How to Take Minutes at a Business Meeting. Business meetings may be conducted formally or informally, depending on the company and the circumstances. Taking good minutes during a business meeting can be a crucial time and headache saver and it's a skill that is greatly appreciated by employers. The following guidelines are based on Robert's Rules of Order.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Portable Tape Recorders
- Blank Tapes
- Notebook Papers
Obtain the meeting agenda, minutes from the last meeting, and any background documents to be discussed. Consider using a tape recorder to ensure accuracy.
Sit beside the chairperson for convenient clarification or help as the meeting proceeds.
Write "Minutes of the meeting of (exact association name)."
Record the date, time and place of the meeting.
Circulate a sheet of paper for attendees to sign. (This sheet can also help identify speakers by seating arrangement later in the meeting.) If the meeting is an open one, write down only the names of the attendees who have voting rights.
Note who arrives late or leaves early so that these people can be briefed on what they missed.
Write down items in the order in which they are discussed. If item 8 on the agenda is discussed before item 2, keep the old item number but write item 8 in second place.
Record the motions made and the names of people who originate them.
Record whether motions are adopted or rejected, how the vote is taken (by show of hands, voice or other method) and whether the vote is unanimous. For small meetings, write the names of the attendees who approve, oppose and abstain from each motion.
Focus on recording actions taken by the group. Avoid writing down the details of each discussion.
Transcribe minutes soon after the meeting, when your memory of the event is still fresh.
Follow the format used in previous minutes.
Preface resolutions with "RESOLVED, THAT..."
Consider attaching long resolutions, reports or other supplementary material to the minutes as an appendix.
Write "Submitted by" and then sign your name and the date.
Place minutes chronologically in a record book.
Tips and warnings
- You do not need to record topics irrelevant to the business at hand. Taking minutes is not the same as taking dictation.
- Consult only the chairperson or executive officer, not the attendees, if you have questions.
- The person taking minutes does not participate in the meeting.
- Write in a concise, accurate manner, taking care not to include any sort of subjective opinion.
- No matter what type of minutes you take, focus on capturing and communicating all important actions that took place.