How can I avoid to be seen as the responsible person to share meeting notes?
Many times, I am the only person taking notes in a meeting. This lead several people to conclude that
1) I am taking care of all the action items, being them for myself or others, and that
2) They can direct me to write specific things down
Both conclusion are wrong, yet how can I make this clear professionally within the meeting?


Dear all,

as Mark and Mike suggested, I'm taking notes in our company meetings to keep track of interesting topics and facts.
Unfortunately, I am most of the times the only one doing so. In particular the meeting organiser are not accustomed to do so or to ask someone to take meeting minutes.
This lead to the paradox situation that several colleagues concluded unspoken that:
1) I am taking care of all the action items, being them for myself or others, and
2) That they can direct me to write specific things down (e.g. things <em>they</em> are interested of)

I have initially attributed this to individual behaviour. However, over time this behavioural pattern emerged at several colleagues (more than 10).
My current response is not writing down notes for others and tracking only actions which are relevant to me. This works to the limits that <em>after</em> a meeting, no additional work is created.
However, I am looking for a strategy within the meeting to demonstrate that I take care of my stuff and my stuff only.

Thank you for your suggestions, ideas and comments.

mercuryblue's picture

Maybe you could just ask “who’s taking a list of the actions?” at the beginning. It might end up being you, but it won’t be you all the time. Right now people are assuming you are, and you need to unpick that. Frankly all meetings should have someone list the actions anyway.

mrreliable's picture

Gonna be straight honest with you. That "Dear all" message is one of the snarkiest things I've seen in a while. I don't think it's a good idea to call out your colleagues. It comes across as condescending. If  you're going to communicate something like that, do it in person.

I've been in the exact situation, and I know the frustration. I was in a management group where I was the person who brought in a pad and pen and wrote notes down. One of my colleagues spouted a (stupid) idea, pointed at me, and said, "Write that down!" Besides colleagues, there were also a few of my directs at the meeting. I wasn't going to let this clown portray me as his secretary.

I said, "You write it down. What's the matter, is your arm broke?" (smattering of nervous laughter around the table)

I don't know if that was the right action to take, but I made the point and the problem was solved, without alienating everyone in the room. If you're not willing to confront the situation face to face, don't go spewing it on email.