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The minutes from the meeting of an association or organization are the official record of action taken by the group’s governing board, but they are not meant to be an all-inclusive transcript. Too much detail can present a confusing picture of what a meeting accomplished and invites misinterpretation. The key to writing appropriate meeting minutes is to be concise and accurate, and follow standard practices.
Begin the minutes with the organization’s name and record the meeting’s date and its location. The minutes should note all board members in attendance, the presence of a quorum and the time the meeting was called to order. The secretary should also record the time when board members arrive late or leave early to have a clear record of who was present when any votes were taken.
Follow the agenda to check off items that come up first, such as corrections and additions to the previous meeting’s minutes, acceptance of a treasurer’s report or presentation of committee reports that require no further action. For written reports such as an update from the treasurer, simply attach the report to the minutes. For oral reports, briefly summarize.
Record the essence of what action a board takes, but not a running dialogue of discussion between board members. When a motion is made, record who made the motion and who seconded, and the vote’s outcome. Note other actions taken at the meeting that are not subject to vote, such as the board president assigning tasks for an upcoming association event, board members volunteering for committee membership and discussions about future activities. The minutes should include a concise summation of any other discussion.
Summarize issues raised under the agenda item for “New Business.” While the new business could be anything, the minutes should mainly reflect the subject raised, who raised it, and any directive from the president or the board to address the issue or “look into it.”
End the minutes with the date, time and place of the next meeting. File the minutes as directed by the board chairwoman or president, such as online or in a designated file cabinet.
Tom Chmielewski is a longtime journalist with experience in newspapers, magazines, books, e-books and the Internet. With his company TEC Publishing, he has published magazines and an award-winning multimedia e-book, "Celebration at the Sarayi." Chmielewski's design skills include expertise in Adobe Creative Suite's InDesign and Photoshop. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Michigan University.
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