The importance of accuracy should not be understated, since meeting minutes become the ultimate documentation of what transpired and who attended. Unless proven differently, courts will accept them as evidence. They can be used to prove the existence of a board of directors or other committees, their authority to act for the corporation, and their decisions on important matters before them.
Minutes should be written up promptly after each meeting. If you're in an emergency situation and cannot write up the minutes immediately, it's acceptable to mail them to the other members of the board or committee, with a note saying that they have been sent by email and providing the date and time of the meeting. It is advisable to include your own notes or thoughts about the meeting or topic discussed when writing up the minutes.
It is helpful if you can identify the person responsible for recording the meeting. This could be either an official board or committee record or a personal journal entry. Either way, make sure that the person is given authorization to do so. For example, a board member or committee staff person could be designated to take notes at meetings and submit them along with a brief report of what took place.
It is important to keep copies of all meeting minutes and reports from boards and committees.
Minutes that reflect the goal of the meeting and its agreed-upon outcomes serve as a record that may be referred to and utilized for follow-up. Effective meeting minutes are concise and to the point, yet they do not leave out critical information. Including a summary of actions taken/discussed makes it easy for others to understand what was discussed and what decisions were made.
Meeting preparations start well in advance of the actual meeting. This includes writing up an agenda (see below) and finding a suitable location where everyone can feel comfortable and able to express themselves freely. Some suggestions for preparation include thinking about any particular issues or topics that might need to be brought up at the meeting and preparing material to share with the group. It also means being sure to provide enough food and drink for everyone present. And don't forget to take care of yourself; eat something and get some sleep before the meeting.
Once you have prepared, the next step is to hold the meeting. Make sure that everyone has a chance to speak by providing ample time for comments and questions. Avoid rushing the discussion; allow people to raise issues and concerns without feeling forced to address them immediately. Also, try not to repeat things that have been said earlier in the meeting. This shows that you are paying attention and ensures that all points of view are heard.
Finally, follow up on any action items identified during the meeting.
Meeting minutes are written, precise summaries of the events that occur during meetings. They should keep detailed records of critical details, choices, and assignments. Because attendees can check the minutes to discover exactly what happened at the meetings, written minutes can help prevent arguments and misunderstandings.
Minutes also document decisions made by the board or committee. If a board decides not to renew the contract of an employee, then this decision should be documented in the minutes. Similarly, if a board makes a significant change to policy, then this change should also be documented in the minutes.
Written minutes are useful for maintaining accurate records of board discussions and decisions. They can also serve as a guide for future boards or committees if they need to know how a particular issue was handled previously. Finally, minutes provide a record of what occurred at a meeting - information that cannot be captured with mere voice recordings or informal notes taken by attendees.
Minutes are usually written by someone who attended the meeting. This person could be another board member, a committee chair, or even the president of the organization. Although anyone with access to the meeting room may write the minutes, only those people present when something important is decided deserve credit for writing the decision. In general, it's best to have more than one person involved in drafting minutes because no one person might understand everything that happened at the meeting.
Even after a meeting's minutes have been legally accepted, they can be amended. Meeting minutes are typically approved at the start of the next planned meeting [see Order of Business]. Minutes are not considered an official record of a meeting unless they are approved. Approving minutes ensures that everyone's comments are included in the final version.
The minutes should be brief and outline the main topics of the meeting. At a meeting, there may be a lot of disagreement as individuals express their thoughts, studies, and experience, which should not be recorded. A meeting summary page that lists the decisions made at the meeting is sufficient.
It is helpful to have a record of the proceedings. This can be done by taking notes during the meeting or writing up a summary afterwards. The former is useful when you want to remember what was said but cannot physically write it down. The latter is useful if you need to refer back to the details of the meeting later. Meeting notes can be used by members of the board to keep track of issues before them or others can review them to understand how decisions were made.
Minutes do not have to be written down in detail. You can simply list the important points made during the meeting. However, having complete minutes makes it easier for members to understand what was discussed and therefore helps ensure that future meetings are productive.
Minutes are only required for official board meetings. In addition to regular board meetings, some organizations also have special committee meetings where items on the agenda pertain only to certain committees. If this is the case, then the board should approve any additional items that are to be brought up at these meetings.
The minutes do not have to be word for word, but the most important issues, as well as any agreements or actions made, should be documented. Even if the minutes are wrong and you cannot depend on them, the person who took them can serve as a witness to what was decided or discussed. The board of directors is responsible for ensuring that its meetings are recorded, either by a professional recorder or by someone who will act in their place if they are unable to do so.
Minutes are useful for recording decisions made at meetings, including those made by telephone. They also serve as a record of actions taken by the board and of discussions had by it.
For example, suppose that the board decides at a meeting to give employee Bob two weeks' paid leave of absence because he needs time to deal with some personal issues. The next day, after discussing his situation, the board decides to give another employee Jane five days' paid leave. The minute book should reflect both decisions, and it does so by noting both events together under the heading "Personal Leave". It could also note that the leave given to Bob was at his request and that that given to Jane was because there were no other candidates available to cover her shift.
Minutes are also useful when there is discussion about how board policies are to be conducted.