How to Prepare Board Minutes & Agendas

Written by trish popovitch
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Board meetings are a somewhat necessary evil. Most take place once per month and become an important part of a company's records. They show the progress of certain tasks, set goals for the future and resolve issues. Board meetings require two sets of paperwork: the agenda and the minutes.

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  1. 1

    Ask everyone on the board (by phone, e-mail or in person) what they intend to discuss at the meeting and any issues they would like to raise, as well as any papers they would like to hand out. Be sure to get a copy of the papers in question. If you are the secretary or assistant, get approval from your boss and the executive director regarding the final agenda.

  2. 2

    Arrange the agenda items according to the respective board member's rank. This means the chairman's comments and issues are first, followed by the vice chairman, secretary, treasurer and, finally, any remaining board members. Each board has a different protocol, so be sure to check the requirements first.

  3. 3

    Prepare the agenda by titling it "agenda" with the date and the name of the board. Then list the items using roman numbers instead of Arabic (traditional) numbers. Remember to add a section for new business and one for tabled (left for later) items from previous meetings.

  4. 4

    Make copies of any handouts and attach them to the printed agenda in the order of business. Do check whether there is a board preference for stapled or clipped packets.

  5. 5

    Proofread the agenda and check the attachments to be sure the packets are uniform before mailing them to board members. Each board member should receive a copy of the agenda in advance of the meeting (how far in advance depends on the company). At the meeting have extra copies of your packets on hand just in case. Keep one copy of the agenda package for yourself if you are the person preparing the minutes.

  6. 6

    Listen to the recorded meeting or review your notes as you look at the agenda. Make notes on the agenda next to each issue. Determine from the meeting the basic gist of the discussion, whether a motion to action was made, the vote on that motion and the names of those who spoke or voted on each issue. Work your way down the agenda.

  7. 7

    Begin creating the minutes by typing "minutes" and the name of the board and the date of the meeting at the top centre of the page in bold. This is a good time to look at past meeting minutes to check the format.

  8. 8

    Create paragraphs of narrative information for each member of the board and each section of the agenda, working chronologically and writing out in full any motions and votes. An example would be: "Chairman Smith voted for the Springfield venue for the upcoming fundraiser in January. Seconded by Secretary Jones and carried unanimously." Every item on the agenda must be written out. Quote verbatim motions and votes, but paraphrase discussion.

  9. 9

    Carefully read over the minutes, checking them against the agenda. These are official records of the company and should not contain spelling or grammar errors or misinformation.

  10. 10

    Make copies of the minutes to be attached to the next board meeting agenda and remember that the second meeting under the chairman's section should include approval of the last meeting's minutes. Make an extra copy for the board minutes file.

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