Necessary or redundant?
Given the sector, whether it is business, politics or education minutes have different degrees of importance. Comments, such as "it is extra work, no-one reads them" are heard, but they do play an important role. It is a tool as part of project planning. The record taking helps to drive actions forward and ensures to engage the attendees to follow up their part of the objectives set, as well as putting decisions made n black and white. In governmental settings, it records political agreements made and if forgotten or not adhered to, these minutes provide a valuable reference.
When looking up minutes taking on the internet you are bombarded with tools, software and templates. It has become a standalone business more than I was aware of. A lot of good frameworks and pointers to make meetings productive and note taking effective. Remains the question who takes minutes? Almost every adult I have met has in one form or another either written minutes or at least seen them. Strangely enough, you are not necessarily trained in taking minutes, and it is assumed you just do it. Certainly if English is not your first language, this can be a hazardous task.
Dos and Don'ts
Do be impartial when producing minutes, whilst not always possible when you are part of the process of the meeting and have a stake in it. If you try to point your own point across not discussed it will backfire. Do concentrate on what is being said. We remember only a fraction of what is being said, so train yourself in taking notes of the key points and agreements. Do be concise and use present tense, it is decided, said, agreed, postponed, brought forward, brought up etc. Do write the minutes directly after the meeting, leave it one day and you will have forgotten some crucial points. Don't forget to ask the attendees if they have anything to add which you may have not covered.
As a minute-taker, I am happy to help to support you to improve your minute writing skills.