Tuesday, April 19, 2011



This meeting minutes tutorial will explain how to compile minutes of meetings.
Minutes are a record of the proceedings of a meeting e.g. who attended and did not, discussion that took place, action to be taken, time the meeting closed. The way the minutes are recorded may differ depending on the type of meeting it is. By this I mean, you may need to record all the discussion as well as the resolutions or you may only need to record the resolution and not worry about the discussion leading up to the resolution. Sometimes, organizations also prefer the action officer is listed so it is clear whose responsibility it is to perform the action in the resolution. This is something you must clarify if the President of a Company or the Manager you are taking the minutes for.
Many minute clerks use shorthand to take notes at meetings. If you're interested in learning shorthand, try the following course or try this alternative to shorthand in this great book for beginners:
All official minutes (with a mover, seconder and that are carried) need to have a minute reference number. Minute numbers carry on from one meeting to another e.g. last meeting had resolutions numbered 21000 - 21050 and the next meeting will have numbers 21051 - 21000.
When you type back your minutes, you must keep all matters in the order they were discussed at the meeting - even if they differ to your agenda. Sometimes items are discussed earlier as someone may not be able to stay at the meeting for the full length of the meeting.
Remember, if you cannot hear, you cannot record accurate minutes and this is the purpose of being the Secretary or Minute Clerk. If you cannot hear, please interrupt the meeting and address the Chairman (as Mr Chairman) to advise you cannot hear. The Chairman will then request the speaker to speak louder and clearer. It is most important that you hear. It is suggested you always sit beside the Chairman so it is easy to answer any questions he may have or you may have.
A handy book to assist you with your minute taking (includes information from setting up the meeting, agenda to recording minutes) is Taking Minutes of Meetings (creating success).

Who will take the Minutes?

Minutes are usually taken by the Secretary or Minute Clerk. If you are the person nominated to take the minutes, ensure you receive a copy of the agenda when it is distributed so that you are familiar with the matters to be discussed. If there are confidential matters in the agenda that are supported by written reports or correspondence, please make sure you receive copies of these pages as well as it will have pertinent information that you may need to record in your minutes e.g. correct names, property descriptions, file number etc. It will save you chasing this information later when typing up your minutes.

Minute Clerk or Secretary's Equipment Check List :

Before you enter the meeting room, please check you have the following tools and equipment with you:
  1. 2 pencils or biros (whatever you are going to use to record the minutes) Paper
  2. Dictaphone (to clarify any uncertainties when typing your minutes up) Agenda

    Also ensure the following have been made available if it is not your responsibility as you no doubt will be the one having to chase up the equipment at the last minute.

    The meeting room has been set up (refer tutorial on this)
  3. Supporting correspondence that has not been included in the agenda but is required
  4. Any maps or plans that will be viewed by those present
  5. Data Processor or Overhead Project (OHP) if necessary and screen
  6. White Board, markers, and duster
  7. Laser Pointer or Ruler
Now it is time for the most important part of your duty - recording the minutes.

Know what to Record

Now that you have already been advised the format of what to record, you will need to ensure you record the following information:
  • Name of Company, Description of Meeting, Place, Date and Time of meeting
  • Those present
  • Any apologies received from Committee members.
  • Welcome - if the Chairman/President opens the meeting with a welcome message.
  • Adoption of Minutes of Previous meeting
  • Business Arising from the Minutes
  • Adoption of Inward/Outward Correspondence
  • Adoption of Financial Statements and Accounts for Payment
  • Agenda Items listed in your agenda
  • General Business
  • Noted Correspondence
  • Date, time and venue of next meeting
  • Time the meeting concluded
Company Name, Description, Location, Date and Time of meeting
Record the time the meeting started - usually included in the heading with the date when typing back the minutes as below:
HELD AT ......................ON MONDAY, 2ND JANUARY 2004 AT 9.00AM
Those present
List the names of all those present. The best way to do this if you do not know everyone is to use an attendance sheet. This sheet will be headed up with the name of the meeting, the date and time of the meeting and use columns so that everyone can print their name, the organization they represent (if do not work for your company) and their position title within the organization. You would then type this information up in alphabetical order - please ensure you always start with the Chairman/President and end with the Secretary or Minute Clerk as sometimes they are not members of the Committee. If you are an elected Secretary of a sporting organization etc, you would be list President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary and then other members
PRESENT: Mr J Smith (President)
Ms M Allen (Manager, Allen & Associates)
Mr C Jones (Deputy Manager, Jones Brothers)
Ms T Staples (Minute Clerk) (or substitute your title here)

Any apologies received from Committee members.
The Chairman/President will call for apologies and if you have received apologies from any members, this is when you would advise the meeting of their names or you would have previously passed this information on to the Chairman/President prior to the commencement of the meeting. Other Committee members may also have received some and they too will advise of names. You must record all these names for your minutes. In your minutes, you will type them as follows:
APOLOGIES: Ms M Street (Senior Advisor, Commercial Business Association) etc.
Welcome - if the Chairman/President opens the meeting with a welcome message
This does not always need to be recorded but if the meeting was called for a specific purpose and the purpose does not happen each month, then I would record it. You could use the following format:
The Chairman welcomed those members present and advised the meeting had been called to discuss the merits of introducing a subscription fee so that free advice can continue to be given to clients.

Adoption of Minutes of Previous meeting

As the minutes of the previous meeting would either have been distributed as part of the agenda or tabled on the day of the meeting for members to read, so that they can then become an official record of the meeting of the company or committee, the minutes will need to be moved and seconded as a true and correct record. A standard resolution of this is as follows:
"That the minutes of the meeting of the Records Department held on 2nd December 2003 be adopted as a true and correct record."
SECONDED BY C JONES                                             CARRIED
The above is one format, it could also be as follows:

"That the minutes of the meeting of the Records Department held on 2nd December 2003 be adopted as a true and correct record."
The above format can be used for all resolutions that are moved and seconded, or follow the format that your company, committee or organization uses.
Business Arising from the Minutes :
Once the minutes have been adopted, members present may need further information or resolutions recorded on matters listed in the minutes. Usually, if it is advice you would just record these as sub-headings with brief detail of what was said about it. Example:
Gift Vouchers
Printing had been delayed due to new logo being designed. Estimated time of delivery will be 3rd March 2004.
Adoption of Inward/Outward Correspondence

Usually, companies will ask that members accept the inward and outward correspondence. An example of this would be as follows:

"That the Inward Correspondence be received and the Outward Correspondence be approved."

SECONDED BY C JONES                                             CARRIED

Adoption of Financial Statements and Accounts for Payment

You must record the period and the amount.  You could refer to previous
minutes for wording of this, but below is an example:
"That the Financial Statements for the period 1st July 2003 to 31st December 2003 be approved and the Accounts for Payment for the period 1st December to 31st December 2003 be approved."

SECONDED BY C JONES                                             CARRIED

Agenda Items listed in your agenda
Matters listed on the agenda are usually there because a decision is necessary.  This means you will need to record a resolution detailing action that is required.  You would type a brief heading referring to the matter discussed (could use similar wording as in the agenda), a minute number, a mover, seconder and whether the minute was carried.  Use the same format as listed above, or the format your company or committee uses.
General Business
General Business is where members present at the meeting raise matters that need a formal decision made or inform those present of up to date information about a matter.  Usually every member is asked if they have any General.
Business to be raised.
Once again, you may have to record both the matters raised for discussion and the formal resolution.  If it is a formal resolution, use the same format as above.
Noted Correspondence :
All items listed on the agenda do not necessarily need a decision made but were listed for the information of the members. In this case the matter would be listed as noted correspondence. 

Some agendas already have these items all listed together as "Noted Correspondence" as no decision or action is necessary and you would need to copy this list into your minutes.

If after discussion at the meeting it was decided that a matter listed on the agenda did not need any action or decision after all, this item would then be added to the existing list of noted correspondence as well. Alternatively, you could list the item in the minutes with a minute number and the resolution would be worded "That the matter be noted.".

Date, time and venue of next meeting
This information needs to be recorded but would not have a minute number. This is a format you could use if the venue was moved from town to town:
The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Monday, 3rd February 2004 at (location is full address) at 9.00am 

If the meeting was at the same venue each time, you would simply list the date and time of the meeting.

Time the meeting concluded

You always check the time the meeting finishes and this gets recorded in the minutes.  An example would be:
There being no further business, the meeting concluded at 10.30am.
Under this, always make provision for the Chairman/President to sign the minutes.


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