Board meetings are important tools for a company or other organizations to allow the CEO to meet with the board members to discuss the company’s performance and how they can improve upon it. A lot of time may pass between board meetings (usually four to six weeks), so when they do finally take place, it’s very important to have a detailed record of what exactly was discussed, by whom, and when, and this record is called the meeting’s “Minutes”.
Today we will discuss why taking the minutes of a meeting are so important, as well as the process for taking them. If you find yourself the minute taker at a meeting, but aren’t quite sure what to do, this course on taking minutes will show you how to take proper notes in this situation.
More About the Minutes
Taking the minutes of any type of meeting are important, whether it’s a Fortune 500 company, or the non-profit up the street. They need to be very detailed, and must be able to accurately describe everything that was said in the meeting, including all events that occurred, who attended, and the issues discussed. Any number of people may be responsible for taking the minutes, including the secretary, or a typist.
There are many reasons to have such a detailed document of these minutes. First, if there’s ever any confusion as to what decisions, either larger or small, were made, the minutes are consulted to immediately clear things up. They also serve to prompt action from certain attendees. Minutes may also act as a reference for anyone who was unable to attend the meeting.
Preparing for the Meeting
Before the meeting starts, there is some preparation necessary in order to properly take a meeting’s minutes. First off, any recording devices must be set up and ready to go. Depending on what the board wants, this may include an audio or video device, and/or a written record, so a notebook and pens will be needed. If there will be a conference call involved, make arrangements for the call to be recorded.
In order to keep up with the flow of the meeting, it may be a good idea to obtain a copy of the meeting agenda beforehand. Another handy pre-meeting document is the seating chart. The secretary should be familiar with this before the meeting so they know who is speaking and can be more easily identified in the minutes. Interested in better managing your small business? This course on meeting management skills will show you how to lead a productive meeting in one day, and this course on creating a company culture will help get everyone on the same page.
During the Meeting
The secretary should first start up any recording devices. Also, they should make sure to sit close to whoever is presiding, so as to be able to easily and quietly confer with them. While every meeting will be different, resulting in unique minutes, there are some basic things that any proper minutes will include.
- Heading This is the basic meeting information, and includes the date, time, the name of the company, who is presiding, who is in attendance (both in person, and on the phone), and the location.
- Keep Track of General Discussion Anything that is discussed, by whom, and when, must be documented. If what is discussed occurs out of order according to the agenda, that must also be noted.
- Note All Motions Any motions that come before the board, and the decision made must be written down – who made the motion, who seconded it, and any relevant discussion, including the vote.
The secretary must make sure everything is clear in the minutes. If there are any questions as to what was said or decided, they must be cleared up immediately. If you need to brush up on your communication skills, this article on business communication will help with both your writing and interpersonal skills.
After the Meeting
As soon as the meeting is over, while still fresh in the secretary’s mind, the minutes must be transcribed, comparing it to any recording, if there is one. Finally, once the minutes are accurate, the copies are given to all the board members to make sure there are no discrepancies with the information provided.
As you can see, taking the minutes at a meeting are quite important, and can clear up any potential confusion very quickly. To be able to accurately take the minutes of a meeting, you need to have a pretty good memory. If you find yourself in charge of the minutes, and need to improve your memory, this course on mastering your memory will help you out.