Taking minutes in a meeting is an effective and helpful way of noting down action points, decisions and queries to be resolved during a business meeting where people may be too involved in discussion to take notes. Normally there is a designated minute-taker, whose job it is to take notes during the meeting, arrange them in a legible format and issue them to the attendees following the conclusion of the meeting. In formal meetings, the previous meeting's minutes must be agreed upon and accepted into the transcript of the current's meeting minutes by meeting attendees.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Previous meeting minutes and agenda
- Tape recorder and tapes
Determine whether a quorum is present at the current meeting. A quorum is defined as the minimum number of members necessary to approve a motion and make final decisions as per the by-laws of the association or group. Without a quorum, no official meeting may take place.
Read, or have the secretary to the association, board or group, read the minutes aloud from the previous meeting, noting those in attendance and all actions that transpired.
Discuss the minutes from the previous meeting, making any corrections before approval. Discussion should be factual and friendly, not opening up old debates or conflicts.
Call for a motion from the floor. The president or the chairman of the board, group or meeting asks for a motion to accept the previous meeting's minutes as read or with discussed changes as noted. The motion can be made by any voting board member and will need to be seconded by someone else. The previous minutes must be accepted before the current meeting can proceed.
Ask all attendees to vote to accept the minutes. This is done through a show of hands, by voice or by the chairman asking each attendee individually. Make a note in the minutes of the current meeting that the previous have been accepted.
Obtain a copy of the meeting agenda, to determine what is to be discussed. This will outline the flow the minutes to be taken. Under Robert's Rules of Order, as an agenda item, the previous meeting minutes must be read and accepted before the meeting commences.
Sit beside the person who is chairing the meeting for clarification as the meeting progresses. Use a tape recorder to capture proceedings and verify notes once the meeting is over.
Write the title of the minutes, recording the date, time and venue of the meeting, as well as the names of each attendee at the meeting.
Take notes as the meeting continues, making a note of each agenda item being discussed. Record the names of those who make motions, as well as whether they are adopted or rejected. Write down how this decision was made, whether through a show of hands or some other method.
Transcribe meeting notes as soon as possible following the end of the meeting, while the discussions are still fresh.
Use the template from previous meetings to write up the current minutes. If there are no previous minutes, create a template, clearly stating the title of the meeting, date and attendees.
Clearly show any resolutions made, with full details of what that resolution is.
Attach any additional documents presented during the meeting to include with the minutes as an appendix.
Tips and warnings
- Write without bias, stating only the accurate facts of any discussions held.
- Clarify any ambiguous items with the meeting manager before circulation of the minutes.
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