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Why Minutes Matter
Meeting minutes are crucial in nearly all types of situations from family meetings to non profit meetings and in corporate meetings. There are few meetings, however, that are more important than meetings that are held by a board of directors. This is because it is up to the board of directors to carry out the mission of a company (or organization). Minutes prepared properly can help provide an overall statement of direction the company is headed in, provide information for board members who are not in attendance and provide a living record of all actions of the board.
While it may seem like common sense to many, accurate reporting of board meetings is not something that always comes naturally to some people. That is why it is helpful to have a sample of board meeting minutes to use as a guideline. To learn what should be included in board minutes, the great template for meeting minutes found in our Media Gallery is a good start.
Perhaps one of the most crucial things to remember about meeting minutes is that they must be accurate, they should contain any action items and an accurate record of all votes. It is also helpful to record the attendance of members of the Board of Directors in each set of minutes. This will help clear up any misconceptions of who attended a meeting. Having a meeting agenda can be helpful in keeping track of the order of the meeting for transcribing minutes.
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Basic Minute Outline
Name of Corporation - If the minutes are a board of directors meeting for a company, the name of the company should be included. The legal name should be used and acronyms should be avoided.
Date and location - It is imperative that the date and location of the meeting is included in the minutes. There is typically something in the corporate records (by laws or constitution if applicable) that states that at a minimum, annual meetings are to be held. This means that the date (and often the location) are specified.
Attendees - Accurately recording attendees is required. This is especially true of there is a quorum requirement in the legal documents for the company. Depending on the number of board members, it may be a good idea to record those who did not attend as well. Names of guests should also be included.
Acceptance of prior minutes - One of the first orders of business should be to accept the prior meeting minutes. Depending on the frequency of meetings, this may require the minutes be read aloud or may have been sent previously via email.
Old/new business matters - Any business matters that are discussed should be recorded carefully. This includes both old business as well as new business matters that are taken up.
Action items - Action items that were to be done from a prior board meeting (or by committee members) should be addressed. In addition, new action items should be recorded.
Votes - It is critical that all votes are recorded accurately in minutes. This allows for a record for the company to understand who agreed (or disagreed), along with various decisions that were made.
Adjourn/Date of next meeting - Finally, the end of the minutes should include when the meeting adjourned as well as the date and location of next meeting.
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- Effective Meetings, How to record useful meeting minutes: http://www.effectivemeetings.com/meetingbasics/minutes.asp
- Author's experience as board member, Lions Club President