Taking Meeting Minutes

Information on how to take meeting minutes at any type of meeting.

Taking minutes is a necessity of many organizational gatherings. It is a final accurate record of what transpired at a meeting. It does not have to be a difficult task. The following article addresses some basic items to remember when taking minutes at a meeting.

The meeting needs to be organized. If a meeting is not structured or if it is disorganized, chances are the minutes will reflect this. Make sure that the Chairperson holding the meeting understands the fundamentals of what must occur. This will be the first step in the whole process running smoothly.

The minutes-taker should not be a participant in the meeting. In order to allow for the minutes-taker to pay the best attention possible, he or she should not be a participant in the meeting""only the taker of the minutes. Their sole responsibility should be that of taking the minutes.

The minutes-taker should sit as close as possible to the Chairperson. Having the minutes-taker sit close by the Chairperson will make it easier for that person to clarify any points that might have been made.

The minutes-taker should have a list of all attendees at the meeting and a copy of the Agenda. The minutes-taker should have a complete list of all attendees of the meeting. If this is not possible, before the meeting begins, pass around a piece of paper for everyone to print his or her name on.

Note anyone who arrives at the meeting late or leaves early.

For the record, it should be noted if any of the attendees arrives late or leaves early.

Have an agenda for the meeting ready and a copy of the minutes for the last meeting. The minutes-taker should have at his or her disposal the agenda for the meeting and a copy of the minutes for the last meeting. All background information pertaining to the meeting should also be provided to the minutes-taker. They may need to refer back to this information during the meeting. The whole process can flow much more smoothly if the minutes-taker has some knowledge of the subjects to be discussed.

Make sure the minutes reflect the "╦ťaddress' of the meeting.

The minutes should reflect the name of the association meeting, the location, date and time of the meeting as well. An example of this would be; "MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF ABC COMPANY", January 1, 2000, Tucson, Arizona, the Hilton Hotel on Broadway Avenue, 8:00 am.

Do not deviate from the agenda. It is best to stick to the agenda as much as possible in order to keep all information on record. Do not allow any business to be discussed that is not on the agenda. This will make for mass confusion.



Use a tape recorder as a backup. In case the minutes-taker become distracted and misses something at the meeting, having a tape recording of the meeting can be of great value. It can be replayed for the vital information that might have been overlooked.

Record motions properly. A motion is a formal suggestion made by an attendee at the meeting that has been seconded by another attendee, and then passed by a vote. The minutes-taker may need to restate a motion after a lengthy discussion. It is therefore very important to record these motions exactly as they have been stated. An example of how to document a motion is as follows: Moved, seconded, and carried that all members of the Board will receive a three percent cost of living raise. Be sure to list the names of all attendees making and seconding any motions.

Record every action taken. The minutes-taker should record every action taken, whether they seem trivial or not. If there are any questions regarding importance, the minutes-taker should speak to the Chairperson as soon as possible after the meeting.

After the meeting has finished, the minutes must then be transcribed into the style that was previously followed. This should be done as soon as possible. There are three basic styles for minutes. It is best to keep the minutes in the same style as they were recorded in the previous months meeting. The following styles for minutes are:

a. Report - this is a full record of all discussions that includes the names of all speakers, movers and seconders of any motions, written in a narrative style.

b. Minutes of Narration - these include some of the discussions that took place and important details. This style of minutes is considered a legal document.

c. Minutes of Resolution - these are limited to the recording of the actual words of all resolutions that were passed. Movers and seconders are not recorded. Each resolution that is made commences RESOLVED THAT. This style of minutes is also considered a legal document.

One final tip would be to read the book Robert's Rules of Order. This is an excellent tool to assist anyone taking minutes. It will help to familiarize you with the format for making, seconding and amending motions.

Minutes-taking is a necessity for formal meetings, yet it doesn't have to be difficult. Use the tips listed above the next time you or someone else needs to take the minutes at a meeting. Good luck!

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