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I was invited to a meeting that had been taking place for weeks and as the presenter was taking notes for the current meeting, I took a print screen so that I could catch up on the previous meetings notes and tasks.

I asked for the previous minutes and documents prior to the meeting and did not get them so I thought this was 'ok'. I then asked the presenter a question about a comment in the previous notes and she complained that it was unprofessional to take print screens of 'her minutes'

Was I wrong and is it really unprofessional to print screen office meeting minutes?

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  • If they're internal office meeting minutes and you have electronic access to them, I don't see the problem with copying them for internal use. But don't argue this point with her; take notes in whatever way is convenient for you ("print screen") and next time you have a question don't specify the manner in which you took the notes.
    – Brandin
    Jul 26, 2015 at 6:46
  • Am I missing something - attending meetings is a mechanism to disseminate information to one and another - however that is achieved (in you case by printing notes) is good. It is professional and good that you took the effort and willing to participate fulling in the discourse.
    – Ed Heal
    Jul 26, 2015 at 7:13
  • Thank you both for your comments as I have done this for years in internal meetings as a mechanism to 'refer to as needed' and was disturbed that I might have been inappropriate all this time; I've looked this up on line too and couldn't find anything - again, thank you and much appreciated Jul 26, 2015 at 7:49
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    Could there be something else going on with this particular presenter? You said this came about when you asked her a question. Was it a difficult or possibly embarrassing question? Rather than directly answering, she might have been looking for a way to shift the discussion to something else, so she brought up your "unprofessional" behaviour.
    – Brandin
    Jul 26, 2015 at 9:36
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    I am not clear on the mechanics. How did you take a print screen as the presenter was taking notes for the current meeting? Are these presenter notes that are not part of actual presentation?
    – paparazzo
    Jul 26, 2015 at 12:14

3 Answers 3

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No.

The fact that you were able to take a screenshot of the presenter's prior minutes indicates that she must have had them displayed in her screen sharing session, visible to you as well as everyone else viewing the presentation. If you had a photographic memory, you'd have been able to recall the contents of those minutes even without a screenshot. Would it have been "unprofessional" then?
If anything in this scenario is actually unprofessional, it's that the presenter displayed her minutes to her audience at all, when she did not intend they be viewed.

(One possible exception: if the meeting was about a sensitive or confidential topic, requiring stricter confidentiality than that of the company's typical proceedings.)

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Was I wrong and is it really unprofessional to print screen office meeting minutes?

Since it appears that you copied the presenter's personal notes without her permission, then yes, I do believe you were wrong. Since she objected, then clearly she believes you were wrong as well. And since the notes appear to have been hers, it was her decision which should matter most here.

It's not at all unprofessional to make a copy of anything as long as you have permission. But lacking that permission, it would have been more professional to ask for the minutes again. Just because you asked for them prior to the meeting, and haven't received them yet, doesn't give you permission to take them.

It's possible that the presenter would have given you the minutes at a later date. It's possible that she was cleaning up her notes and would eventually give everyone a copy. It's also possible that she just doesn't want to give them to you for some unknown reason.

Either way, they are hers to give away (or not) when and if she so desires.

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  • I think you are missing a point OP is making - the presenter essentially shared her minutes. With everyone. She just "wrote them down".
    – Matiss
    Jul 27, 2015 at 7:50
  • @Matiss It sounds more like there was a document that she was adding new notes too - which happened to have previous notes on it as well. So a print-screen was taken while the presenter is making new notes in order to have the old notes. Jul 31, 2015 at 21:45
  • That being said, I think it's more likely the presenter was upset by being derailed about past meetings rather than focusing on the current meeting. Especially if its just about a badly worded comment that she was going to fix up later. Jul 31, 2015 at 21:49
  • The presenter also may have took the reason the question was asked as more of a "note-taking critique" (which would be somewhat unprofessional if her notes are not meant to be referenced) than an actual question, not realizing someone was just trying to catch up with information. Jul 31, 2015 at 22:10
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You have done nothing wrong - you have properly prepared yourself for a meeting using the resources available.

If she complains about it again - ask her why she would be distributing these minutes if she does not want people to refer to them.

Although, it seems to me that she is more upset by the question itself - and trying to cover this by pointing fingers.

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  • That is the point of "minutes" Apr 14, 2018 at 19:45

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