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Minute Taking

What are Minutes?

Minutes are the notes which are taken throughout a meeting to describe essentially what happened at the meeting. Included in the minutes are list of attendees, apologies of those who couldn’t make the meeting, issues discussed at the meeting, responses and decisions made as a result of the meeting.

The Minutes are the official record of your association’s meetings. It is important to remember the minutes are not a transcript word for word run sheet of the meeting rather an overview of the meeting which states what the outcome of the meeting was.

Why is it important to take minutes at a meeting?

Minutes can offer legal protection:

Though unlikely your Affiliate may come into legal trouble from time to time. The minutes represent the actions of the committee and/board of the Affiliate, and are considered legal documents by auditors and the court.

Minutes provide structure to your meetings

  • A basic structure to meeting minutes should include:
  • The name of your affiliate.
  • The date and time of the meeting.
  • Who opened the meeting and at what time.
  • Who attended the meeting.
  • Reports (President, Treasurer, Secretary etc)
  • General Business and any motions moved.
  • Meeting closure time.

There is no standard way to take and present minutes though it is important to make your minutes presentable. A good way to think when taking and presenting minutes is “ If I didn’t attend the meeting can I understand what happened at the meeting by reading the minutes”.

Meeting minutes help with accountability

Meeting minutes help by ensuring your committee and affiliate members know which actions they are accountable for. The minutes map out a plan for the action items and may include due dates for tasks. This is very valuable when it comes to the next meeting to measure if tasks/roles have been completed.

How detailed should they be?

Meeting minutes can be long and detailed, or they can be short and concise depending on the nature of the meeting. In situations of critical importance such as an executive position election, legal issue or club merge the recording of minutes is vastly important and you will need to take detailed minutes. When you are holding a general meeting which is more of a catch up to ensure everything is tracking along well minutes can be simple lists of decisions made and actions that need to be taken As a general rule of thumb meeting minutes should be as short as possible as long as they include all important information.

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