Why Have Minutes?
To provide a permanent record of the proceeding of a meeting.
To show how the items/issues were discussed and resolved.
To show tasks assigned to individual members along with expected completion dates (action items).
To keep track of progress.
To inform absent members.
To help in the orientation of new members to the committee.
The Minute Taker: It’s Your Job To…
Take notes and provide the meeting leader with a draft of the minutes, for their approval, as soon as possible after the meeting.
Notify the chair of any unfinished business to be included in the upcoming meeting.
Send out the minutes and related documents promptly.
Arrive at the meeting with sufficient time to become organized.
Keep track of meeting attendance.
Store the minutes and related documents and bring them to the meetings as required.
What To Record In Minutes:
Minutes are an objective, accurate summary of what occurred during the meeting.
Items/issues in the order they appear on the agenda. If no agenda is used, record items/issues in order they arise during the meeting.
Results of decisions, actions to be taken, & names of those responsible for actions.
An expected completion date for actions may also be recorded.
Key points or pros and cons of discussion may be recorded. Phrase such as “discussion followed” is acceptable.
Subjective comments or expressions of emotion
Numbers (in a vote) or names who are against, abstain or for during decision-making.
New to Taking Minutes? Some Tips for Taking Minutes:
Before the Meeting:
Review previous minutes.
Know the purpose of the meeting and the goals of the discussion.
If required, aid chair in preparing agenda – especially if there is ‘old’ business to come forward or new correspondence to be read.
Prepare materials required for the meeting.
During the Meeting:
If possible, use a laptop to take minutes to avoid having to re-type them later.
Have attendance list to check off or sign in sheet.
Highlight future actions: The remaining minutes are an objective summation of what occurred during the meeting.
Use names minimally.
Review your notes at the end of the meeting.You can verify information with chair or participants if you need to.
Sit where you can listen to participants & communicate with the meeting leader.
Avoid personal comments (any that commend or criticize) in the minutes.
Ask the chair to stop if you are falling behind in notes!
If a participant speaks “in camera” put your pen down. This discussion is meant to be confidential and not recorded in the minutes. If you take this time to catch up, it may be misread as recording the conversation that is “in camera”.
After the Meeting:
If minutes are hand written, key them in as soon as possible as it is easier while they are still fresh in your mind!
Double check names and dates.
Keep minutes in chronological order in a minute’s binder or on file.
ALWAYS MAINTAIN APPROPRIATE CONFIDENTIALITY.