meeting minutes


I am a Union Steward. I have to write out the minutes of our meetings which can be difficult. We use jargons that not everyone can understand. We are under a productivity system that can be confusing to write about. I need help in making my writing less ackward.

See example:

i have many great ides but have difficulties in making my senstences flow.
asked May 30 '13 at 01:11 Heather New member

1 answer


Heather, your concern is what's called variously "cohesion" or "coherence." There are six ways to maintain cohesion in English:

1. Repeat key words.

Don't feel you have to think of synonyms for words. Use the same key nouns/verbs/etc. repeatedly to put less strain on the reader.

2. Use consistent pronouns.

If you start with plural nouns and use "they", then don't change to singular or "he/she/it." Keep using plural nouns: "Athletes have to work hard at their sports. If they work hard, they can do..."
3. Use logical order.

Organize the points logically. Divide your points into groups and maintain unity (one main idea per paragraph).
4. Use transitions.

Use simple transitions like "first/second/third" to list points. You can also use larger transitions (enumerators), such as "The first reason/point/decision is..."
5. Use "Old and New." (This technique requires good use of #1 and #4).

Start a new sentence with a reference to the previous one:
The committee decided to raise the allocation to the group. This decision was based on the needs of the group detailed in the report submitted on May 13, 2013. That report detailed the problems... To solve these problems, ...
6. Use parallel structures.
For example, if a decision has multiple purposes, you can make the beginning of each sentence parallel with a "To V" structure:
To raise morale, the committee decided that... To encourage compliance, the committee decided that... 
Don't change the second one to "it was decided that" just to be fancy, Instead, use the same pattern (the committee decided that) to allow the reader to quickly skim over the beginning of the sentence and find the important information at the end.

The overriding principle is to use end-focused sentences. Refer to previous sentences at the beginning of a sentence, and then put new information at the end. Consider this simple example:


On my desk is a cup. In the cup is coffee, which is cold. Cold coffee is awful, so I'm going to pour it out and get some hot coffee. Hot coffee will work better to wake me up and focus on my work. 

link comment answered Jun 08 '13 at 03:32 John Pearson Ring New member

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