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I like my emails to be perfect, especially the minutes that summerise the meetings we have, I understand that it is obviously preferred to send it through right after the meeting, or even an hour late at the most, but what about the next day?

If I do end up sending it through the next day, do I have to apologize in the email for the late send?

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    It depends on the purpose of the email and minutes. What is the purpose of the minutes? For example, do they contain task assignments, are they action items, are they a formal recording of minutes 'for the record'?.... – Mark Phillips Mar 7 '13 at 0:21
  • Hi @MarkPhillips, they do contain discussion outcomes, as well as tasks, but the tasks are very little, they are not formal recording either, but to be used as a base for the next phase of the meeting, there were also others who were not at the meeting and thought it would be a good idea for them to see where everything is at so far. – I AM L Mar 7 '13 at 0:23
  • The 1 hour or 1 day schedule constraint is local to your organization. I don't think I could get the meeting minutes through the review chain in a day, let alone an hour. – Mark C. Wallace Mar 7 '13 at 12:59
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Quick answer: It depends.

It depends on:

  • Frequency: If you're having a daily meeting, sending the minutes one day later make it useless.
  • Action Points: If you're dealing with several people that will follow the actions discussed during the meeting, better sending the minutes before having the other people doing anything. Otherwise, if the attendees carry on with the wrong actions, they'll be able to tell that these actions where what they had understood.
  • Attendance: Depending on the level of control the attendants will want over the outcomes of the meeting, better send the minutes right away instead of having them thinking that someone could have not understood something. It applies especially if you have senior members in the meeting.
  • Meeting objective: Most of the above are based on the assumption that there will be actions as one of the outcomes of the meeting, and I believe that's the objective of most of the meetings. If, however, the meeting was to discuss something that won't have any further discussion or action to be accomplished (a closing project meeting, for instance), then it's not strictly required to have the minutes right away... but important to have the minutes for future reference.

Now, thinking of this question from another perspective:

- Why would minute take longer than some minutes to be written?

I believe that, as long as the meeting topics are clear before the meeting, then the minutes will be a matter of adding details to the topics covered, potentially adding the decided actions to be taken and setting responsibles for each.

On the other hand, if when the meeting starts up the topics to be covered aren't defined, then the minutes will require much more effort to be written, and thus taking more time. But in this case, you already have a problem before the meeting, not only after.

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The Minutes are a record of a meeting. It shouldn't trigger anything. There should be another mechanism where, if an action was identified, work is triggered. Late is by definition. What is your project defining for an on time delivery of minutes for that particular meeting? You're late when you go beyond that.

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I read the answers here and they are great and make good points, but I'm still going to take my bet on it and say that you should send them as quick as possible.

Besides all the reasons for doing so that have been already mentioned (you can see them on Tiago Cardoso's answer), I'm going to say that since your project may be advancing directly after the meeting -- specially if there were action items assigned -- you take the risk of your notes being outdated at the moment they are sent.

I have had this problem myself, and while we all want our mails to be perfect, we also want our projects to run as quick as possible. When you get that velocity and your own emails start to need corrections and addendums so that whoever reads it understands what happened between the minute and the present moment, you realize that this is creating unnecessary work for you.

My suggestion is then to send your minutes as quick as possible. You don't need them to be perfect, but to be clear and easy to understand, as a good summary of what happened there.

PS: A reason for not doing it is to let yourself settle down and send a good outline of the meeting, specially if it happened to be agitated or controversial. I would say that the solution for this is to keep your professionalism and objectivity when sending them, rather than have it "happen" to you.

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It sounds like these are status meetings and the notes are a type of status report. If this is the case, the time table for the notes is determined by the urgency of the issues discussed. Gauging from the request to have the notes sent out right after the meeting it seems like there may be pretty urgent issues to deal with and a set of stakeholders who feel that they need to know about those issues in short order.

Under those conditions, minutes are not the best way to get the information out in a timely fashion. Consider creating some sort of categorization scheme for issues that are discussed. Ones that require immediate action or those which people feel they need to be alerted to quickly should have a different reporting process than less urgent items. Well crafted minutes are best suited for keeping people up to speed on what went on in the meeting, as opposed to being a trigger for dealing with urgent issues.

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