Minutes: Less is More

March 31, 2020


Less is more. So proclaimed German-born architect and educator Ludwig Mies (“Mies”) van der Rohe, who moved to the US in 1938 and is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential architects of the last century.

The Mies van der Rohe Society, housed at the Illinois Institute of Technology, preserves van der Rohe’s legacy and maintains the architectural integrity of his buildings at IIT. When we hear van der Rohe’s oft-repeated adage, we may apply it to style and fashion, but it’s equally applicable to the minutes some of us love to loathe.

Consider the Society’s characterization of van der Rohe’s work: “His buildings radiate the confidence, rationality, and elegance of their creator and, free of ornamentation and excess …”

Work with me, now, and let’s try a 21st century variation on these attributes, applied to the minutes you prepare.

These minutes reflect the confidence of an experienced EA/PA; they’re logically presented and free of excess

Is that how you and your executives view the minutes you produce? Let’s break it down.

Well written minutes reflect the confidence of someone who understands the organisation, its business and what should be recorded – and, equally importantly, what should not be documented.

Effective minutes are presented within a rational, logical format or template, with consistency of format, tone and tense.

Have you ever considered your work as something that writing elegance? Nor had I, at least not until contemplating this quote in the context of minutes being free of ornamentation and excess. Isn’t this what our readers need and deserve?

Watch for more on minutes in upcoming articles.

About the Author: Shelagh Donnelly educates and inspire assistants on topics ranging from meetings and minutes to business acumen, cybersecurity and working with boards. She helps assistants nurture their adaptability, productivity and resilience in order to enjoy the career and continue to add value even as roles evolve. An international speaker, Shelagh worked with C-level executives for more than 25 years and is recognized for her governance expertise. Shelagh founded her globally read Exceptional EA website in 2013, and is the author of the upcoming book, The Resilient Assistant.

This article first appeared in Exceptional EA, a globally respected professional development resource for administrative professionals. Visit to find out more and tell her we sent you.

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