. “Roger M. called for a vote. Roger T. abstained.”

      5. What, and What Not, to Include

      Depending on the nature of the meeting, it could last from one to several hours. The attendees will be asked to review and then approve the meeting minutes. Therefore, you don’t want the minutes to extend into a lengthy document.

      Capturing everything that people say verbatim is not only unnecessary, but annoying to reviewers.

      For each agenda item, you ultimately want to summarize only the relevant points of the discussion along with any decisions made. After the meeting, cull through your notes, making sure to edit out any circular or repetitive arguments and only leave in the relevant points made.

      6. Maintain a Neutral Tone

      Minutes are a legal document. They are used to establish an organization’s historical record of activity. It is essential to maintain an even, professional tone. Never put inflammatory language in the minutes, even if the language of the meeting becomes heated.

      You want to record the gist of the discussion objectively, which means mentioning the key points covered without assigning blame. For example, “The staff addressed board members’ questions regarding the vendor’s professionalism.”

      Picture a lawyer ten years down the road reading the minutes to find evidence of potential wrongdoing. You wouldn’t want an embellishment in the form of a colorful adverb or a quip to cloud any account of what took place. Here’s a list of neutral sounding words to get started with.

      7. Record Votes

      The primary purpose of minutes is to record any votes a board or organization takes. Solid record-keeping requires mentioning which participant makes a motion — and what the motion states verbatim — and which participant seconds the motion.

      For example, “Vice President Cindy Jacobsen made a motion to dedicate 50 percent, or $50,000, of the proceeds from the ZZZ Foundation gift to the CCC scholarship fund. President Roger McGowan seconded the motion.”

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      This vote tabulation should be expressed in neutral language as well. “The Board voted unanimously to amend the charter in the following way,” or “The decision to provide $1,000 to the tree-planting effort passed 4 to 1, with Board President McGowan opposing.”

      Most Boards try to get a vote passed unanimously. Sometimes in order to help the Board attain a more cohesive outcome, a Board member may abstain from voting. “The motion passed 17 to 1 with one absension.”

      8. Pare down Notes Post-Meeting

      Following the meeting, read through your notes while all the discussions remain fresh in your mind, and make any needed revisions. Then, pare the meeting minutes down to their essentials, providing a brief account of the discussion that summarizes arguments made for and against a decision.

      People often speak colloquially or in idioms, as in: “This isn’t even in the ballpark” or “You’re beginning to sound like a broken record.” While you may be tempted to keep the exact language in the minutes to add color, resist.

      Additionally, if any presentations are part of the meeting, do not include information from the Powerpoint in the minutes. However, you will want to record the key points from the post-presentation discussion.

      9. Proofread with Care

      Make sure that you spelled all names correctly, inserted the correct date of the meeting, and that your minutes read clearly.

      Spell out acronyms the first time they’re used. Remember that the notes may be reviewed by others for whom the acronyms are unfamiliar. Stay consistent in headings, punctuation, and formatting. The minutes should be polished and professional.

      10. Distribute Broadly

      Once approved, email minutes to the full board — not just the attendees — for review. Your minutes will help keep those who were absent apprised of important actions and decisions.

      At the start of the next meeting, call for the approval of the minutes. Note any revisions. Try to work out the agreed-upon changes in the meeting, so that you don’t spend a huge amount of time on revisions.

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      Ask for a motion to approve the minutes with the agreed-upon changes. Once an attendee offers a motion, ask for another person in the meeting to “second” the motion. They say, “All approved.” Always ask if there is anyone who does not approve. Assuming not, then say: “The minutes from our last meeting are approved once the agreed-upon changes have been made.”

      11. File Meticulously

      Since minutes are a legal document, take care when filing them. Make sure the file name of the document is consistent with the file names of previously filed minutes.

      Occasionally, members of the organization may want to review past minutes. Know where the minutes are filed!

      One Caveat

      In this day and age of high technology, you may ask yourself: Wouldn’t it be simpler to record the meeting? This depends on the protocols of the organization, but probably not.

      Be sure to ask what the rules are at the organization where you are taking minutes. Remember that the minutes are a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said at the meeting.

      The minutes reflect decisions not discussions. In spite of their name, “minutes,” the minutes are not a minute-by-minute transcript.

      Bottom Line

      Becoming an expert minutes-taker requires a keen ear, a willingness to learn, and some practice, but by following these tips you will soon become proficient.

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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